Herbs That Grow in the Shade – Low Light Herbs

by | Dec 29, 2017 | Guides, Tips & Tricks | 0 comments

When growing an indoor herb garden lack of sunlight can represent an issue for many of us. Especially when thriving for 6 or more hours a day to shine on your plants. Luckily, there are plenty of herbs that grow in shade and tolerate low light.

Using these shade-loving herbs will open up more space for you to spread your indoor garden out. This creates more green space inside your home.
Understanding your plants light needs will help you plan your garden space better. Keep shade tolerant plants in separate areas of their very own.  Giving those sunbathing plants much more natural light opportunities in your indoor garden.

Winter can also impact your normal hours of light that come through your windows and the same light intensity you experienced in the summer months may be diminished in the cooler months.

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My Top 10 Herbs That Grow in Shade


Mint is a very durable common perennial herb that grows vigorous indoors. Mints will grow in sun too but thrive in low light and shade.

They make great container plants as their invasive nature can overtake a garden bed. Mint roots have fast-spreading capabilities.
A flavorful culinary herb that can work both cooked and raw. I use it in teas, to flavor salads, meat, and seafood dishes.
Mint also has many medicinal properties and alternative benefits. Mouth cleansing and breath freshening in tubes of toothpaste and mouthwash are familiar uses. Mint also has common applications in remedies for upset stomach and indigestion.

You can easily start mint with this great Mint Garden In a Bag starter kit from Seedsnow.

More information about growing mint can be found in this new article on site. Follow this link here to learn more. Growing Mint in Containers- Best method


A hard to find in the store herb that produces some great mild anise-like flavor is Chervil. It does not dry well so is best used fresh picked for the greatest flavor. It grows great in low light, light shade conditions.

I have found Chervil to be a hardy grower indoors. It has very high tolerance to a multitude of conditions.
Chervil is a versatile seasoning that can spark up dishes of meat and poultry. It also compliments dairy-rich dishes of cheese and in cream sauces.
My favorite use of chervil is a béarnaise sauce a classic French mother sauce.

 I love this awesome recipe for Fool-proof Bernaise from serious eats.



Cilantro likes bright light but not direct sunlight beating on it. This makes it ideal herb to grow in low light. It does well in east windows that get morning sunlight but stay indirect the rest of the day.

Cilantro also prefers its environment a bit on the cool side. Avoid placing near any direct heat source. Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant after it has bolted.
I have found that this herb is either a love it or hate it type of herb when it comes to flavor. I am fond of the flavor of cilantro. It makes an excellent addition to many stir-fry’s as well as traditional guacamole. It also adds freshness to green salads and new taste profiles to smoothie recipes.

Slow-bolt Cilantro seeds can extend your growing time for your plant and keep them from going to seed. You can get some quality slow-bolting seeds here.


This one may cause an argument as I have seen a lot of people swear that parsley needs a lot of sun. I will tell you in my 20 years of experience growing parsley it has no issues growing in low light.

I have had parsley growing in east-facing windows that got morning sun alone. One on a countertop that receives bright indirect light. Both parsley plants grew lush and green with no flavor loss.
The lovely green grass like the taste of parsley adds a delicate finish on many dishes and not as garnish alone. Flat-leaf varieties have a much richer flavor. While fancy curly varieties are more decorative and delicate in taste.

Parsley also is a natural breath neutralizer and will counteract some stronger scents used in some dishes such as garlic and onions.


Thyme does great with indirect light in a bright room or an east window. Freeing up more space in your sunny southern windows for sun-loving plants. Light does not need to shine on this plant directly but is near for thyme to thrive.

It is a very hardy grower that does well in containers. Thyme enjoys the consistent indoor temperatures.
The uses for thyme is almost limitless as it pairs well with so many dishes you can prepare in the kitchen. A classic pairing with Rosemary for seasoning poultry and game meats. Thyme also is a great seasoning for soups, stews, and stocks.


Shiso, or otherwise referred to as perilla, is a wonderful unique herb. It adds an Oriental flavor to your dishes with its Asian roots.

This herb is not fussy it likes sun too. It will also do fine in low light to partial shade as well.
There are two main types of shiso, green and red. The red variety is more of a beautiful purple colored leaf. This herb is also called the beefsteak plant or the purple mint.
The flavor of shiso is hard to describe as it is truly unique. As a member of the mint family, it has a slight mint essence to it with a hint of anise. Notes of citrus are often left hinted on the tongue.
There are also some basil similarities to the flavor and works well in or in its own unique pesto. Green shiso has a bit of a cinnamon hint too. This is not found in the red variety.
Japanese cooking uses perilla to season tofu, bean curd, in soups, tempura, meat and rice dishes. I like it in salads and blended with mayonnaise for unique sandwich spreads.

If you would like to learn how to grow your own shiso I have written an article here that will help get you started.


Not everyone considers this to be a shade loving herb. Yet the hardiness of chives tolerates low light and shade conditions with style. The blades may be a little finer when grown in lower lights, but the taste is not sacrificed.

It is best to use chives raw to maintain their delicate flavor, but they are more than just a garnish. Chives offer hints of extra flavor to many dishes with their light onion flavor. Try a garlic chive to add a garlicky essence.
I use them on or in so many dishes it is hard to narrow it down to a few. If I had to it would be soups. Fresh snipped chives on soup is a must for me like crackers are to most everyone else.

Garlic chives can be a wonderful flavor treat in your dishes if you have never tried this variety give it a chance. You will be surprised.

Golden Oregano

This is a variety of oregano that likes the shade unlike the rest of the Oregano and marjoram family. It’s delicate pale green to yellow leaves thrive in shade and burn up in high amounts of sun.

It still carries the familiar flavors of the Greek varieties of oregano. Rich with nice pepper undertones.
Oregano is a highly used seasoning in Greek, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Chefs and cooks use it to season sauces, marinara, soups, and stews. It is a great herb for drying, freezing or cooking as it holds its flavor well even after harvest.


Turmeric appreciates indirect light for best growth for your plant. This beautiful plant grown for its roots, rhizomes, is a very versatile home dweller.

Turmeric roots are the primary harvest of this plant. It does not need to be available in the kitchen for a fresh harvest. This offers many options for placement outside your normal grow space.
Turmeric, the golden herb, is used in many Indian dishes including curry. It also has strong medicinal properties and benefits that are being explored. It is even considered an anticancer fighting herb.

Read More about turmeric here.


Much like it’s the previous herb mentioned ginger is also grown for and from its rhizomes(roots). It is a hardy shade grower almost anywhere in your home with a little indirect light source.

Ginger is a wonder herb with many culinary and medicinal properties. Its unique flavor has been used in baking for generations, as well as the seasoning of dishes and even in drinks.
In holistic medicine ginger benefits various things including weight loss, stomach ailments, heart disease, and diabetes. Like turmeric has shown as an anti-cancer preventative.


Into the Light

Having indoor herbs that can tolerate lower light will help you to space your indoor garden. Bringing you more growth opportunities. It will be important to watch your plants for problems with light deficiency.

All plants rely on photosynthesis to produce their own food and energy. This requires processing some form of light. If you notice your herb plant has slowed down in growth. Develops abnormal long spacing between leaves (leggy). The appearance of paling leaves. Even excessive reaching towards a light source may indicate your plant is too far into the shade.
Try rotating them into sunny spots a couple days a week. Watch and see if that sparks them back up. You may need to change their location altogether.

Get help supplementing natural light in your indoor garden by learning more here in a previous post I wrote about The Best Grow Lights for Indoor Plants and Herbs – Creating Sunlight.

Or Take a look at specific reviews of the best LED grow lights that won’t break the bank! My reccomended grow light option!

red arrow down rightDid I miss an herb that you have had success growing in lower light conditions and shade indoors? I would love to hear about what you are growing and how it is working for you. Leave a comment below!

Happy Gardening!



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