Urban Shade Gardens: Tips On Urban Gardening In Low Light

Indoor Urban Style Potted Garden On Windowsill
low light herb garden
(Image credit: imnoom)

If you garden in an urban area, space isn’t the only thing getting in your way. Limited windows and shadows cast by tall buildings can seriously cut down on the kind of light that is essential for so many things to grow. While you may not be able to grow everything you dream of, there are plenty of plants that will grow with only a couple of hours of light a day. Keep reading to learn more about plants for low light gardens.

Urban Shade Garden

Urban gardening in low light isn’t difficult with the right plants. Herbs are perfect for city gardens in shade, particularly indoors. They are one of the easiest things to grow in low light, and they also grow very well in containers. As a bonus, they’re just the kind of plant you want to keep close by: cooking is a joy when you can snip fresh herbs right in your kitchen. Hard-leafed herbs, like lavender and rosemary, really need a lot of light to grow. Soft-leafed herbs, however, thrive with just a few hours of light per day. These include:

Mint, in particular, will grow very well even in low light and should be kept in a separate pot from your other herbs, so it doesn’t muscle them out.

More Plants for Low Light Gardens

If you have very little light, you’re going to have a hard time growing flowers. A few exceptions, though, include:

As far as vegetables go, basically any leafy green can be grown in low light. Stick to varieties with many branched leaves, however, opting for loose-leaf lettuce over head lettuce. Radishes work well too, though it’s there that low light root vegetables stop. Other varieties will yield strange, leggy, sickly-looking roots.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.