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looking for partial sun/shade edibles

Posted by Mocknbird Wash, DC (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 20, 05 at 14:07

to replace my azaleas. The azaleas at the front of the house are dying due to lack of sunlight and neglect. They get direct morning sun but only indirect light for the rest of the day. I'm looking for some bushes that will maintain the suburban 'hedgy' appearance of the house but also pull their weight when harvest time comes.

Any suggestions? I assume that currants (red or black) would grow nicely in partial sun because they do so well in northern climes.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

You probably won't be happy. We tried to do all edibles in our yard but ended up mixing edible and ornamentals. Almost all edibles are deciduous and our experience with currants is that the heat is tough on them and they tend to drop leaf VERY early- in late summer. Gooseberries tend to go a little longer without dropping leaf but are thorny.

Blueberries are good but leggy and grow slow.

Are you sure the azaleas are not dying from lack of water? We have the same issue in front of our house with our azaleas not getting enough water. If so, almost no fruit would do any better.

We have blueberries underplanted with small azaleas staggered between and in front. Might try that route, but you will have to ensure the blueberries get enough water

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

I appreciated this post, since I am thinking about mixing blueberries with dwarf mt. laurels. Seems like they both should do well in the same types of shady acid conditions. Another option you might consider is ostrich ferns, or whichever are the edible kinds, don't quote me on the "ostrich" variety. They are pretty hardy in the shade.

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

I've heard cranberry and elderberry do okay in part shade.... :) (Note cranberry does not need to be grown in water).... maybe you could try a white cranberry :)

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

Check you're zone but how about.

Quince: Here it is evergreen, makes an apple like fruit and mine produces coral flowers. I trim mine to a hedge. It has thorns so beware. A very resilant bush here.

Camila: There is a variety used in tea. Evergreen and pretty flowers.

Blueberry: I just planted 10 bushes I can't wait to see them grow. Beware of soil needs. They may lose foliage in winter but put on a fall show.

You may want to also consider some herbs if you go with a mixed hedge, they are relatively inexpensive and propagated easily, most thrive on neglect. Rosemary is a wonderful evergreen hedge if you can grow it up there. Sage is evergreen. Alot of herbs are periennal and you can research what thrives in you're area.

Good luck to you.

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

Since I also have a fair quantity of shade the more I've read the more I hear elderberry is great in shade.... not as useful as some berries but nice in jams etc. flowers are useful as a medicinal..... The plant looks pretty in and out of flower (deciduous in winter.... bare twigs) and the berries are also pretty.... but I'd bet near a walkway they (like most other berrries) would be messy .... to walk on.... I know I've got - ancient- wild cherries all bordering my backyard..... :)

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

I posted this same response to another thread on shade gardening, but copy and paste is so easy, so...
Solomon's seal grows nicely in full or part shade and the spring shoots are reported to be usable very similarly to asparagus. By one account in the book _Perennial Vegetables_, even preferable. The giant Solomon's seal variety (Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum -- synonyms: P. commutatum, P. canaliculatum, P. giganteum) is more convenient for eating purposes because the shoots are much thicker than the standard smaller version. You'd have to pick quite a few of the smaller ones to contribute usefully to a meal since their shoots are pencil thin or maybe thinner.

Other shade-tolerant listed in _Perennial Vegetables_ include ramps, fuki (aka butterbur), and wood nettles. The uncooked nettles, sadly, sting if touched, so would have to be located and treated with care. The book includes still others, but I haven't read through it with care outside of the plants that are suited to my colder climate.

An article at on shade gardening also lists ginseng, highbush cranberry, sumac (for 'pink lemonade' sun tea made from the fruits--other parts are poisonous and boiled tea is too bitter to drink).

And then there's mushrooms, but I'm guessing you wouldn't be interested in that for someplace that also should have a strong ornamental aspect.

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

I found this page because I have a situation very similar to yours and wanted to know if cranberries or blueberries could be grown in partial shade. I have an elderberry that is doing quite well near where I would be planting, but it grows so fast it's a little overgrown and scraggly for right up by the house. I prune it back in the fall, but my wife would argue it is insufficiently controllable to be an ornamental plant, at least between the house and the front walk.

I have two highbush cranberries along the back fence, where they get even less direct sun. I just let them go without pruning, and they're a little big, but grow much more slowly than the elderberry. I'm not sure what effect pruning would have on the yield, but I think it would probably look better than the elderberry. I haven't found the berries as useful though.

I may still try the cranberries or blueberries there, though I'm worried about the shade, and the clay soil, but I need something with some (medium) height in the winter, even if it's deciduous.

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

to kr:

Evergreen Huckleberry is more shade tolerant than blueberries & has similar fruit. Grows taller in shade than in sun.

The cranberries & blueberries would be very ornamental as a combination. I've read cranberries like sand as mulch, but blueberries want a moisture holding mulch. My father's bushes do well with lots of used coffee grounds (UCG) as mulch.

All 3 fruits mentioned like acidic, well drained soils, which in my area means add compost & use raised beds. Peat moss is acidic & one way to increase acid content of soils as well as drainage.

Hope that helps

RE: looking for partial sun/shade edibles

plant strawberry trees (arbutus unedo) as a hedge and then let any or all of the following climb through it, chocolate vine, japanese wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius), or rubus tricolour (another shade edible member of rubus family).

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