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Monday - June 15, 2009

From: Enville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Edible plants in shade in Enville TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a flower bed against the back of my house with nothing in it. We moved into this house late last year and I was planning on planting some tomato plants there until I discovered it never gets any direct sun. Is there any type of edible or fruit bearing plant I can grow there since it's nice and close to the house.


Many fruits and vegetables are not native to North America and/or have been so extensively hybridized and therefore not recognizable as natives. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. A plant native to an area will already be adapted by millennia of experience to the soil, climate and rainfall of that area, and will need less fertilizer, water and maintenance. For the site you are referring to, you apparently need something that we would classify as "shade," or less than 2 hours of sun a day.  "Sun" is considered 6 or more hours of sun daily, and "part shade" 2 to 6 hours of sun. We went to our Native Plant Database, and found these plants that are native to Tennessee, would grow in the specified amount of sun, and are considered edible. Please follow the plant links and read about each plant; all are perennials, some are considered more edible for wildlife than people, and many are very prickly bushes.

Fragaria vesca (woodland strawberry) - blooms white May to August, part shade to shade

Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) - blooms white, pink May to July, part shade or shade

Rubus allegheniensis (Allegheny blackberry) - blooms white in June, sun, part shade or shade - pictures

Rubus canadensis (smooth blackberry) - blooms white June to July, sun, part shade or shade

Rubus idaeus (American red raspberry) - blooms white June and July, sun, part shade or shade - pictures

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry) - blooms white May and June, sun, part shade or shade

Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) -  blooms white, pink May and June, sun, part shade or shade

Fragaria vesca

Gaylussacia baccata

Rubus canadensis

Vaccinium angustifolium

Vaccinium corymbosum




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