With their typically delicate foliage and strong scents and flavors, herbs are perfectly suited for a shade garden. If not an outright shaded space, plant shade garden herbs in and around larger plants in the garden. You’ll likely also benefit from the synergy ofcompanion planting, as well, since many herbs serve to ward off pests, attract beneficial bugs, and enhance the plants around them. Many herbs will spread, so consider your space and whether they need to be planted in containers first and then placed around the garden where you need them.
These herbs do well in outright shade. If you have spaces with only a few hours of sun per day or are planting them in the shadow of other growth, these herbs are excellent options. Take note of invasive types before you interplant directly in the soil.
Cilantro. Morning sun is best for cilantro. When temperatures creep too high for too long, cilantro will try to bolt. That’s just fine if you are looking for coriander (cilantro seeds and an excellent culinary herb itself), but not if you’re looking to garnish Taco Tuesday. Keep cilantro well shaded in the heat of the day to extend its growing season.
Dill. Tall and spindly with dainty yellow flowers, dill likes the garden spots that other plants don’t. It’s not going to take up much width, and it does well with less than eight hours of sun. Tuck dill into the nooks and crannies as a companion plant for other shady area plants.
Mint. Make sure you clear out space for mint, cut it back faithfully, or best yet, just grow it in a container to begin with. Mint will take over your garden. However, its persistence also translates to shade and cool weather.
Calendula. If you are growing calendula for herbal purposes, make sure you getCalendula officinalis. Flowering pot marigolds are often called calendula. Either way, calendula is an excellent companion plant and does well in the shade. Plant it around nearly any other plant to help with natural, organic pest control.
Herbs for Part-Shade
If you have “dappled” light, where it peeks through in spots or for short periods of time, shade tolerant herbs will do well. These are especially good for companion planting, as the broken shade from other plants keep just enough light away to make them happy.
Chives. Keep chives from drying out and they will grow nearly anywhere. A great indoor herb garden option, chives will do well anywhere there is part sun. You might not see as many blossoms, but they will be just as delicious for cutting throughout the growth cycle.
Parsley. Another resilient plant, parsley might start to spread and take over the garden. Keep it trimmed back, using the cuttings in culinary and herbal preparations. Both curly and Italian parsley are delicious and easy to grow. Medicinal use is avoided during pregnancy, but it can otherwise be brewed into teas or used in nearly any recipe as a nutritional and flavorful addition.
Lemon Balm. If for no other reason than the scent, lemon balm is a fantastic addition to any garden. It can thrive in any shade level, so much so that you’ll probably want to keep it in a container. Lemon balm is said to repel mosquitoes, giving us another reason to grow it in a container garden on the porch!
Thyme. This is one of my favorite ground cover crops. Its low profile and shade tolerance makes thyme the perfect choice to line otherwise bare ground. Thyme can withstand foot traffic and is a perennial. Establish it as a regular low profile fixture in the garden for culinary, aesthetic, and fragrance benefits.