Healthy Herbs Best Grown in the Shade

04/14/2022 | Ken Davis Fertilizer, Herbs, In the Garden

by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener

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herbs fresh and organic

Organic herbs and vegetables are never genetically altered, grown to perfection, and picked fresh from your garden. There is nothing quite like biting into a fresh tomato warmed by the afternoon sun. Herbs are the same way, best picked fresh from the garden, the flavors are just better.

Lots of Sun – Herbs prefer gardens that are blistering hot to part sun. That means the spot should receive at least 6 hours of direct sun each day.

Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the rootball of your plant. Mix Watters Premium Mulch with your native soil at a 50/50 ratio to better improve the soil’s drainage and add beneficial nutrients. Fill the hole halfway with your blended soil. This should put the top of the plant’s rootball, level with the garden ground around the hole. Fill in around the sides of the rootball. Tamp down the soil firmly to get rid of any air pockets. Water deeply with Watters  Root & Grow to reduce transplant shock.

Culinary Herbs for Mountain Gardens

Chervil Watters Mark

Many herbs can be planted year-round in local gardens like rosemary, lavender, chives, thyme, and mint. Cool-season herbs can be grown anytime, but your best selection is found September through April, like sorrel, borage, and chervil.

The mountains of Arizona grow exceptional heat-loving herbs as well. Warm-season herbs are found here at Watters April through August, including basil, tarragon, oregano, cilantro, fennel, bay laurel, and dill.

Basil Watters Mark

The mountains of Arizona grow exceptional heat-loving herbs as well. Warm-season herbs are found here at Watters April through August, including basil, tarragon, oregano, cilantro, fennel, bay laurel, and dill.

Herbs like the sun, more the better, shady gardens make growing herbs difficult. On a north-facing patio, herb gardening under trees and apartment dwellers find it challenging to find the perfect spot for growing healthy herbs. There is an impressive list of herbs for this challenge.

Culinary Herbs That Grow Well in Shade

This lesson came quite by accident years ago when planting the cutest herb garden in an area receiving less sun than realized. This new herb garden was planted and needed to figure out how to survive in the shade, survival of the fittest. Low and behold, the garden grew beautifully for years. Here are the six herbs that outshined the rest.

Shiso Watters Mark

Shiso – This handy herb grows as an annual up to 2′ feet tall. It can be used in dishes just like basil or cilantro. . . Yummm.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm – It is heralded as one of the calming herbs and is beautiful in appearance. Grows excellent up to 2′ feet tall.


Oregano – There are many varieties at the garden center, from zesty to spicy and Italian. All grow well in light shade.


Thyme – this low-growing perennial herb grows 3-7″ inches tall and loved the shade. If you’re looking for groundcover, creeping thyme is your flavor. While wooly thyme is heavenly on bare feet.


Parsley – Another sun lover that doesn’t mind some heavy shade. Both the curly leaf and Italian flat-leaf do equally well in the shade. Grows well to about one foot tall.

Corsican Mint

Corsican Mint – Yes, Corsican mint likes the sun but behaves well in light shade. It grew a bit shorter in the shade to about 4″ inches tall. Aside from pulling their weight in the kitchen, these herbs can take the place of the more common shade plants like vining Ivy. Once established, these herbs have far fewer water requirements.

Flower Power

Many of these shaded herbs find their way into container gardens. If you are planting herbs in pots, plant them in  Watters Potting Soil. Feed twice per month with Flower Power for better flavor and outstanding performance.

Water your plants thoroughly after planting. For the first month or so, you may need to water every other day. Feel the soil before irrigation. It should be allowed to dry between each cycle.

Growing herbs is an easy way to start gardening, even in the darker parts of the garden. Watters plant ambassadors are here to help you get started.

Until the next issue, I’ll be helping local gardeners plant healthier herbs.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at