Vegetables to Grow in the Shade in Australia

Primarily, you want to grow leafy green vegetables that are not grown for their fruits.

If you don’t have an overabundance of sunny spots in your garden, you can still grow some of your own vegetables. There are certain types of vegetables that will grow quite happily in the shade.

In fact, many of these will grow much better if they’re protected from the afternoon sun.

Primarily, you want to grow leafy green vegetables that are not grown for their fruits. Many different types of herbs also do really well in a shady spot in your garden.

Here’s a selection of vegetables that you can grow in those shady spots in your garden.


Lettuce harvest 1 | Fruit & Vegetables

There are many different types of lettuce varieties that you can grow and these do really well in shady spots.

Choose loose-leaf varieties because you can just harvest the outer leaves when you need them and leave the rest of the plant to continue growing.

During summer, growing lettuce in the shade is particularly prudent because too much sunlight will prompt the plants to bolt and go to seed.


silverbeet chard | Fruit & Vegetables

Like lettuce, the dark green leaves of silverbeet are quite happy to grow in the shade. They don’t need a lot of sun to grow.

This is another great vegetable to have in your garden because you can just cut the leaves as you need them.


growing spinach 1 | Fruit & Vegetables

Spinach also has those lovely dark green leaves that don’t need a lot of sunlight to grow. In fact, like lettuce, spinach will bolt if grown in a sunny spot


kale | Fruit & Vegetables

Can you see a theme here? Kale is another vegetable that is easy to grow in the shade thanks to its large, deep green leaves.

Once again, this is a vegetable that you can just harvest as you need it.

Pak Choi

Pak Choi | Fruit & Vegetables

If you’ve ever tried growing pak choi in a sunny spot, you’ll know that it tends to bolt really easily. Therefore, growing this Chinese vegetable in the shade is ideal.


carrots 3 | Fruit & Vegetables

Carrots grow the roots that we eat under the ground. This means that these root crops can be successfully grown in the shade because the green leaves don’t need that much sun.

Don’t forget that the carrot tops are also edible and make a great pesto.


Turnips | Fruit & Vegetables

Turnips are another root vegetable that doesn’t require sunlight to grow its long tap root under the ground. 


Harvesting Potatoes 12 | Fruit & Vegetables

I’ve grown lots of potatoes quite successfully in various shady spots in my garden. This is because potatoes are grown for their tubers and they also have dark green leaves that don’t need loads of sunlight.

Just bear in mind, that only the tubers are edible and the rest of the plant is toxic.

Did you know?

One problem with growing potatoes in the ground is that they tend to spread, and if they are infected with a disease, your soil can be ruined for several years.

This is one of the many reasons potato grow bags are becoming increasingly popular among Australian gardeners.

These bags are also ideal for small spaces like balconies and compact gardens thanks to their convenience and effectiveness.

They allow for better control of soil and moisture, essential for potato growth. Harvesting becomes effortless, and this method also simplifies the ‘earthing up’ process.

For those interested in trying this method, we highly recommend these particular potato grow bags. They are made from durable foodsafe fabric and are designed to maximize your potato yield.



Italian Parsley harvest | Fruit & Vegetables

Leafy herbs such as parsley grow well in shaded positions in your garden. This is another plant that will bolt to seed quickly if grown in full sun.


Planting Garlic 10 | Fruit & Vegetables

Garlic grows as a bulb underground and it’s only the green grass-like leaves that are exposed to the light. This means that these plants don’t require sunlight to grow successfully. 


Coriander 2 | Fruit & Vegetables

If you’re a fan of coriander, this is another herb that you can easily grow in a shady spot in your garden and harvest as you need it. 


Rocket | Fruit & Vegetables

Like lettuce and other leafy greens, rocket will grow well in the shade. It’s another vegetable that you can just harvest as you need it.

Spring Onions

Spring Onions | Fruit & Vegetables

Spring onions grow partly underground and partly above ground and all the parts can be used in cooking. These are perfect for growing in shady spots in your garden.


beetroot 2 | Fruit & Vegetables

Beetroot is another root crop that doesn’t have to be grown in full sun. It will grow happily in a shaded spot in the garden.

Don’t forget that the beetroot leaves are also edible and can be tossed into stir-fries and other dishes. 

Climbing Beans and Peas

beans 2 | Fruit & Vegetables

If you have a spot in the garden where only the ground is shaded, consider growing climbing vegetables such as peas and beans.

These will reach up towards the sun and provide you with lots of delicious pods to harvest.


Can fertiliser make up for lack of sunlight?

No, plants that need lots of sunlight to grow won’t benefit from added fertiliser when they don’t receive enough light. In fact, too much fertiliser can actually harm the plants if they’re not getting enough light.

Is shade good for tomatoes?

No, tomatoes need lots of sun if you want to be able to harvest those delicious fruits. In general, tomatoes need around 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily to both produce and ripen their fruits.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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