London (change)

10 best fruit crops for shade

Many fruit-bearing bushes, including gooseberries and blackcurrants grow and crop well in partial shade, particularly during warm summers. The harvest might be a little smaller and less sweet than on plants in a sunny location, but still delicious enough to make them worthwhile.

Some tree fruits, such as 'Morello' cherries, don't need sun to sweeten them, so are an ideal choice.

Find out more about fruit crops for shade, below.


Cherries

Acid cherries fare best in shady plots, and look great trained on a north-facing wall, with their spring blossom, glossy fruits and colourful autumn foliage. 'Morello' is the most widely sold. Watch our video guide to planting a cherry tree.

Gooseberries

Gooseberries

This easy shrub will grow in many types of soil and can cope with shade. Strong-growing culinary varieties such as 'Invicta' and 'Greenfinch' do well. Dessert varieties will crop in shade but may be less sweet than when grown in sun. Read more about growing gooseberries.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a useful, trouble-free and good-looking crop for a shady spot. Vigorous, early varieties such as 'Timperley Early', 'Stockbridge Arrow' or the ever-popular 'Victoria' will fare best. Plant in soil that has been enriched with well-rotted manure. Discover how to plant rhubarb.

Blackberries

The best soft fruit for shade, blackberries can be trained against a wall or fence. Cultivated varieties give bigger, earlier fruit than wild plants. Try thornless 'Loch Ness' or 'Helen'.

Blackcurrants

These plants are easy to grow and produce a heavy crop of glossy currants that are rich in vitamin C. Plants tolerate light shade and can be grown in the ground or in pots. Prolific croppers include ‘Ben Connan’ and ‘Ben Hope’. Find out how to grow blackcurrants.

Raspberries

Raspberries

Most varieties of raspberry will give a useful harvest in a shady spot and are low maintenance. Try 'Malling Jewel' (early fruiting), 'Glen Magna' (late), 'Octavia' (very late) and 'Autumn Bliss' (autumn). Find out more about growing raspberries.

Pears

Pears

Pears do need some sun, but they'll crop in partial shade. Early varieties such as 'Beth' should be fine in a west-facing spot, where they'll get a few hours of sun in the afternoon. Once a pear tree is established, it should need little care.

Redcurrants

Redcurrants

Redcurrants will give a good crop, even trained onto a north-facing wall. They're related to blackcurrants, but can be grown like gooseberries, in partial shade. The fruit tastes sweeter when grown in sun. 'Rovada' and 'Red Lake' are good choices.

Plum

Plums

Culinary varieties such as 'Czar' are your best option and can be grown in spots that get morning sun and afternoon shade. They like moist soil, but hate ground that is too wet. They should ideally be planted as a bare-root tree, when dormant.

Alpine strawberries

Alpine strawberries

Alpine strawberries such as 'Alexandria' are much tougher than normal strawberries and will grow in shade. They are low maintenance and need little care once planted. Grow several plants for a good crop.

Discover the 10 best vegetable crops for shade.




Discuss this plant feature

Talkback: 10 best fruit crops for shade
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

DianaW 30/05/2014 at 12:31

It's not true to say that morello cherries don't need sun to sweeten them. I've grown them for many years and they're only any good in a sunny summer, when they turn nearly black. When red, they're completely inedible.

Dovefromabove 30/05/2014 at 12:49

Morello cherries are an acid or sour cherry,  traditionally grown primarily for culinary use, in bottling, pie filling, preserving etc.  They are supposed to have a sour taste when uncooked.  I've always found that they perform really well espaliered on a north-facing wall.