Tomato Plant Full Of Tomatoes
shade tomatoes
(Image credit: SORA)

In a perfect world, all gardeners would have a garden site that offered six to eight hours of sunlight per day. Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world. If you're one of those gardeners who struggles to find sunny locations for growing tomatoes, let's explore what to expect when growing tomatoes in the shade and discover some of the best shade-tolerant tomato varieties.

Growing Tomatoes in the Shade

Although it's not easy to grow a garden in the shade, tomato plants are fairly adaptable. Many varieties of tomatoes for shade gardens will produce quality fruit, but gardeners often experience smaller yields. Cultivating more plants can help overcome this obstacle.

Higher rates of diseases can also be experienced when growing tomatoes in the shade. Trellising and pruning tomato plants increase air circulation. This helps dry moisture on the leaves and stems, which makes the foliage less inviting to disease.

When gardening in the shade, tomato plants will produce the best crop if other growth requirements are optimized. Be sure to plant tomatoes in rich, fertile soil or supplement nutrients by fertilizing them at appropriate times. Water regularly if rainfall amounts are less than one inch (2.5 cm.) per week.

Planting shade-tolerant tomato varieties is another strategy for coping with a shady garden site. Many gardeners find smaller-sized tomatoes produce quite proficiently in shady gardens. For gardeners wishing for larger-sized fruit, choosing varieties with shorter maturity dates may prove beneficial.

Shade Tolerant Tomato Varieties

Cherry, Grape, and Pear:

  • Black Cherry
  • Evans Purple Pear
  • Golden Sweet
  • Ildi (Yellow)
  • Isis Candy Cherry
  • Juliet Hybrid (Red)
  • Principe Borghese (Red)
  • Vernissage Yellow

Plum and Paste:

  • Mama Leone (Red)
  • Redorta (Red)
  • Roma (Red)
  • San Marzano (Red)

Classic Round Tomatoes:

  • Arkansas Traveler (Deep Pink)
  • Beauty
  • Belize Pink Heart (Deep Pink)
  • Carmello (Red)
  • Early Wonder (Dark Pink)
  • Golden Sunray
  • Green Zebra
  • Marglobe (Red)
  • Siberia (Red)
  • Tigerella (Reddish-Orange with Yellowish-Green Stripes)
  • Violet Jasper (Purple with Green Stripes)

Beefsteak Type Tomatoes:

Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.