The Q&A Archives: Shade-Tolerant Herbs

Question: I want to plant an herb garden in a partially shaded area. My back yard has many live oak trees. The area I want to use is near the house and gets some afternoon sun. Will this work? Sally Tarasoff Boerne, Texas

Answer: There are herbs that do better in shade than sun, including oregano, costmary and lemon balm. Still, I recommend creating a raised bed so there will be less competition from tree roots, and locate it in the very sunniest spot. Other herbs that do well in half to 3/4 shade are parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, borage, lovage and fennel. For expert advise on the subject, though, I recommend contacting Richter (The Herb Specialists) via their web site ( They have a wonderfully wide variety of herbs to offer.

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