Shade Tolerant Fruit Plants

Fruit trees generally require full sun and do best under those conditions.   There are a few exceptions, plants that either need some shade or are tolerant of shady conditions.   Plants that are just tolerant may grow nicely but will not be as productive.   Each plant below is briefly described.   Take a look at the Fruit Variety Comparison Chartor other resource links listed on our site for additional descriptive information about these plants.

Pawpaw – This is a forest understory tree, thriving in shade and part shade conditions. They will not be productive in deep shade though.   Occasionally a tree will be found in nearly full sun, but they do best in shady situations with good moisture.

Choke Cherry – A native that does fairly well in shady conditions.

Nanking Cherry – Will grow best in full sun but also grows well in some shade.

Elderberry - Grows in the shade and full sun.

Currants – Tolerant of shade but prefers some sunlight for maximum productivity.

Gooseberry – Tolerant of shade but prefers some sunlight for maximum productivity.

Hazelnut – They will grow nicely in full sun but are also tolerant of shade.   Productivity is best in full sun.

Highbush cranberry – Grows in full sun but is tolerant of some shade.

Plum - The native plum grows nicely in full sun but is also found growing in part shade.   Production is not as good in shady situation, but the plants will grow.

Blackberry – The wild blackberries will grow and produce fruit in some shade.

Raspberry – Prefers full sun, but can take some shade.

Cranberry – They can take some shade, but acidic soil conditions must also be met.

Strawberry – Full sun is the best for production, but some will grow nicely in some shade but production will not be as good.

Juneberry - They can tolerate some shade but prefer more sun for production.


There is another interesting aspect of shade tolerance and fruit trees.   Trees such as the pecan and persimmon are very tolerant of shade in the early years.   They start growing in the understory of the forest until they find strong sunlight.  They will produce only if they receive full sun.