Fruiting plant in full shade?

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)October 14, 2012

I have finally gotten rid of the concrete on the North side of my house. I am planning on planting my cherries and apricots there (poor things have been in pots for several years). The place is protected between my house and the neighbor's garage. But I was wondering what I could plant up against the North side of the house which only gets minimal sun early in the morning.

I have a gooseberry, a Regent Saskatoon, a Chinese magnolia, and my Kolomikta kiwi that could go there. Would any of these work there? The above are still in pots so it would be easy to plant there. Which, if any, would tolerate this type of shade and still produce a good crop? I've been toying with the idea of blackberries also but I don't want them suckering everywhere.

Due to the extreme sun and heat I have found that quite a few plants that are for partial or even full sun do best in the shade here in Colorado. I don't know if the actual fruiting would work in full shade though.

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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

I am not very experienced but since no one else has chimed in yet, here is my two cents:

I would hesitate to plant any fruit trees in full shade. I might be wrong but I would think that sunlight is essential to development of fruit buds and proper color of fruits on trees. And I know I've read other threads where experienced folks have poo-poo'ed the idea of planting trees in areas that receive less than 5-6 hours of sunlight per day. It's kind of like, "well, it might work.... but don't be surprised when it doesn't...." That kind of thing.

I do think berries are a better option. I have raspberries that grow in about 50% shade and have taken off like gangbusters, and I tend to think they would do just as well in full shade as they are so vigorous. They do sucker all over the place though. I have not had as good of success with my blackberries growing in the same 50% shade. They don't grow vigorous. However they also do not sucker (at least not for me). Next year I will plant some gooseberries in the same location to see how they do in partial shade. I've heard they will grow well in partial shade.

So that's why I think berries might be the way to go for you. But trees.... I'm just not very confident that that would work out well for you. I'm sure the trees would grow tall and have nice leaves, but just might never fruit very well for you in the shade. That is my guess.

Not sure if that's much help, but might be a start at least to get this discussion rolling.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 6:05PM
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nothwehr

I currently have a Regent and Prince William Juneberry (a.k.a. Saskatoon) on the north side of my house. According to the Edible Landscaping website (where I bought them) they are somewhat shade tolerant. I don't expect they will be as productive there though as they would be in a more sunny location. You might see what their website says about sun requirements for the other fruits you mentioned.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:32PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I did a search in Edible Landscaping and found several plants that are "excellent" in the shade:

Crandall American Black Current - Ribes odoretum
Wineberry Raspberry - Rubus phoenicolasius
Native Chinquapin - Castanea pumila
Primus White Currant

Unfortunately they are out of these at this time:(

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 3:12AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Rolling River has Primus and Whitman farms has both currants (Crandall is under "Clove", not "Black").

If you are worried about blackberries spreading, you probably won't want Wineberries. They grow like weeds, easily tiprooting if you don't pay close attention. They are tasty, but you do need to fight the birds (which also help them spread) for them. I never planted them, but there were a number in my yard when I moved in.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:48AM
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fabaceae_native

Some interesting ideas already, I'll weigh in on a couple plants already mentioned...

-- Raspberry a good bet, I've picked from some very productive bushes that were growing along the north side of a building in Lakewood, CO. They did get early morning and late afternoon sun in summer and were open to the sky above.
-- Crandall currant, I'm doubtful that it would be really productive and tasty in full shade, based on my long experience with Golden Currant, Ribes aureum, which is sometimes considered the same species as Crandall.
-- Wineberry can certainly deal with the shade and still produce, however it prefers a wet climate and I have tried a couple times to grow it here in NM without luck. There certainly should not be a concern about it spreading rampantly in CO like in CT.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:57PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I was looking at white currents on Whitman's site and Lucile says about White Imperial White Currant: "About as good as it gets with white currants which isn't saying too much." With regard to Primus she says, "Productive, resistant to frost damage; late season". I think I will scratch this one from the list.

The wineberry is sounding like it might go. I have a feeling that it needs more acidic soil, and Colorado and New Mexico have more alkaline. I'm thinking that I could amend this spot and it might be okay. I have to water everything no matter what, so that's not too far of a stretch.

I don't have any currents or berries yet. I told myself I would have no need of berries with a mulberry tree. I pulled out the strawberries because they take up a lot of room for their production.

If I could manage to get something to grow above the roof-line I could plant anything. It would get full sun once it got past 9 feet or so. It would need to be something that I could harvest all at once so I don't have get a ladder out too often.

I wonder if an American persimmon or a hybrid would work. I think the fruit falls when it's ripe. It would get full sun once it's tall enough and then it would drop the fruit down. Is that stretching it too far?

Maybe a pawpaw? How close to pawpaws need to be to get good pollination? I am planting two in my front yard. Would a third tree that's on the other side of the house get fertilized?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I would say pawpaw is the best non-berry option. You won't get all that many fruits but pawpaws are best in small doses anyway. I would plant two close together to guarantee pollination. Pawpaws are pollinated by small flies and I don't know the maximum distance for them, its not the usual bee pollinators. Gooseberries also will produce some in such a spot.

Scott

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Ivywild142(6a)

Here in Colorado, lots of fruiting plants can thrive quite well in a lot of shade. I have blueberries, pawpaw, jostaberry, raspberries and honeyberry that thrive in 90% shade.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:31AM
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fotophreek(6)

No one has mentioned elderberry. They are a forest fruit and do well. Hazelnuts are said to do ok too but I have never tried them. I would plant paw paw and maybe elderberry around the base (a few feet out if you have the space). This gives you vertical layers of production.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:43AM
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fotophreek(6)

No one has mentioned elderberry. They are a forest fruit and do well. Hazelnuts are said to do ok too but I have never tried them. I would plant paw paw and maybe elderberry around the base (a few feet out if you have the space). This gives you vertical layers of production.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:44AM
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NilaJones(7b)

Are you sure the area is still full shade in the summer, when the sun is higher? Is it under a roof overhang?

My raspberries are very productive snug up to the north side of a single-story house. They get a fair amount of sun in midsummer -- their shade comes from the tree and tall shrub E and W of them, not the house.

Thornless blackberries: I grew three varieties in part shade and found that one was extremely productive and delicious, one was extremely productive but blah-tasting (much better when moved to full sun) and one got shaded out.

Unfortunately they outgrew their labels when I was ill, so you might have to repeat the experiment :(.

My fig is also very productive for me in shade, and hardy to 8 degrees (at least).

You could, alternately, grow some things in large containers and put them in the garage in winter.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 3:16PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Ivywild142,

It's true that Colorado shade can equal part sun in most other areas.

NilaJones,

The area I mentioned is indeed full shade; it's in a corner where a single story meets a two-story. The only sun is in the morning.

fotophreek,

I did think of elderberries but my soil is most likely not acidic enough.

I did order a Crandall current just to try it there. I do have pawpaw trees that will need to find a permanent home. I may need to reconsider my pawpaw placement. They are still in pots so I could leave them there for a summer and see how they do.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:24PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Pie cherries and Cornelian cherry/cornus mas, an edible dogwood.
John S
PDX OR

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:07PM
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NilaJones(7b)

>I may need to reconsider my pawpaw placement. They are still in pots so I could leave them there for a summer and see how they do.

Funny, I just came back to suggest this about shade tolerance in general :).

I have found it extremely useful, when exploring the limits of shade tolerance for various species, to have the plant in a largish pot that I can move around. Leave it here for a few weeks, then try it over there, etc. Sometime 5 feet makes a big difference.

For things that grow tall (trees) you could even try putting the pot up on top of something to see how the plant likes the light up a little higher.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:34AM
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NilaJones(7b)

Of course, for fruiting, sometimes these experiments require multiple years.

I mentioned upthread that I had one variety of thornless blackberry that was very productive in shade but tastier in sun. I found that out by digging it up in the winter and growing it in a pot, in the sun, for the following summer. Now I have made it a permanent home in the sun, 'cause I know it's worth it :).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:38AM
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oceandweller(8B)

I know in the south blackberries and raspberries grow well in mostly shaded areas. Maybe there are some varieties for CO.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:32AM
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mrsg47(7)

Hi MileHigh, I grow all colors of currants and five varieties. They really need sun. Partial shade is ok, but you will never (imho) get the full flavor of a currant. They will probably be exceptionally sour. I'd say you need no less than 6 hours of sun a day and you'll be ok. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Ivywild142(6a)

Pawpaws will do fine on a north exposure in Colorado. Mine get a few hours of sun at best in summer and still grow and bloom fine. Any more sun than a few hours late or early has killed plants for me. They also like wind protection and more moisture, so a north wall with some wind protection is better. They will leaf out a little later in a northerly exposure which is better to avoid freeze damage.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:20AM
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mrsg47(7)

Milehigh, all of my currants love full sun, and I really cannot imagine them doing well in shade at all. I do have a summer cropping group of raspberries (RED) that happen to love shade. The berries are huge and very tasty. It is my only 'fruiting' plant that seems to do well in the shade. Currants ( I have Jonkeer von Tets, Ben Serak, Ben Lomond, Champagne, and Blanca; five black currants in all) need heat and sun to ripen and sweeten up. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Bradybb(wa8)

Evergreen Huckleberry actually gets biggest in shade,but fruits better with some sun.
I'm not sure of it's temperature range,but read that the plant grows in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Like Blueberries,acidic soil is needed. Brady

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:16AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I'm realizing that the sun here is so much more intense than other places. There are few things that don't do well in the shade. I decided to plant my saskatoons in the shadiest part of my yard.

I did look into huckleberries but they don't seem hardy enough here.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:25AM
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