The response to reduced light intensity of two contrasting cultivars Puma Sunny (shade intolerant) and Gongzi (shade tolerant) was characterized in terms of plant height, the root/shoot ratio, photosynthetic capacity, and the morphology and ultrastructure of their chloroplasts and phloem companion cells. The initial response to shading of cultivar Puma Sunny plants was to extend their stems, and while the equivalent response of cultivar Gongzi was less marked. Shading depressed the maximum relative electron transport rate (rETR) in both cultivars, and while the efficiency of light capture in cultivar Puma Sunny was compromised by shading, this was not the case for cultivar Gongzi. Low levels of incident light inhibited the formation of starch grains in the chloroplast and increased the volume of interspace between the grana lamellae. In cultivar Puma Sunny, but less so in cultivar Gongzi, the chloroplasts became more slender and the stroma lamellae more swollen. Adjusting chloroplast morphology by developing extra layers of grana lamellae and maintaining the integrity of the phloem companion cells are both adaptations which help make ‘Gongzi’ a more shade-tolerant cultivar.