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Shade-Tolerant Crops for Container Gardens

Lettuce in garden

Container vegetable gardenVegetables and herbs generally prefer sun, but some crops can tolerate shade and are good choices for balcony or patio container gardens that fall in shade most of the day.

Leafy crops are commonly the best choice for shade gardens; they crops have large surfaces for photosynthesis. Fruiting crops such as tomatoes and peppers demand sun to reach maturity and ripen and od poorly in shade.

As possible, grow crops in containers that are easily moved to a part of the garden when some sun shines part of the day.

Shade-Tolerant Crops for Containers:

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Chard
  • Cress
  • Endive
  • Herbs—cilantro, oregano, parsley
  • Kale
  • Lettuce and greens
  • Mustard
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Scarlet runner beans
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Blackberries
  • Currants—red and black
  • Gooseberries
  • Raspberries


Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.


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  1. I currently rent a home in Seaside CA. I am interested in container gardening for vegetables, fruits and flowers. The weather here is very unpredictable not like in Salinas, where most farms are. I need more information on how to grow in pots and in unpredictable weather. It is summer here but in the mornings it can be overcast with the temperature of 62 degrees. In the evenings, it can go as low as 56 degrees. I am a new gardener and would like more info. Thank you.

    • You may want to start by reading the 20 articles here on Container Gardening; here is the link:
      Container Gardening
      Check with the Master Gardeners in Monterey County for planting suggestions in your area–that is crops that will grow near the ocean in your region.

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