Anyone who has heard me speak about growing herbs has heard me say, “Give them at least four hours of direct sunlight.” That is true for most herbs, most of the time. However, there are some herbs that are either adaptable to shady areas or actually prefer some shade from our Texas sun. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): This lemon scented herb will grow in a wide range of conditions, including deep shade. This perennial grows about two feet high with light green leaves. With adequate water it will fill in nicely around the base of a tree or in the corner of your property.
- Texas Tarragon (Tagetes lucida): Although this native herb is generally found in sunny locations, it will also grow and bloom in the shade. Grows slowly throughout the year to 2-3 feet high and produces clusters of golden flowers in late fall.
- Tri-Color Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tri-Color’): Normally I would never, never put sage in a shady spot but this hybrid sage is more tender than its tough parent plant. In our hot summers, shade will help it to survive.
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): This old reliable herb will manage nicely in shady areas. Parsley is a biennial which produces a tall flower stalk in the second year. Try planting it in a mass along your garden border.
- Perilla (Perilla frutescens): This annual herb will grow and reseed in your shady garden. It looks a lot like ‘Red Rubin’ basil but is actually an Asian annual herb used in Japanese cooking.
- Mint (Mentha sp.): If there’s one herb that will grow almost anywhere, it is mint. This low-growing perennial propagates by runners that can spread to neighboring garden beds so keep it pruned back periodically.
As will all herbs, those planted in shade will benefit from regular watering and occasional fertilizer. Take advantage of the adaptability of these culinary herbs and brighten a shady corner of your garden.