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At our office, we have a wonderful recreation area that gets a few hours of morning sun. The rest of the day the space is engulfed in generic flourescent light. I'm curious which herbs, vegetables or fruits would theoretically thrive in an environment such as this.

We've considered some of the more "generic" herb choices like rosemary and basil. What other plants would be a good choice?

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Somewhat related: Vegetables to grow with limited sunlight -- especially the leafy vegetables & the "shallow" rooted root vegetables... –  Mike Perry Oct 27 '11 at 18:25
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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Lemon balm grows nicely in shade and makes a delicious pesto or refreshing accent to beverages.

Parsley fares pretty well inside, too, but needs warmer temperatures in order to thrive.

Basil actually doesn't do very well in mostly shade; it grows best in full sun.

For vegetables, it seems that leafy greens are easy to grow in shade (which helps prevent bolting, too), but I haven't tried growing greens indoors so I can't speak from experience on that one. Mother Earth News actually has a great chart with the minimum hours of sunlight per day that shade-friendly vegetables require; bok choi looks like it's the most shade-tolerant, requiring only 2 hours of sunlight per day.

As far as I know, most fruit requires full sun, but maybe someone else has experience successfully growing fruit inside with only partial sun.

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Suggestions:

  • Mint
  • Ginger, cardamom or other Zingiberales
  • Chives or other Allia (assuming enough morning sun)
  • Cranberries, lingonberries or other Vaccinia

See also Five Overlooked Edible Plants for Your Garden which suggests Wintergreen and edible ferns as commonly overlooked shade-loving edibles.

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