Multifunctional Plants to Grow in the Shade

Wednesday 9-19-2012

I talked about multifunctional plants to grow in the shade in the podcast this past week as a response to a garden club member’s question. When I was a landscaper, clients often times wanted to know what they could grow in the shade. Below is a list of the plants that can grow in shady conditions and their many uses. Much of the below info is from Toby Hemenway’s “Gaia’s Garden”. It is my favorite permaculture book.


Shady Small lower canopy trees:

Paw Paw: Animal habitiat and forage, chicken forage, edible fruit 


Shady Shrubs

Laurels: Hedgerow, windbreak

Eleaegnus x ebbingei: Insectary, Wildlife habitat, chicken forage, edible, windbreak, hedgerow, nitrogen fixer

Fuchsia: Windbreak, hedgerow, hummingbird

Currants & Black Raspberries: Edible, insectary, chicken forage, wildlife, hedgerow


Shady Groundcover and herb layer

Bunchberry: Edible, animal forage

Ginseng: Edible, medicinal

Mitsuba: Edible leaves, insectary

Peppermint & Spearmint: Edible leaves and tea, Insectary

Pink Purslane: Edible leaves, insectary, wildlife forage

Sweet Cicely: Edible leaves, roots, insectary

Tarragon: Edible leaves, insectary


***Don’t forget that mushrooms will also do well in the shade!!!

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