Perennial Herbs Tolerant of Shade
Answered by: Richters Staff

Rudy Klein requests

I would appreciate a list of perennial herbs that will grow in a shady environment?

John Steven’s book, "Gardening With Herbs" (available from Richters) has a very nice section called "Habitats in the Garden" in which herbs are suited for each of six major environmental zones including fully shaded and partially shaded habitats. Under fully shaded habitats he recommends herbs like perwinkle, primrose (cowslip), sweet woodruff, columbine, scullcap, and wintergreen among others. For partially shaded areas he suggests dog rose, sweet cicely, yarrow, betony, comfrey, and sweetbriar rose.

Unfortunately not many of the most popular culinary herbs do well in shade. Most, like basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme are confirmed sun-worshippers. However, with creative planning and cooking there are culinary herbs worth growing. Besides sweet cicely and sweet woodruff mentioned by Stevens, you can grow watercress (in wet areas), mints (partial shade), and vap ca. And don’t forget the annual herb chervil.

Other medicinal herbs to grow in shade include the woodland natives ginseng, bloodroot, blue and black cohosh, mayapple, wild ginger and goldenseal.

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