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5 Herbs That Thrive in the Shade

Shade in any garden can be a tricky thing to deal with, nobody likes wasted space but we all know that not everything will grow in the shade. So what do you do? Well luckily for you I have this handy list of 5 herbs that will thrive in a shady spot!

1. Chives

Part of the onion family, chives are very easy to grow and keep coming back year after year. What’s more butterflies and bees absolutely love the bright purple flowers that chives produce.

Chives can be direct sown into place. Sow from mid-spring, sow them thinly at a shallow depth, around 1cm. If you want an earlier start with your chives then they can be grown on a sunny windowsill.

Use a heated propagator or place a seed tray on a windowsill above a radiator. Your seedlings should appear within 3 weeks. When they get to around 5-6cm high they are ready to be transplanted.

Move them into larger pots with regular compost in. Try and grow them from this point in cooler conditions to improve their hardiness. Let them grow on like this for a good month or two before gradually hardening them off.

Once you have hardened them off for a week or two you can move them into their final position in your herb garden. They will grow well both in pots and in the ground and will tolerate a shady spot as long as it gets a couple of hours of sunlight per day.

Hardy Perennial
Chives seeds | Thompson & Morgan
Pros:
  • Easy for all to grow
  • Returning year after year
  • Pretty pink blooms
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2. Mint

Mint can be sown all the way from winter through to summer. If you are going to sow it early though then sow it indoors or in a greenhouse.

Sow in pots or trays on the surface of barely moist seed compost. Do not cover the seeds with compost. Place the seed tray in a propagator at a temperature of 21-24C or seal inside a clear polythene bag until germination which takes 7 – 16 days.

When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3″) pots and grow in cooler conditions. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise mint plants to outdoor conditions over 7 – 10 days before planting outdoors.

Mint will grow well in both full sun and shade, if growing in the shade then try to pick a spot that gets a couple of hours of sunlight per day or dappled shade.

It can be a good idea to grow mint in a pot as it has very vigorous growth and can take over if grown in the ground.

So Easy To Grow
Mint seeds | Thompson & Morgan
Pros:
  • Growing mint plants is so easy
  • The ideal accompaniment to roast lamb
  • This aromatic herb plant has a multitude of culinary use
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3. Parsley

You can direct sow parsley seed outdoors from March to July or you can sow earlier indoors. When you combine inside out outdoor sowing you can end up with fresh parsley all year round.

Grow parsley in a well-prepared seedbed in full sun or partial shade. Sow seeds thinly at a depth of 1cm (1/2″) in drills 30cm apart. Parsley seeds are very slow to germinate taking up to 28 days, especially in wet, cold soils.

If sowing indoors sow into 7.5cm (3″) pots of free-draining seed compost, maintaining a temperature of 16-21C (65-70F) until after germination. When large enough to handle, thin out seedlings to 23cm (9″) apart.

When parsley has been started indoors you need to acclimatise parsley plants to outdoor conditions over 7 – 10 days before planting outdoors when the risk of frost has passed. To acclimatise parsley move it outdoors for a few hours to begin with before bringing it back indoors, build this time up over the 7-10 days so the plant is spending longer and longer outdoors.

Flat Leaved Variety
Parsley Organic Seeds | Thompson & Morgan
Pros:
  • One of the most popular herbs for culinary use
  • A stronger flavour than curled varieties
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4. Dill

Dill can be sown directly onto the surface of seed compost, just make sure to wet the compost first before sowing. If you are sowing this way then do it in a propagator or seed tray and a sunny windowsill.

Gradually acclimatise dill plants to outdoor conditions over 7 – 10 days before planting outdoors on well-drained soil in full sun when all risk of frost has passed.

Alternatively, you can sow dill outside from roughly March through until April. You want to sow into thin drills only around 1cm deep and space each row about 15cm apart. Sowing in succession every few weeks adding more rows will allow for a greatly extended harvest period.

Low Maintainence
Dill seeds | Thompson & Morgan
Pros:
  • This aromatic annual can be grown for its seeds or its rich, aniseed-flavoured foliage
  • The feathery dill leaves make an attractive addition to a herb garden
  • Is tolerant of most conditions and requires little maintenance
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5. Lemon Balm

Sow lemon balm from late March to May on the surface of good seed compost and cover with a sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place the seed tray in a propagator at a temperature of 20-25C (68-77F) or seal it inside a polythene bag. Keep the compost slightly dry at all times. Do not exclude light as this aids germination which usually takes up to 21 days.

When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow them in cooler conditions until large enough to plant outdoors. When lemon balm plants are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over 7 to 10 days. Transplant outdoors in full sun or partial shade on any moist, well-drained soil at a distance of 30cm (12″) apart. Lemon balm plants will tolerate poor soils. This herb is vigorous, but growing lemon balm in containers will help to restrict its growth.

Bees Love The Flowers
Lemon Balm seeds | Thompson & Morgan
Pros:
  • Easy for all to grow
  • The aromatic foliage can be used to make refreshing lemon balm tea or added to soups and oils for a tangy lemon flavour
  • Flowers are particularly attractive to bees
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