Just because your garden isn't bathed in sun doesn't mean you can't grow plenty of wonderful herbs. These five herbs are perfect for shade gardens and they don't take much (if any!) extra care at all.
Chives–For Pretty, Pom-Pom Shade Gardens
By far the cutest herbs for any shade garden, chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are like little purple peonies waiting to hit puberty. A shade-tolerant perennial herb that's as pretty as it is tasty, chives are a welcome addition to not just shaded herb gardens but to flower and butterfly gardens as well. Adorable, fragrant and hardy, chives can be eaten fresh and are extremely easy to grow and dry. And don't forget that there are different cultivars to choose from (the most popular of which are the regular purple variety and little lace-like, white garlic chives).
If you're like most folks, you've probably never even tasted this quirky shade garden herb. Perfect for fragrant paths and low-sun herb gardens, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has a lemony scent, a minty flavor, and it's wonderful for aromatic herbal teas. Plus, this herb that grows in shade is prolific (like good ol' mint) and easy to maintain. To keep it from spreading too quickly and too far, keep it contained in a flower pot, raised garden, or other suitable garden container.
Looking for the easiest herb that grows in shade? Try mint. Carefully. Mint (Mentha species) is so easy to grow that you may actually want to consider keeping it in a container. Don't contain it and you run the risk of this perennial herb taking over your shade garden … Leaving you with enough mint to keep all of your friends and families knee-deep in mojito fixins. (Not that there's anything wrong with that …)
Poor parsley. Rarely taken seriously by gardeners, this herb that grows in shade is usually just tossed on the side of a tepid diner dinner. That's too bad since parsley ( Petroselinum crispum) is nutritious, easy to grow and (rumor has it), is even popular with butterfly larvae. Typically used as a garnish (and a quickly forgotten one at that), parsley actually comes in quite a few cultivars (like specialty varieties like Moss Curled, Paramount, Decora and Gigante) and works wonderfully well in homemade potato salads and soups.
So old that Romans used it medicinally, French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is a perennial herb that grows in shade gardens but, oddly enough, can't be grown from seed. To grow this shade-tolerant herb, you'll need to find a plant for transplant. Once rooted, tarragon plants can be divided annually (in midsummer). Then, once your stately (yet scraggly) Tarragon is rooted and ready to harvest, use it for fish, chicken and bearnaise sauce.
Looking for more information and inspiration for growing herbs? Check out the Gardening Guides page for specs, tips and helpful articles about growing your favorite herbs and vegetables.