Discover 5 Essential Herbs to Thrive in Your Shady Garden


Designing a landscape in a shady garden can be a bit tricky. However, with the right plants, you can create a beautiful and vibrant space. One way to add color and fragrance to your shady garden is by incorporating herbs. Not only do they add visual interest, but they also offer a variety of flavors and aromas to enhance your culinary creations. Here are five recommended herbs that thrive in shady areas:

1. Lavender

Lavender is a versatile herb that can grow in both full sun and partial shade. It has long been planted for its beautiful purple flowers and soothing scent. For shady areas, choose a variety such as ‘Hidcote’ or ‘Munstead’ that can tolerate lower light conditions. Lavender prefers well-drained soil and should be watered regularly until it establishes a strong root system.

2. Comfrey

Comfrey is an herbaceous perennial that thrives in shady, moist areas. Its large, fuzzy foliage adds texture and interest to the garden. Comfrey can be used as a traditional medicinal herb to help heal wounds and reduce inflammation. However, it is important to note that comfrey can be invasive and difficult to remove once it establishes itself. To prevent it from spreading, it is best to plant comfrey in a contained area.

3. Chamomile

Chamomile is a low-growing herb that thrives in shady areas. It is known for its delicate white flowers and apple-like fragrance. Chamomile is commonly used to make a soothing tea that promotes relaxation and sleep. To grow chamomile, plant seeds or young seedlings in well-drained soil and water regularly. Chamomile can spread quickly, so it is important to keep it in check.

4. Mint

Mint is a hardy herb that can grow in both sun and shade. It is known for its strong, refreshing scent and is often used in drinks, desserts, and savory dishes. Mint is a fast grower and can quickly spread if not contained. To prevent it from taking over your garden, plant mint in a clump or use a barrier to keep its roots in check.

5. Bergamot

Bergamot, also known as bee balm or monarda, is a beautiful herb that thrives in shady, moist areas. It has vibrant flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Bergamot can be used in teas and as a garnish for salads, giving them a citrusy and floral flavor. It is best to water bergamot regularly and remove the spent flower heads to encourage new growth.

These five herbs are just a few examples of herbs that can thrive in shady garden areas. Depending on the specific conditions of your garden, you may find that some herbs work better than others. Before planting, be sure to research the specific needs of each herb to ensure success in growing them in your shady garden.

Eight shade-loving herbs to grow

When it comes to growing herbs in shady areas of your garden, there are several options that can thrive and add flavor and fragrance to your outdoor space. Here are eight shade-loving herbs that you can consider:

  • Cunila spp: Also known as the “stone mint,” this aromatic herb is a great groundcover option for shady areas. It smells wonderful and can spread quite a bit, so be mindful of where you plant it.
  • Cryptotaenia japonica: Commonly referred to as “Japanese parsley,” this herb has a fresh, citrusy aroma and is a great addition to your garden. It does well in moist and shady conditions.
  • Cichorium intybus: Also known as “chicory,” this herb has numerous health benefits and can grow well in shade. It has a slightly bitter taste and can be a great addition to salads and teas.
  • Cilantro: This herb is a staple in many kitchens and can be grown in shade. It has a strong, distinctive flavor and is commonly used in Mexican and Asian cuisines.
  • Anthriscus cerefolium: Also known as “chervil,” this herb has a delicate, sweet flavor. It prefers cooler temperatures and shade, making it a perfect addition to a shady garden.
  • Chamaemelum nobile: Commonly referred to as “chamomile,” this herb is known for its relaxing properties. It can grow well in shady areas and is often used in herbal teas.
  • Borago officinalis: Known as “borage,” this herb has beautiful blue flowers and an interesting cucumber-like flavor. It can tolerate shade but does better in partial sun.
  • Comfrey: This herb has deep taproots that make it a great source of nutrients for other plants. It can tolerate shade but does best in partial sun.

These herbs are perfect for adding flavor, fragrance, and beauty to your shady garden. They can easily compete with other plants and provide a natural breath of fresh air. Share your experiences growing shade-loving herbs on our Facebook page!


Mint, or Mentha, is a recommended herb for your shady garden. There are many varieties of mint to choose from, including spearmint (Mentha spicata), peppermint (Mentha x piperita), and corsican mint (Mentha corsicana). Mint is a mounding herb that can grow well in both full sun and semi-shade.

Mint is easy to grow and is often used in the kitchen for its wonderful taste and aroma. It can be confusing to distinguish between the different varieties of mint, but each one has its own unique flavor profile. Spearmint has a sweet and mild flavor, while peppermint has a stronger and more menthol-like taste. Corsican mint has a delicate and minty flavor.

Mint can be grown from seeds or cuttings. It is a vigorous herb that can quickly spread, so it’s best to plant it in a container or using a barrier to prevent it from taking over your garden. Mint can be harvested once it reaches a height of 2-3 inches, and you can cut the shoots back to encourage new growth.

Mint is a great herb to have in your garden as it is not only tasty, but it also has many health benefits. Mint has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, including soothing digestive issues and freshening breath.

Mint can be planted in your garden alongside other shade-loving herbs such as lovage (Levisticum officinale), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), and woodruff (Galium odoratum). It also pairs well with other herbs in the kitchen, such as basil, rosemary, and coriander.

To keep your mint plants healthy and thriving, make sure to water them regularly and provide them with well-rotted compost or organic matter. Mint prefers slightly moist soil and can tolerate winter exposure. However, it’s important to keep an eye on its growth and prevent it from becoming too invasive.

In addition to its culinary uses, mint is a lovely addition to the landscape. Its vibrant green leaves and fragrant scent can add a touch of freshness to any garden or patio. So, if you’re looking for an herb that thrives in shady areas and has a variety of uses, mint is a great choice!


Dill is a sun-loving herb that can grow up to 4 feet in height. It is a favorite herb among many gardeners, particularly those who love to cook and need fresh herbs for their recipes. Dill has a lovely fragrance and its fern-like leaves add a beautiful touch to any garden.

When choosing a spot for your dill, make sure to select a location where it gets partial sun. It can also tolerate some shade, but too much shade can cause it to become leggy and compete for sunlight with other plants. Dill tends to be a bit aggressive in its growth habit, so it is best planted in a part of the garden where it can freely spread.

Dill is a great herb to have in the kitchen. It pairs well with fish, and its seeds are commonly used in pickling. It also adds a fresh and citrusy flavor to salads, stews, and sauces. Dill can be used fresh or dried, depending on your preference.

To grow dill, you can either start it from seed directly in the garden or sow it indoors and then transplant it once it gets its first true leaves. Dill likes to be in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. It also prefers to be watered regularly, as it can become root bound if it gets too dry.

Dill is a hardy herb that tends to self-sow, meaning it will drop its seeds and come back year after year. If you want to avoid the plant from spreading too much, you can simply cut off the flower heads before they set seeds. This will help to keep it contained in a clump.

  • Height: Up to 4 feet
  • Exposure: Partial sun to shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Best Used: Fresh or dried
  • Harvest: Pick leaves as needed

Dill is a wonderful herb to have in your garden, both for its culinary uses and its gorgeous appearance. Whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting out, dill is a great choice for your herb garden.


Parsley is a versatile herb that can thrive in both sunny and shady conditions. It is known for its fresh and vibrant taste, and it can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

Some other shade-loving herbs that you might confuse with parsley are chervil and cilantro. To remove any confusion, you can easily identify parsley by its distinct curly leaves.

There are several varieties of parsley, including flat-leaf parsley (Petroselinum neapolitanum) and Hamburg parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum). Both types are easy to grow and tolerate partial shade.

Parsley is a part of the Apiaceae family, which also includes other popular herbs like dill and fennel. It is a clump-forming herb that can reach a height of 1 to 2 feet.

In addition to its culinary uses, parsley also has some medicinal properties. It is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as iron and potassium. It is often used as a breath freshener and can be added to teas or used as a garnish.

You can sow parsley seeds directly into the soil in early spring or late fall. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for the seeds to germinate, and the herbaceous plant reaches maturity in about 70 days. It can be harvested throughout the growing season and will happily send up new shoots.

Parsley can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, sauces, and salads. It pairs well with other herbs like thyme and chives. Its versatility and appealing taste make it the perfect herb for any recipe.

Be sure to check out Jekka’s Handbook of Parsley for more tips and information on growing and using this versatile herb.

Follow us on Facebook for more home gardening tips and inspiration.

Herb Name Growing Conditions Height Harvest Time
Parsley Partial shade 1-2 feet Throughout the growing season
Chives Partial shade 8-10 inches Until winter above ground
Anise Hyssop Partial shade 3-4 feet Mid- to late summer
Comfrey Shade 2-3 feet Throughout the growing season
Monarda Partial shade 3-4 feet Mid- to late summer

✿ Read More About Herbs.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.