Crops for Part Shade
Do you have problems finding sunny spots for your fruit and vegetables? You can still grow some crops in part shade. Generally, plants that are grown for their leaves or stems tolerate light shade more than root crops do. The following, are lists of plants that will maintain crop flavour when grown with between 3 and 6 hours of full sunlight a day, or in dappled shade. There may be a reduction in crop size or yield however. The closer you are to the equator, the better plants will tolerate less sunlight. This is particularly true if you're growing in dappled shade as the longer day length closer to the equator, means a longer period of dappled shade. Plants grown in areas that are situated under 'holes' in the ozone layer, can also typically tolerate reduced sunlight.
- Mint (prefers part shade)
- Lemon balm (prefers part shade)
- Spring onions
- lettuce (prefers a bit of shade in hot climates/months)
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potato
Things You Should Know
The above information relates only to light levels. Other factors can influed how well a crop grows in shade. If the shade is a result of a tree, then crops planted in close proximity to that tree may suffer from nutient and water competition (or even negative allelopathy) on top of the reduced light levels and thus may perform poorly. Light leves may also differ throughout the year as the angle of the sun shifts. This means you may have sufficient light in summer but not in winter or vice versa. Shade occurs at different times of the day. Quite a few plants such as raspberries, like full morning sun but prefer protection from the sun in the afternoon. Reflective surfaces such as walls, fences, ponds and pools, may reflect light onto otherwise shaded plants. If you want to grow something that struggles without full sun but you don't have any full sun, adding some of these features can increase your chances of success. Plants that are grown in less than full sun (when they prefer full sun) will be more susceptible to diseases and physical damage so make sure they're protected from strong winds and that there is good air flow (to prevent fungal diseases). Finally, if you do anything that dramatically changes the light level a plant receives (for example by pruning back a tree or vine) this may be too much of a shock for your plants and may result in severe damage or death. It is better to make such chances slowly.