Are any fruit trees ok to grow in the shade?

Say 4 to 5 hours of sun a day and the rest shade. I was told Pawpaw’s like shade. Is it true? And how much shade is too much?


Tart cherries will take quite a bit of shade. I have harvested cherries from a tree that was heavily shaded by large trees. It still produced fruit but the tree was leggy and trying to reach toward sunny areas. Apples will take a bit too. In shade disease pressure is going to be higher since the leaves dry slower. Also I would expect lower yields.

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I’ve got a seedling pawpaw, mostly shaded, that last year produced over 50 pounds of good tasting fruit. It’s set another heavy crop this year.


Lemons and limes do fine in shade. Much less fruit but for me that’s fine, it’s still way too much for one family.

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Hazelnuts do well in shade.

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I’ve read cornus mas (cornelian cherry) can do well

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I have a summer pear fruiting in shade. And I’m experimenting with lots of other trees as well. Plums, pluots, and apricots on a wild plum stand. Mulberries which fruited last year. Persimmons. Pawpaws. I’ve got lots of shady spots

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I have honeyberries, currants and Gooseberry in almost full shade. Blueberries will do ok in shade as in nature they are an understory shrub, you’re gonna get less fruit but less than what? Less than not having anything planted there. Pawpaws like mentioned will benefit when younger from the shade. Elderberries will do fine anywhere. Some Huckleberries will like the shade. I agree citrus but not in z6, so only mentioning things for your zone.

I would argue most things will survive and produce some in 5-6 hours of sunlight, some will tolerate it better than others. However, I would say any tree at reduced production is higher than zero trees/shrubs there. So plant what you want or are missing and if it doesn’t seem happy enough to justify keeping it, alter course.



Not a tree, but hardy kiwis do well trained on trunks of shading trees or inside of their crowns. So you can use empty vertical space.

Found this YT Vid last night.

He says that pawpaws tollerate shade well… and often hang out there for years as an understory tree (tollerating)… but then a canopy tree dies and the pawpaw suddenly gets the sunshine it longs for… grows much better, blossoms much better, becomes fruitfull, produces more and larger fruit.

They will grow and fruit in mostly shade conditions… but the fruit will be smallish. My daughter has several wild pawpaws at her place in mostly shade (down by the creek)… some are 20 ft tall and do have fruit… but the fruit is smallish and there is not a lot of it…

If yours is getting 4-5 hours of direct sun… that would be a lot more than her wilds are getting… and I would think that yours would fruit better.

I have several wild american persimmons growing on my place in the edge of the woods or roadside that get like 3 or 4 hours of direct sun and shade the rest of the day. Many of those trees are on the small side (8-12 ft tall)… but are producing 40-80 nice persimmons yearly.

They would do better in full sun… but do produce a decent crop in part sun.


Don’t get a sweet cherry. They will grow in shade, but unlike sour cherries, they don’t stay in shade. They will shoot upwards like a thin crazy poplar until they reach canopy at record speed. They do this in oak and beech forests - and in the walnut part of our orchard.

Full sun isn’t always full sun as well.

I agree that a lot of understory trees and bushes seem to do best with more shade when young and less when older. And with almost all of them, full fruit production only occurs in full or nearly-full sun.

That being said, the US is big enough that full sun means very different things in different regions. I’ve not been able to find good hard data at a granular level, but looks like the northern parts of the US are only receiving about 70% of potential direct solar radiation (since they are never directly in plane with the tangent of the incoming radiation due to the curvature of the earth). And that’s to say nothing about cloud cover and season length.

Heat complicates things even more. Some understory and forest margin plants can take lots of sun, but not sun and heat (raspberries…), while others can take part shade, but prefer it only if they get plenty of heat, needing full sun if they don’t get the heat they want (citrus).

Suffice it to say, tomatoes get hoop houses in New England, but shade cloth in Georgia.


Very well put and I can’t agree more. Debating using shade cloth for tomato’s here, anything to keep them healthier longer

I’m not using shade cloth, but that’s because I’m simply not growing any tomatoes this year. :wink:

I’ve seen multiple people using them now, and all have gotten great results. All in the South, of course. I’ve got plenty of other stuff on my plate that I don’t need to add tomatoes to the chore list, but once I start getting them again, I’ll try under shade cloth.

I will keep putting citrus mostly in full sun though, or nearly full sun. And of course figs and jujube get all the sun I can give. Eventually I’ll short the citrus over to part shade, but only once production is high enough I can live with reducing yields.

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Any luck with apricots, pawpaws and perssimmons?

What cultivars are you usinf?