17 Fruiting Trees, Shrubs and Vines That Grow in Partial Shade

Do you have a partially shaded area of your garden where you'd love to place some fruiting plants? If you aren't sure which types of fruiting trees, vines and shrubs thrive in shady areas, you've come to the right place! In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen looks at her favorite fruiting plants for shady garden spaces!

Gooseberry fruiting plant growing in partial shade

Sunlight provides energy and all plants need some sunlight to grow. Most fruiting plants prefer growing in locations with full sun exposure. There are, however, a number of fruit trees, vines, and shrubs that you can grow in partially shaded areas of your landscape. Most will grow across different climate zones, with limited space, and some will even grow in containers.

Growing fruit trees and shrubs takes a bit of effort and patience. Some will produce fruits in as little as 1 year, while others may take 5-6 years to produce their first fruits.

You will always want to choose plant varieties that will grow well in your geographical region, soil type, and available space. Let’s take a look at some delicious fruiting plants you can grow at home, even in a shady garden location!



Close-up of ripe blackberries in the garden. The plant has deeply inky, juicy, soft berries and bright green, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Some berries have a red-violet color.
Blackberries produce abundant juicy fruits in full sun but are also capable of fruiting in shady areas.
Scientific Name: Rubus fruticosus
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Chill Hours: 300-500
  • Height: 4-6 feet
  • Fruit Production: 2 years
  • When to Harvest: Mid to late summer, when fruits are completely black

Blackberries grow on vine-like stems known as canes. If you have space for a large patch of blackberry canes, you can harvest a lot of blackberries! Blackberries will grow the largest and most abundant fruits in full sun, but these plants are surprisingly capable of producing plenty of fruits, even in partially shaded conditions.

When growing blackberries in the home landscape, give them as much sun as you can. Even without full sun, they will have a tendency to form dense thickets. The flowers attract numerous pollinators, and the fruits will attract wildlife. Thin any canes that appear dead or less vigorous so you can enjoy more fruits produced on the healthier canes.

Cherry ‘Acerola’

A close-up of a ripe acerola cherry in full sun in a garden. Long branches covered with bright green, oval leaves with smooth edges. Reddish-orange, rounded fruits grow among the leaves.
Cherry ‘Acerola’ grows well in warm climates and is tolerant of partial shade.
Scientific Name: Malpighia emarginata
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9-11
  • Chill Hours: None
  • Height: 10-12 feet
  • Fruit Production: 1-2 years
  • When to Harvest: Spring-Summer

Acerola cherries, also commonly known as Barbados cherries, are an unusual warm-weather fruit. They do well in warm climates and are tolerant of partial shade.

Cherry trees can become rather tall, but acerola cherries can be pruned to stay more compact. Fruits are bright red and have a sweet-tart flavor. They can be eaten fresh or preserved.

If you live in a cooler climate and still want to try growing acerola cherries, you can grow one in a large container. As long as you have a bright window or strong indoor grow light, allow your plant to grow outdoors in the summer, then move it indoors for the winter months.

Cherry ‘Morello’

View from below, close-up of ripe cherries on a Cherry 'Morello' tree against a blue sky. Many thin branches covered with small, ripe, bright red, round fruits and oval dark green leaves with serrated edges.
Cherry ‘Morello’ produces many small red fruits that taste sweet and sour.
Scientific Name: Prunus cerasus ‘Morello’
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-6
  • Chill Hours: 1200
  • Height: 8-20 feet
  • Fruit Production: 3-4 years
  • When to Harvest: June-July, look for bright red fruits

There are many varieties of cherry trees, and the “Morello” cherry is one that is tolerant of partial shade. The Morello cherry, also known as sour cherry, produces an abundance of small bright-red fruits.

The fruits are excellent eaten fresh but are also very popular for cooking, canning, jams, and jellies. The showy spring-blooming flowers are reason enough to grow a cherry tree!

If you live in a cooler climate zone, Morello cherry would be a great choice. These trees are tolerant of some shade, particularly in warmer climates.

If you want to grow a cherry tree, but a full-sized 20-foot tree is just too much, you can keep the Morello cherry tree heavily pruned. Pruning is useful to not only control the height, but increase air flow, remove any dead or diseased branches, and improve accessibility.


Close-up of growing blackcurrant bushes in a sunny garden. Shrubs have erect branches covered with large, three-lobed, bright green leaves. Small, round, juicy, dark purple, almost black berries ripen on the branches.
Currants are shrubs that produce many small, round, black, red, or white fruits with a tart-sweet taste.
Scientific Name: Ribes spp.
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 2-6
  • Chill Hours: 800-2500
  • Height: 3-6 feet
  • Fruit Production: 2-3 years
  • When to Harvest: June-July

Currant plants are bushy shrubs that produce an abundance of small round fruits. The fruits grow in clusters along woody stems and the flowers attract butterflies.

Currant fruits can be sweet or tart and are commonly used in jams and preserves. You can find different currant varieties, including blackcurrants, redcurrants, and white currants. Regardless of the color, they all have the same basic growing needs.

Like many fruiting shrubs, currants prefer full sun, but are tolerant of partial shade. The number of chill hours varies widely depending on the variety of currant you grow. Just make sure the variety you choose is suitable for your climate zone and you should be okay.

Another thing to be aware of is that while currants are self-fertile, you will probably increase your yield if you plant more than one variety. Multiple plants will, of course, also increase the number of currants you will pick and enjoy!


Close-up of a large elderberry branch with ripe berries in a sunny garden on a blurred green background. The plant has compound leaves with 5-7 lanceolate leaflets with sharp-toothed edges. Elderberry berries are tiny, round, with a smooth, stretched, purple-blue skin, almost black.
Elderberry produces magnificent white flowers and small black berries which attract birds and other wild animals.
Scientific Name: Sambucus canadensis
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Chill Hours: 100-300
  • Height: 5-12 feet
  • Fruit Production: 2-3 years
  • When to Harvest: August-September, fruits will turn dark purple or black

Elderberry is a native plant that produces large quantities of tiny berries. The flowers attract numerous pollinators, and the fruits attract birds and other wildlife.

Humans need to be very cautious with elderberry, however, as the seeds, roots, leaves, and stems are all poisonous if ingested. Some varieties of elderberries cannot be eaten raw. So why include elderberry in this list? Elderberries are popular for use in jams and preserves – they must be cooked before consumption.

Elderberry plants tolerate full sun to partial shade. These plants are good for a moist location with rich soil. They will spread over time to create a dense cluster, ideal for a hedge or naturalized area. If they become too thick, give them a heavy pruning to help keep them in check.

Fig ‘Celeste’

Close-up of a Fig ‘Celeste’ growing in a shady garden. The plant has long branches with large, dark green, thick, rough leaves with deep lobes. Medium sized fruit with smooth green skin. They have a classic fig shape with a thin stem, tapering neck and squat bottom.
Fig ‘Celeste’ does best in full sun but is also tolerant of partial shade.
Scientific Name: Ficus carica ‘Celeste’
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-10
  • Chill Hours: 100
  • Height: 6-10 feet
  • Fruit Production: 1-2 years
  • When to Harvest: July-August, fruits begin to soften

The ‘Celeste’ fig produces an abundant crop of small to medium-sized fruits. At maturity, fruits and soft and sweet and can be enjoyed fresh, dried, or preserved. Be sure to pick the fruits as they ripen because they ripen quickly and will soon be overripe and start to ferment.

Figs perform best and will produce the most fruits when grown in full sun, but they are tolerant of partial shade. Fig trees grow quickly and vigorously.

They can be pruned as needed to control their size. Some branches may die back during cold winters. Mulch around the roots to help protect against the cold and prune off any dead branches each spring to keep your tree looking its best.


Close-up of ripening gooseberries in the garden against a blurred green background. The fruits are oval, juicy, light green in color with pale green veins and with a hairy surface. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed, toothed.
Gooseberry is an attractive shrub that produces small, round, juicy fruits with a sweet-tart taste.
Scientific Name: Ribes spp.
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-6
  • Chill Hours: 1000
  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • Fruit Production: 1-3 years
  • When to Harvest: Summer, when fruits start to soften

Gooseberry is a small shrub that is attractive in the landscape. They do well in a location that is partly sunny with some afternoon shade. Some varieties of gooseberry are thorny, but not all. They can grow quite dense and bushy, so prune your plants each winter to keep them in top form, help improve airflow, and maximize fruit production on the healthiest branches.

Gooseberry fruits are small and round. Many varieties produce green fruits and look somewhat like a cross between a grape and a blueberry. The taste is sweet-tart, and these unusual fruits are most commonly used for making jams and jellies.

Hardy Kiwi

Close-up of a branch of the Actinidia arguta plant in a shady garden. The plant has many attractive dark green heart-shaped leaves and small, oval, light green fruits with smooth skins.
Hardy Kiwi is a hardy plant that tolerates partial shade and produces small, sweet fruits.
Scientific Name: Actinidia arguta
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8
  • Chill Hours: 800
  • Height: 25-35 feet
  • Fruit Production: 3-5 years
  • When to Harvest: July-August, when fruits start to soften

The hardy kiwi is a fruiting vine that is tolerant of both cooler climates and partial shade, making it very accessible to many home gardeners. The hardy kiwi has similar looking, but considerably smaller fruits than the true kiwi, which is familiar from the produce section at your local grocery store.

This is a thick, woody vine that is fast growing and needs a sturdy support structure such as a trellis or fence. Prune it regularly to help keep it more compact.

Hardy kiwi requires both a male and female plant to set fruit, so you will need at least two plants. Grow your plants in close proximity to maximize cross-pollination. Within a few years, you should be able to harvest tasty clusters of little kiwi fruits!


Close-up of ripe red lingonberries among green foliage in a sunny garden. Lingonberry is an evergreen shrub that has erect branches covered with small ovoid leaves with a glossy surface. The berries are small, round, with bright red smooth skin.
Cowberry is a very attractive shrub that produces showy pinkish-white flowers and bright red berries with a tart flavor.
Scientific Name: Vaccinium vitis-idaea
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7
  • Chill Hours: 800
  • Height: 0.25-1 foot
  • Fruit Production: 2 years
  • When to Harvest: August-October

Lingonberries look a little like a cross between blueberries and cranberries. They grow on very small, woody, evergreen shrubs and have showy pinkish-white flowers that develop into bright red berries.

The flowers attract pollinators, and the berries will attract birds and other small wildlife. The berries have a tart flavor that is most appreciated in jams and jellies.

These plants grow well in cooler climates and are well adapted to a partially-shaded location. They spread over time by underground runners, so your single lingonberry plant will eventually become a small patch of lingonberries. Prune as necessary to keep plants well-spaced and improve airflow.

Lowbush Blueberry

Close-up of ripe blueberries on a lush bush in a sunny garden. The bush has simple lanceolate leaves, bright green in color with jagged edges. Numerous small plump, juicy, round blue-colored berries with a gray-white coat.
Blueberry is quite tolerant of some shade but quite picky about soil acidity.
Scientific Name: Vaccinium angustifolium
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-6
  • Chill Hours: 800-1000
  • Height: 0.5-2 feet
  • Fruit Production: 4-5 years
  • When to Harvest: July-August

There are many varieties of blueberries, but the lowbush blueberry is native to woodland habitats and is quite tolerant of some shade.

Lowbush blueberry bushes will stay relatively small, and because of their small size, won’t produce as many berries as a larger blueberry variety. Regardless of size, blueberry flowers attract bees and other pollinators, and the berries attract birds.

Grow blueberry plants in medium-moisture, well-drained soils. Blueberries are rather picky about soil acidity. Soil pH should be around 5.0 for best growth and fruit production. Blueberry plants also require some pruning to remove any dead branches, as well as those that are small, weak, or overly crowded.


Close-up of ripe fruits on a mulberry tree against the blue sky in the garden. The branches are covered with light green heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. The fruits are small, oblong, soft, juicy, dark purple and reddish purple in color.
Mulberry trees produce abundant dark purple berries that attract birds.
Scientific Name: Morus rubra
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
  • Chill Hours: 400
  • Height: 20-30 feet
  • Fruit Production: 3-5 years
  • When to Harvest: June-July

Mulberry trees are native to the central and eastern United States. Each summer, they provide an abundance of tasty – and messy – dark purplish-red berries. Berries can be eaten fresh, baked into a pie, frozen, or preserved as jellies and jams.

Mulberry trees can get rather large, although there are also dwarf varieties available. These trees will grow well in full sun, but also do very well in partial shade, still producing an abundant crop. Birds love the ripe fruits as well, so be prepared to share your harvest!

Muscadine Grape

Close-up of the ripening round fruits of Muscat grapes. The plant has large, dark green, alternate leaves with deeply serrated edges. Medium-sized, round fruits with smooth, taut, glossy plum-colored and light green skin as they ripen.
Muscadine Grape is quite tolerant of partial shade, producing large, globular fruits that are pale green, plum red or deep purple.
Scientific Name: Vitis rotundifolia
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7-9
  • Chill Hours: 100
  • Height: 15-20 feet
  • Fruit Production: 2-3 years
  • When to Harvest: August-September

Muscadine grapes are native to the southeastern United States and are well-adapted to the regional climate. These vines are often found growing up larger trees and are quite tolerant of some shade, although they also appreciate some exposure to bright sunlight each day. Be sure to provide your muscdines with a sturdy trellis or fence to grow on. The vines can grow long, thick, and heavy.

Muscadine grapes can be pale green, plum-red, or deep purple, depending on the variety. Fruits are large and spherical, sweet-tart, and each typically contains several large seeds. Many people enjoy eating the fruits fresh from the vine, although fruits are also frequently used for canning and preserving.


Close-up of a ripe papaya fruit among green foliage on a branch in a garden. The fruit looks like a cross between a banana and a mango, with a smooth green skin. The leaves are large, oval, with narrowed ends, bright green.
Pawpaw is a small tree that produces soft fruits with orange and sweet flesh.
Scientific Name: Asimina triloba
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9
  • Chill Hours: 400
  • Height: 15-25 feet
  • Fruit Production: 2-10 years
  • When to Harvest: October, when fruits soften

Pawpaw is an attractive smaller tree that is native to the eastern and southeastern United States. Pawpaw is typically found growing as an understory plant and is quite tolerant of shade. You will find, however, that plants grown in partial shade are more vigorous than those grown in full shade.

Pawpaw fruits look like a cross between a banana, pear, and mango. The pulp of the fruit is soft and fleshy, sweet, and contains a few large seeds. Pawpaw plants are not self-fertile and need at least one other genetically different pawpaw plant grown nearby in order to set fruit.

It takes these trees several years to reach fruiting maturity, but it’s well worth the wait. Fruits have a short shelf-life and are best eaten fresh, but they can also be frozen and used in smoothies.


Close-up of a ripe peach surrounded by green foliage. The fruit is large, soft, round, slightly furry with a pinkish-orange skin. The leaves are oval, oblong, with pointed ends, bright green.
Peach prefers full sun but can tolerate light partial shade.
Scientific Name: Prunus persica
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Chill Hours: 500-1000
  • Height: 15-25 feet
  • Fruit Production: 3-4 years
  • When to Harvest: July-August

If you love the sweet taste of a summer peach, you can grow your own. Peaches do best in full sun, but will tolerate some light shade. There are also peach trees of many sizes, from 8-toot-tall dwarf trees to full-sized 30-foot-tall trees.

Peach trees have very showy flowers that bloom each spring and attract a multitude of pollinators. While you are waiting for your fruits to ripen, you will have to protect them from hungry birds and small mammals that will want to do some nibbling.

Peach trees will require some regular maintenance, including pruning, spraying for pests and diseases, and fertilizing to keep the trees healthy and productive.

Plum ‘Satsuma’

Close-up of a branch of a Plum 'Satsuma' plant with ripening fruits. The branch is covered with small, lanceolate, dark green leaves and large, round, juicy fruits with smooth maroon skins.
This Japanese plum is a fruit tree that produces fragrant white flowers and sweet, juicy, purple-pink fruits.
Scientific Name: Prunus cerasifera
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-10
  • Chill Hours: 300
  • Height: 10-12 feet
  • Fruit Production: 2-5 years
  • When to Harvest: August

The Satsuma plum is a popular plum tree variety. This is an attractive smaller Japanese plum tree that grows well in many different climate zones. In early spring, your tree will be covered with fragrant white flowers that attract numerous pollinators.

In late summer, it produces an abundance of sweet, juicy plums. The fruits can be eaten fresh from the tree, and if your crop is too large to consume fresh, you can use them for jams and preserves.

Satsuma plum trees grow best in a location with full sun to partial shade. Trees are fast growing and can start to produce fruits in as little as 2 years.  You will, however, need another variety of Japanese plum for your trees to cross-pollinate and set fruits.


Close-up of a ripe pomegranate tree in a sunny garden. The tree is large, has many branches covered with small, oval, oblong, dark green leaves. Large, round fruits with a smooth, hard reddish-green skin, ripen on the tree.
Pomegranate is an exotic tree that produces large fruits with tough red skin.
Scientific Name: Punica granatum
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7-10
  • Chill Hours: 150-200
  • Height: 12-20 feet
  • Fruit Production: 2-3 years
  • When to Harvest: August-October

If you are looking for a fruit-producing tree that feels a bit more exotic, try growing a pomegranate. These fruits are fairly large with a tough red outer skin. Inside, you will find an abundance of small black seeds, each enclosed in a sweet red fruit. Pomegranates take a bit of effort to eat, but they are quite a treat for those who persist!

In the spring, pomegranate trees bloom with showy red flowers that attract hummingbirds and insect pollinators. During the summer, your tree will be busy producing tasty fruits. In the fall, the foliage turns an attractive yellow color.

Pomegranates prefer a location with full sun but will also tolerate partial shade. This tree would be a good choice for anyone looking for something a bit different.


Close-up of ripe raspberries in the garden. The berries are small, soft, juicy, rounded, with a velvety red-pink skin. The leaves are alternate, compound, with 3-5 leaflets with serrated edges.
Raspberry is a shrub that produces small, sweet, pink-red fruits that can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Scientific Name: Rubus idaeus
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Chill Hours: 250
  • Height: 4-6 feet
  • Fruit Production: 2 years
  • When to Harvest: Summer into fall, when fruits are easily picked

Raspberries are a familiar fruit that you can easily grow at home. Raspberry fruits are sweet, beautiful, and abundant.  In spring, the flowers attract pollinators, and the summer fruits will attract birds. Fruits can be picked and eaten straight from the plant. They can also be enjoyed frozen, baked, or preserved as jams and jellies.

Raspberries prefer full sun for the most abundant fruit production, but they will tolerate partial shade. You will need to do some annual maintenance with these plants.

Raspberries grow numerous stems, called canes, that can quickly grow into a dense thicket. These shrubs quickly produce fruit, faster than some of the other fruiting plants on this list. Prune your plants each winter while they are dormant to remove dead canes and thin the stems so they are easier to access for harvesting.

Final Thoughts

You don’t need full sun to grow your own fruit tree, but you will need some sun. You will also need to select plant varieties that will grow well in your climate zone, give your plants well-drained fertile soil, and you will need a bit of patience.

Many fruiting trees, shrubs, and vines are very ornamental landscape plants. They produce edible fruits that you can enjoy, and even attract wildlife. Select healthy plants, take the time to plant them in an ideal location, and you will soon be able to enjoy the delicious tastes of your own edible landscape.

A close up image of blueberries growing in direct sunlight. The fruits are blue, with some that are unripe and are green. Some are slightly pink as well and not ready to be picked.


Do Blueberry Shrubs Need Full Sun, Partial Shade or Full Shade?

Confused on how much sunlight your blueberry shrubs need to grow properly? Getting an adequate amount of sunlight is essential for the growth of any plant. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen examines how much sunlight blueberry shrubs need. You'll find out if they perform better in full sun, partial shade, or fully shaded garden areas.