Garden Problems? Might Be A Walnut Tree

By CoolGardenThings

Walnut tree
Photo by cizauskas
A few years ago I lived in an old victorian house in Ann Arbor, Michigan that had a handful of stately old 100 foot tall Walnut trees (juglans regia). I quickly discovered that there were a number of plants that simply died or started to die as soon as I planted them under that tree – petunias, peonies, roses, impatiens to name just an unfortunate few. I was beginning to think perhaps I was not as good a gardener as I thought myself to be.

After asking around a bit I discovered that walnut trees are considered a gardening challenge because there are a number of plants that simply can not survive under them. This is due to a poisonous substance that leaches from the walnut trees called juglone-I sure would not be eating any veggies or herbs grown near or under a walnut tree( I heard somewhere that it was an ingredient in rat poison many years ago…not sure if that is true or just some kind of urban legend). So if you have hanging plants under a giant and elegant tree that keep dying and you do not know why, try looking up to see if that tree is a walnut tree. If it is then that is one garden problem you can consider solved!Do not start crying! All is not lost if you have a giant walnut tree. They are a lovely addition to any garden and provide wonderful shade. Never mind the old wives tale to beware the shade of a walnut, because I myself can not think of a nicer place to spend a hot summer afternoon. Not to mention all the wonderful walnuts you can collect for whatever you use them for.

Here is a pretty thorough list of plants that I have had success growing under my walnut trees:

Annual plants that can grow under a walnut tree:
Morning Glory

Flower Bulbs:
Winter Aconite
Blue Scilla
Snow Drop

Perennial plants that can grow beneath a walnut tree:
Common Milkweed(Main stay in my garden!)
Many ferns, for example Japanese Painted Fern
Coral Bell
Day Lilly
Black Eyed Susan
Spider Wort
Dutchman’ Breeches
Bugle Weed
Jack in the Pulpit
Wild Geranium
Joe-Pye Weed
Creeping Phlox
Bee Balm

Shrubs that can grow beneath a walnut tree:
Oakleaf Hydrangea

This is perhaps not the longest list and I am positive that many more plants would or could do well; these are just the ones I have tried and had success with in the garden’s I take care of and my own garden. Good luck and hope that this will help you with any questions about what you can grow around your walnut trees!

Originally posted 2009-12-16 16:57:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

-- Weather When Posted --

  • Temperature: 25°F;
  • Humidity: 49%;
  • Heat Index: 25°F;
  • Wind Chill: 16°F;
  • Pressure: 30.42 in.;

Related posts:

  1. Tips on Making an Artificial Topiary Tree Tips on Making an Artificial Topiary Tree by Ivan Cuxeva...
  2. Great Ground Cover Suggestions For A Northern Garden new garden can be a little sparse sometimes as...
  3. The Right Plant in the Right Place I always hear people say they don’t have a green...
  4. Garden Tips: How to Grow Strawberries Strawberries are a wonderful and sometimes easy fruit to grow....
  5. Easy Butterfly Gardening: Three Tips for Success by: Doug Green Butterfly gardens require several things to...


  1. JP says:

    Fascinating – I had no idea. I know that we have Norway Maples in our yard which suck up all nutrients and water, leaving nothing behind for an underplanting, but excreting chemicals is just plain unfriendly. Thanks for all of the info!

  2. A friend just told me that if you rake up and remove the nuts when they come down the quality of the soil will improve! How about that?

  3. GartenGrl says:

    Thank you for your reply…I spend lots of time raking up very heavy bags of walnuts and buckeyes…that is truly a thankless chore:)

  4. GartenGrl says:

    Yeah…you can create a raised bed and back fill with compost, but do not bury the large roots or burry the base of the tree in dirt as this will kill the tree…

  5. your gardening tips are really easy to implement. thanks for that. hope I will have enough time to take care of my garden in the future.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv Enabled