I live on the north side of a building. My balcony gets plenty of indirect sunlight, but nothing direct. I would like to start a garden for cooking (I’m interested in non-edibles too) but know it is challenging to grow in the shade. What can I plant?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Alex: You are correct in saying that edibles are a challenge to grow in any space that does not receive full sun. But you are not entirely out of luck, there are a few options that can do well with less light, so you may try them on your balcony to see how they do. Your success will all depend on how much actual sunlight these plants receive so it is certainly worth trying. Of course, tomatoes and peppers will not be happy on your north-facing balcony, but other options such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peas are worth trying. Lettuce and other leafy greens such as arugula, spinach, and kale are probably the most tolerant of lower light levels. Later in the spring there will be many shade-loving options to choose from, including annuals like Persian shield and torenia, perennials such as ferns and coral bells, and shrubs such as azaleas and some hydrangea. Depending on the size of your balcony and your containers, you could plant a combination of different plants that give you interest throughout the seasons. Visit your local garden center to see what catches your eye. Let me know if you need more suggestions in terms of non-edibles.