The Black Walnut Society

If you have a Juglans nigra growing anywhere on your property, or if your neighbor’s J. nigra overhangs your property, I am pleased to welcome you to The Black Walnut Society!

As you know, the lovely Black Walnut tree releases a chemical called juglone, which is toxic to many plants.  If you’re like me, you’ve spent quite a bit of time seeking out lists on the internet that say which plants will or will not tolerate juglone.  Unfortunately, these lists are often contradictory, and they only include a fraction of the available plants out there on the market.  I have been gardening under several Black Walnut trees for quite awhile now, and I would like to share my own personal list of the plants that I have grown successfully under these beautiful trees.

Naturally this list is in no way comprehensive, but if you are an adventurous gardener and would like to try growing more than just a few plants near your Black Walnuts, perhaps it will give you some ideas.  I will keep adding to these lists as I experiment with new plants!  And I invite you to please tell me which plants YOU have been successful with under your Black Walnuts.  Be sure to include your growing zone or location!

Plants Growing Right at the Base of Mary’s Black Walnut Trees:

Acer japonicum ‘Butterfly’ — I bought a very tiny specimen and planted it right in the middle of the lawn.  Perhaps it was too exposed but it didn’t survive the winter 😦

Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’  I am still grieving for this one.  Bought it last summer, watered it diligently…it didn’t survive the winter, and this winter was mild.  I am not sure why Japanese maples won’t grow in my backyard, but it breaks my heart.

Buxus spp. — I have many varieties — they all thrive!

Callicarpa americanathrives!

Epimedium spp.– thrives! Love this plant.
EuonymusManhattan‘ — thrives! but susceptible to Euonymus leaf notcher insect
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs. Robb’s Spurge), thrives  I moved most of these elsewhere; occasionally one still pops up under the walnut

Hellebores – thrives
Hosta spp. — most do very well, the gold ones don’t do as well as the green/blue cultivars

Polygonatum biflorum ‘Variegatum’ – thriving and spreading steadily

Plants Growing Beneath a Black Walnut Dripline:

Allium spp.
Aesculus parviflora– thrives!  I adore this guy!

Anemone japonica —thrives & spreads

Aruncus dioicus (Goatsbeard)  might have survived with more moisture
Asimina triloba (Pawpaw) — thriving!
Astilbe spp.– too soon to say, I keep moving it around. Update: seem to do okay if it’s in a moist area.

Athyrium naponicum (Japanese Painted Fern) – thrives

Begonia grandis — planted late fall 2016 & thought they were toast but they came back strong!

Camellia — I remain determined to grow Camellia, despite earlier losses.  Stay tuned.  Update: Having luck with some Camellia japonica: they started as small specimens but are growing slowly.  I also have a few C. sasanquas but they seem to struggle.

Carex flaccosperma — thriving; in moist areas, it is spreading like crazy

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Spurge) — thrives!
Carpinus caroliniana —  so far, so good.  Mine doesn’t get v. good fall color, though.  Update: as of spring 2020 this small tree is thriving & the fall color is improving as it grows.

Cercis canandensis  — doing well at two years in.  Update: the original plant was a tiny whip.  About 4 years later (5?) it’s about 10 feet tall and wide and flowered beautifully this spring for the first time.

Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Scarlet Storm’planted in spring 2017 — did not do well this summer, will watch; March 2018 – top looks dead but coming back at the roots Update: total goner.

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’ – pretty good; but mine might be just outside the BW root zone

Cotoneaster salicifolius ‘Repens’ (Willowleaf Cotoneaster) — does just fine Update: I eventually pulled these out and replaced with boxwood.  They didn’t die, but they looked straggly and I did not find them attractive after a few years.  

Deutzia gracilis ‘Chardonnay Pearls’  declined rapidly perhaps from lack of moisture?

Digitalis mertonensis (Strawberry Foxglove) — great first year, but petered out after; I think that’s normal for a foxglove. Can use as annual

Dryopteris marginalis (Leatherwood fern) — does well

Echinacea purpurea — thrives and seeds around.  But if it gets too much shade it is leggy and needs staking and the purple color is not as vibrant.

Eleutherococcus sieboldianus ‘Variegatus’ (Variegated Aralia) — thrives!  The arching habit on this shrub is a double-edged sword.  It can look kind of elegant, but it roots where it touches the ground, in addition to sending up suckers.  The suckers are often plain green and not as graceful.  All of this, plus the thorns, make this shrub a mixed bag.
Euonymus americanus (Hearts a Burstin’)– thriving

Fargesia rufa ‘Green Panda’ (Green Panda Clumping Bamboo) — thrives!

Forsythia spp.  I have several of these and I appreciate the cheerful yellow flowers in spring but the rest of the year, meh.

Fothergilla major ‘Blue Shadow’ – very bummed that this died; might have been too dry

Heuchera americana ‘Dale’s Strain’ — doing great even in dry soil

Heuchera ‘Caramel’died quickly, probably from frost heave, or it got too dry

Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ — thrives where soil is moist

Gladiolus spp.  These looked great the first couple of summer but now they seem to have stopped flowering.

Ilex opaca ‘Greenleaf’ (American Holly)   tragic — all three I planted died within 2 years.  Too dry and cold?  Soil not acid enough?

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry Holly) — doing great in a spot just outside the dripline

Imperata cylindrica (Japanese Bloodgrass)pretty good

Iris germanica — does very well if there’s enough sun

Itea virginicanot good.  Planted 3 of these 2 years ago and they are slowly dying back. They were in a dry spot, though.   Very sad.

Hemerocallis (Daylily)  — I have a few different cultivars that vary from excellent to pretty good.  The wild orange one definitely thrives.

Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon) – wild ones pop up from seed; one day I might try one of the nice cultivated ones like ‘Bluebird’

Lindera benzoin (Spicebush) — volunteer; thriving

Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay Magnolia) — not thriving, but hanging in there.  Update Spring 2020: still doing pretty well; it’s a little rangy because it gets quite a bit of shade, but it’s healthy enough, I think.

Malus spp. (Ornamental Crabapple)  — the one planted in my yard declined from lack of sun, I believe.  It was planted long ago when there was likely more sun.
Miscanthus sinsensis ‘Dixieland’ fizzled out within a couple years, but I’ve heard these variegated grasses do that

Narcissus spp.  Excellent!  I have several varieties: ‘Tete a Tete’, ‘February Gold’, ‘Mallee’ plus a few unknown ones…they all flower well if they get enough sun.
Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ — My dog might have peed on it too much.
Packera aurea — thrives and spreads, perhaps even too much  Update: BEWARE!  This plant is taking over my yard!!!

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) — thrives!  BUT, it seeds around quite a bit and the seedlings tend to get powdery mildew, at least for me.  Butterflies love these flowers, though, so they are wonderful from July-Sept.

Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’ — one died, other 3 okay so far.  Watching these. Update winter 2018: oh no!  A second one died!  Update: a third died back a lot but is coming up from the roots.  The fourth (and final) one is thriving.  Weird!!

Rohdea japonica (Sacred Lily) — thrives

Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis (Sweetbox) — so-so. Better in moister areas.  Update: this is spreading more and looking better as the years go by.  Patience is in order.
Sedum — thrives where it gets enough sun.  I have ‘Autumn Joy’ and a smaller unknown cultivar, maybe ‘Neon’?

Sedum ternatumdoes pretty well; it’s cute; not very dense but mine planted in heavy shade

Solidago flexicaulis (Zigzag goldenrod) — thrives.  This guy is literally at the foot of my BW.  Update: it’s seeding around a lot.  Not a problem yet but will watch.

Spigilia marilandica  (Indian Pink)new in spring 2017, did great first year — high hopes!  Update spring 2020 — this plant seemed to disappear the next year, then returned in 2019.  Definitely not spreading or vigorous.

Stylophorum diphyllum  — thriving; this plant pops up all over but in a cute way

Symphorocarpus — not sure which species I have, but it does well.  Update: not thrilled with the weird spidery branches this shrub puts out at ground level as a way of spreading.

Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae) ‘Yellow Ribbon’ — doing great
Tradescantia virginiana (Spiderwort) — thrives

Tricyrtis hirsa (Toad lily) — thrives. Update: another quick spreader.  Gotta watch it.

Tsuga canadensis (Canadian Hemlock) not thriving, just surviving; soil not acid enough?  Update: both of the hemlocks did so poorly that I took them out.  However, there was an established hemlock already on the property and that one continues to do well.  It’s about 25′ tall.
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Pink Dawn’ died within a year

Viburnum x juddiidoing okay; just moved it right under drip line and will watch; seems susceptible to pests Update spring 2020: I think it’s dead 😦

Viburnum nudumnot thriving, just surviving (The virburnums are breaking my heart)

Plants that have died under the dripline: Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’, Aucuba serratifolia, Pieris ‘Mountain Fire’

259 thoughts on “The Black Walnut Society

  1. The large black walnut in the far corner of my yard has shown no effect, good or bad, on a sweep of variegated pachysandra, Pathenocissus quinqefolia on twenty feet of chain link, dwarf spruce, arborvitae, Joe-Pye weed, and Penissetum ‘Hameln.’ Daylilies don’t mind either.

      • Hi Mary, Any idea if a showy lady’s slipper might survive just outside of the drip line? What about canna lilies?

        • I have two native Lady Slipper plants thriving directly under my large black walnut (they are within 4 ft of the trunk). They are not the showing pink Lady Slippers, but the yellow & burgundy (I am in Minnesota)

      • I have Fargesia ‘Green Panda’ growing happily right under one of my black walnuts. That is a clumping bamboo. I have a feeling the juglone wouldn’t even make a running bamboo blink.

      • I have bamboo growing just beyond the dripline of a black walnut. It sends shoots out everywhere, and I’ve seen them flourishing under the tree and even right next to it.

      • As to the bamboo… I don’t know what variety we have as it was there when we got there, but it spreads in either direction without discernible hesitation going toward and under the several mature black walnuts in addition to going the other way… away from them. It seems indifferent to the trees!

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  3. I’ve found that Itea (‘Little Henry’ Sweetspire) seem to do fine. It’s not been 10 years but I’m witnessing it working as we speak (on the dripline…. farther is better).

  4. Thank you for your trial of plants around and under black walnuts! My garden of veggies and flowers is surrounded by these trees! I have ringed the bases with stella deoras (sp.?) and longafollia hostas, both doing fine. In the garden my day lilies,iris,cone flowers,beans,broccoli,carrots,radish,cabbage,kolrobi,sqush,gords,watermellon,zinia, and onions all do well. There are 2 old walnut stumps in the garden area besides the ones surruonding it. I now have 6 raised beds in the garden of cukes,lettuce,asparagas,herbs,peppers,eggplant, and cone flowers all doing well. Have rhubarb over one of the stumps.
    When I filled the beds, I used composted leaves and of course included walnut leaves. So far the eggplant is ok. The tomatoes, of course, don’t do well. They have a garden to themselves at the end of my wild weed flower garden.
    Would love to harvest the very mature walnut trees, but husband says no and want him more than garden- so far!
    Question-how long does the juglone stay in the soil?

    • Trina, thanks so much for adding your plant list to my Black Walnut page! I am honestly surprised you are having success with so many vegetables in the vicinity of these trees. That is great though! Your question about how long julone stays in the soil is a good one, and I have to say I have no idea. I would imagine that once a tree is cut down and is no longer conducting photosynthesis it would not be able to produce any more juglone and that the dying roots just sort of shrivel and die out. This is the opinion of a liberal arts major, mind you, so take with many grains of salt.

      • I have 12 BW in my yard plus the big ones in each of my neighbors yards. II have read in several places that the ground is toxic to susceptible plants for about 5 years after they are cut down. From a biology point of view, it will take a couple of years for the roots to actually die. There is a lot of stored up food in the roots of a mature tree and many trees will send up sprouts for a couple of years after being cut. The juglone that is produced from the roots of the cut tree will also take some time after the roots die to leave the soil. I hope this helps answer your question.

      • I too have read that the juglone stays in the soil about five years. I’ve heard you need to count on 5 – 7 depending on whether you have the correct type of bacteria to help digest it. As Ellen says, the roots remain alive and try to push up “water sprouts” at first, and remember how hard black walnut is which is one reason the wood is considered so special; it takes a Long time for the roots, once truly dead, to rot! University sources say juglone doesn’t move in the soil in response to water very well so it doesn’t get washed out or down either… nor does it degrade chemically very well so it primarily has to be digested by the bacteria or taken up in other plants that are resistant. Some resist but don’t take it up and some resist and yet do take it up – goumi berry (invasive but edible) and mulberry are two that are supposed to take it up and help provide a barrier between the black walnut and other, more susceptible plants. Darn. I ran off to see if I could find the careful notes I took on this so I could supply the name of the type of bacteria but I can’t find them right now. I’d sure like a source for starter for it if it’s available for sale as I’d like to make sure it’s plentiful in my soil. If anyone discovers what and where it’s sold please share!

    • I have had good success growing vegetables under the drip line of several trees: cherry tomatoes do well as do ground cherries. Okra, beans, lettuce. I’ve not had success with zucchini, squash or veggies that grow on creeping vines such as these.

  5. Mary — I have ten acres of Black Walnut trees, which have grown up over the twenty years we have lived here. My husband and I have left this wild, for the birds and “critters”: lots of golden rod, pines, grasses of all sorts, and Russian Olives (invasive) seem to thrive. We also have one acre of English gardens (cottage flowers), and an extensive vegetable garden, down hill from all those BW’s. We have two “yard” BW’s which my husband will not let me touch. I have my strawberry and asparagus beds (raised) directly under one, and both are doing fine. Also peas and leeks seem to do well. Apple trees (duh!) have died, and apricots as well. I’m hoping to landscape native and edible shrubs in a large patch smack dab between (and under) these two, and really appreciate all the info given here. Oh, in researching the whole question of toxicity, I’ve come across many articles that say the juglone poison persists for years after the trees are cut down…

    • Apricots seem to be excessively vulnerable to juglone. It might be a coincidence, but of the five apricots of different varieties I had in an area separated from black walnuts (and raised) the two that I pulled a young black walnut sprout from the immediate area right under went into serious decline and the one where there was no shell still attached when I pulled it out, died. I tried and tried to find the shell so I probably also did some root damage, but I still feel suspicious it was the shell remaining in there somewhere underground by the roots that killed it – and neither tree had looked the slightest bit stressed before the nuts fell and sprouted, and neither tree showed the slightest sign of pests on the leaves or tiny holes in the trunk – nothing… but those darned spouts from a nut that got blow or carried in…

  6. Thanks for a great and informative site. Alas some ‘real’ information from fellow gardeners. So much on the internet to discern through concerning ‘Juglone tolerance’.
    I planted 21 ilex close to the drip of 5 HUGE walnuts today. 3 boys and 18 girls. Most people referance the shade… not if they are grown on the north side. I have lots of south facing sun on these trees which allows me to plant ‘in front of them’. I realize that my ilex can be grown in shade, but I also have what is called a ‘Mill Race’. It occasionally floods and becomes what it was intended for. I call it my double jeapordy area. WATER AND WALNUTS! I’ve also planted Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ here and Molinia ‘Skyracer’. En masse. Plan on planting lots of Solidago ‘Fireworks’ too.
    I have some design experience and wanted something different!!!
    Thank you for the heads up on the Fargesia… did not know it was tolerant either! This entertains my thought in planting some ‘Sasa Vetchii’ as a groundcover. This would be OUTSTANDING beneath my Ilex:)

    • Wow, you’ve got some serious walnuts! What kind of ilex did you plant? I’ve got 4 opacas growing under my walnuts and they’re pretty happy, shade and all. I love your idea of planting the Cornus and Molinia en masse….bet that’s gooooorgeous.

      • I planted ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’ and their companion male ‘Jim Dandy’. As you know they are deciduous and commonly referred to as Winterberry holly. ‘Red Sprite’ grows to just 3-5′. “Stooling” or the pruning of the cornus will keep it in bounds and produce spectacular color on new stems.
        Yes, I am excited to see what it looks like with the first snow. Oooooh, did I say SNOW? Eeeeek, something to look forward too:)

    • Old Mill Perennials; How long have your cornus Midwinter Fire been there and are they still tolerating it? Are they right under the drip line or out a ways? I’m very interested in if kousa dogwoods and other edible fruit cornus types which all hail from Asia… China or Japan… will survive walnut exposure. Most sources say dogwood is resistant but if they give the Latin names they generally specify the American dogwoods and yours is from Western Asia and Europe if I’m not mistaken so will not have evolved with the influence of the black walnuts. I find the same problem with other plants with a native American variety – they specify the American variety and no one provides Any information on the European or Asian ones… for example persimmons. So often, those are the ones that Taste good, but would be pretty expensive to knock off one by one while experimenting!

      • I’ve got a cornus sericea ‘Silver and Gold’ just at the dripline of a black walnut and it has been thriving for about 5 years. I transplanted a section of it to RIGHT at the base of the BW this summer and it is still alive.

        I planted two tiny cornus floridas in my yard and they died within the year. I had a cornus alternifolia which looked great for a couple of years but died after some construction done nearby.

        • Thank you… That does expand the list of American type dogwoods that are known to grow “under the influence”. I am probably going to give in to temptation (generally Do!) and Try one of the edible fruit Chinese type dogwoods near a black walnut (heck I have 50 acres and there just about is No place that’s Not near one… they have been self seeding lo these many years). I will let you know what happens, for good or evil. Same for the Oriental Persimmon…

  7. We bought this house 2 years ago. We have almost an acre and love to garden. What a shock to find we have these awful trees to deal with having never heard of this before. Why would people want to create such an environmental impact when there are so many wonderful trees to chose from? This year we had to have a 30 to 40 ft. blue spruce cut down, every year it had less green branches. Last year the university extension service thought the tree needed water. Now my guess is how close it was to the walnut tree, I just pray that our blue spruce on our property line does not suffer the same fate. I am trying to be positive but I could just cry. The only thing good is the wisteria growing up into the walnut tree right in front of the house. Funny thing is that is the only walnut on our land the back fence has five self seeded trees growing on the
    other side and the side property line all down our 300 ft. drive has mature walnuts. It seems like we just have to rely on the help of sites like yours to find the encouragement we need to build a beautiful garden without a lot of plants we have loved. Coming from California to Michigan was already enough of a challenge, now this!

    • Hi Janice- I wanted to reply to your comment because, in Kansas, I have so many clients who consistently lose Blue Spruce trees. Blue spruce (many but not all varieties) are picky about water (want just enough not too much- 1″ every 7-10 days) and soil. I’d use a gater bag (look it up!) if you aren’t already, to deliver the correct amount of water to the root zone only. As well, if your soil is compactable clay soil, be advised that spruces just don’t like it! While there are lots of nutrients therein, they are hard to access. Fertilize in the spring (an evergreen or acid fertilizer like Espoma Holly Tone) and add compost to the soil around the tree- this breaks up the clay soil (assuming this is what you have. If not, ignore me!). Also keep in mind that encroaching tree canopy (from whatever source) will cause a lot less light, therefore less growth, etc. in your spruce. If your needles start to turn pink= usually too much water. If your tree is weakened and suddenly starts to lose needles, look at aphids and spider mites. They attack spruce heavily and love an already compromised victim…. Hope your tree makes it!

      • I have had 2 different yards with blue spruce trees. Over the years they all begain to die from the bottom up. One of the yards did have BW trees but the other only had one and the spruces were a far distance. I believe and have heard from another source that Blue Spruces are susceptical to some disease and the the older they get the more vulnerable they are. My choice would be to avoid planting these trees in favor of another more long lived evergreen.

  8. Janice….
    Did the extension check for bag worms on the tree? They can be a huge problem on blue spruce. They will exfoliate the needles. Some years they are worse than others.
    Also… as for the environmental factor…. squirels will surely take those nuts and bury them everywhere! And once a seedling walnut emerges, it is very hard to get rid of. It simply cannot be cut off, they resprout. The walnut has a very long taproot.

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  10. I have a 5 foot and a 3 foot dbh black walnut growing in the yard. I live in the Hudson Valley of NY. The larger BW has about a 120 foot crown, so you can see there is room for a great diversity of plants. Daffodil, scylla, snowdrop, winter aconite, bleeding heart, Canada mayflower, angelica, wild strawberry, garlic mustard, sugar maple, american elm, eastern juniper, redbud and white pine grow fine. Native yellow jewelweed (touch-me-not) is quite robust. The grass sod is usually thin and susceptible to being torn by mowing or foot traffic, although the grass is nice and green. Earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) are abundant, which could contribute to this effect. I have seen the earthworms reduce a huge pile of BW leaves to crumbly soil in a year’s time. Moles come into the yard periodically but tend to tunnel in the areas not under the BW trees. There is one plant I can say does not tolerate the black walnuts: rhododendron languishes and dies.
    I’m a biologist. I would like to find an easy way to test for juglone in soil. Judging by its chemical structure, it looks suspiciously durable. But I have no idea. Perhaps a simple test could be to try raising fast-growing seedlings of known susceptibilty in soil where juglone is suspected. A good test for compostability of juglone might be to get a bunch of BW leaves in a mesh bag and leave in the compost pile for a year–then use a seedling test for residual toxicity. Perhaps try to allow earthworms into the mesh bags, since they might harbor bacteria that successfuly degrade juglone.

    • Thanks so much for this post, Tim. I do love to hear what other people grow under BWs, and if you learn something useful with the juglone experiment, please do let me know! You are right about Rhodies languishing in the presence of juglone….mountain laurel, I hear, is also a goner with BWS.

      • Mary,
        My pleasure! I will definitely let you know what I find out, with regards to composting juglone. You know, it’s interesting that I have two white pines under the walnuts and these are listed everyhere I’ve seen as sensitive. It may be that certain factors can ameliorate juglone toxicity. I have neutral pH soil (calcareous) and not particularly well-drained. I can’t think of exactly how this would affect the toxicity, however–except that most biological processes are sensitive to pH. Also, the white pines are close to a large grove of other white pines, from which they could derive some support through root grafting (common in white pine) and/or a shared mycorrhizal fungal network.

        There are also just a few autumn blooming crocuses under the BWs, which I see others have had trouble growing. Go figure! Best of luck with the growing season.


  11. I have a butternut (white walnut?) but some kind of worm destroys all the nuts. Is there some kind of trap I can buy? Or some other solution other than spraying a chemical? The tree is huge, so big it straddles two yards, so I can’t pick the nuts, but need to wait for them to fall.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  12. zone 6/7 southern new york (mainland)
    some volunteers doing very well amongst the walnuts…
    viola sororia (common violet)
    Polygonum virginianum (Virginia knot weed)
    Geum canadense (white avens)

    Parthenocissus quinquefolia (virginia creeper)
    Menispermum canadense (common moon seed)
    have planted some bare root sambucus (elderberry). seems to be holding on.

    i like to encourage native volunteers – trying to keep the dreaded garlic mustard at bay. For this reason i tend to like more “assertive” plants.

    and…. i AM juglone tolerant!

  13. Thank you so much for this! I have a ginormous (scientific term for “about 30-40 foot tall”) black walnut in the corner of my very small yard, and just last year it finally managed to kill off a lovely dogwood tree in its dripline. I am in zone 6, and I’ve had good luck with Asiatic lilies, blackberries, and raspberries, as well as the daffodils and Rose of Sharon mentioned above (though my Rose of Sharon has remained very small, about 4 feet tall at best).

      • We have a beautiful thriving dogwood (cornus florida) under a black walnut. From everything I’ve read, any species of dogwood should be compatible with black walnut. However, dogwood trees only live to be about 20 or 30 years old and are susceptible to various fungal diseases. So, I would suspect some other culprit for killing the dogwood.

        • Thanks for the comment. I have also read that walnut and dogwood are compatible. One other culprit with a struggling dogwood might be improper soil. I believe that most dogwoods enjoy slightly acidic soil. I’ve planted many acid loving plants (camellias, pieris, etc.) in my backyard that have slowly died, and I’ve come to the conclusion my soil is to blame rather than my walnut trees, though it could be a combination of both.

      • I have a dogwood that is doing well real close to walnut trees, and amongst all the walnut debris. Also have thriving lilacs right by a walnut tree (this in response to the post about lilacs). So take heart! I am wondering about lavender. Anybody know? Of course, lavender seems to be the one plant that I kill with regularity, anyway, so if it dies, I won’t just automatically blame it on the BWs! Someone said absolute full sun, sandy and draining soil, keep it on the dry side, and just neglect the heck out of it! Is that ya’ll’s experience?

        • That sounds about right to me for the lavender. Mine always looks great at first but then declines…probably because of my clay soil and humidity though. I grow catmint instead now.

          Thanks for posting!

  14. I have not read all comments regarding the type of dogwood being discussed. My lists say no to forbid anonymous, silky dogwood

  15. Sorry to say I think an incomplete email went out when I dropped my phone. As I missed what the actual dogwood is being discussed I will only ask has anyone planted Dogwood -Venus. I just returned from the nursery and am anxious to add this lovely tree to my grounds but it would be an expensive mistake if it did not live. Thanks for your comments. Janice

    • Oh, those Venus dogwoods are gorgeous. I believe they are a hybrid between three different species, so I am unsure about their juglone tolerance. I had thought that all Cornus were juglone tolerant. I had not read that about silky dogwood.

  16. Thanks for the support group.
    My garden is outside the drip line of a giant black walnut, but still very much impacted by the root system and squirrels burying the nuts in my beds. I live in zone 6b and get a range of sun exposure.

    Plants I have had luck with:
    spider wort
    holly hock
    seedum (ground cover and upright)
    cone flower
    bleeding heart

    Plants I had to dig out:
    hydrangea (climbing and oak leaf)
    coral bells (both orange leaf and dark purple)

    I put in some new “experiments” this spring that I am interested to see if anyone else has had good luck with:
    balloon astra
    shasta daisy


    • Thanks so much for these lists, Rachel! I, too, have had to dig out some of the plants you mention. The most heart-breaking was the oak leaf hydrangea, possibly my favorite shrub. I tried it twice.

      I have also struggled with heucheras, although I have some H. villosa that are thriving — I have both the cultivar ‘Autumn Bride’ which is glorious, and I’ve also just planted several straight H. villosa species.

      I recently planted hellebores right at the base of one of my BW’s and they are thriving!

      Also I have been meaning to mention pn my blog that last year I planted a bottlebrush buckeye under the BW drip line and it has tripled in size in one year. I love it!

    • Hi Rachel,

      Just wondering if anyone has tried planting a Carolina Jessamine ‘Margarita’ vine near a black walnut… have scoured the Internet and haven’t found a hint in either direction.



      • Hi Bridget,

        Sorry, I haven’t seen anything about Carolina jessamine either. My motto when it comes to planting under black walnuts is “when in doubt, try it out” — unless it’s a really expensive plant!

  17. wow!!! what a wealth of information!!! we live in the north georgia mountains, and we have at least 8 hahahaha *ginormous* black walnuts that form a beautiful canopy of shade in the backyard, and a small one in the front. honeysuckle, wild roses, violets, grapes, and blackberries all seem to be doing fine in the shade under and around the trees…..and of course the grass (i have no idea what kind….just the wild stuff that mother nature planted) grows like crazy!!! we have 3 apple trees on the opposite side of yard not near the BW and a small apple (think i threw a core out there years ago!! 😀 ) growing under a canopy of old….50+? oaks……
    we recently tilled up a section of land south and uphill of the closest BW, planted watermelon, cantaloupe, beets, squash, onions, lettuce, spinach, peas, beans, and corn…..everything is growing like crazy!!! the neighbor who helped us till up the land told us we had *good dirt*
    i had already *started* a garden in pots…..tomatoes and peppers mostly…..then i read that BW was not conducive to their health, so i guess i did that right without even knowing it!!! thanks for all the info!!!!

  18. Hi there!

    From what I’ve read, there’s a difference between what can grow directly under a black walnut and what can grow near but away from the drip line. For me, there are other complications so it’s uncertain whether the problem is juglone or water competition when things die near the dripline. I have a flowering dogwood and a Norway maple growing near the black walnut, all near the top of a slope. The maple in particular sucks a lot of water, so plants on top of the slope have a harder time. I lost a winterberry two years ago after planting just along the black walnut dripline, but it was also planted near the top of the slope. It died almost immediately but the two winterberries planted lower on the slope are thriving two years later. I think it may have been the heat and lack of water that killed it. Honestly, not many plants do extremely well near the base or under the dripline of any tree on our property, except for the undesirable invasives such as Japanese honeysuckle, multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet, and Japanese Stilt Grass. Virginia creeper, poison ivy, Bearded Iris and peonies also seem to survive anywhere.

    Aster should do fine near a black walnut. Mine is thriving about 15 feet from the black walnut trunk. Also, I have native gooseberry growing happily near the aster. As you said, bleeding heart does fine, I have mayapple, Ostrich Fern, clethra, daphne and some European Consort Currant. Two of the four currants died and one of the three Ostrich ferns, but they were planted at the very top of the slope. The two currants that died were very close to the dogwood. Foamflower does fine near the black walnut, but not as well near the Norway maple. Native and European geranium, all kinds of phlox, Jacob’s Ladder, gray, red and yellow twig dogwood, smartweed, jack-in-the-pulpit, Maple Leaf Viburnum, Running Serviceberry, native honeysuckle, pokeweed, trumpet vine, any kind of native cherry tree, sassafras, hornbeam, hop hornbeam, tulip tree, red maple, mulberry, black or red elderberry, daffodils, wild violets/pansies, poison ivy and other kinds of rhus species including fragrant sumac and low gro fragrant sumac, native black raspberry, Dutchman’s pipe vine, strawberries, rue, Thai basil, Maypop, aspen, ash, partridgeberry, Montauk daisy, fig trees, redbud, and black cohosh, wild grape vine, are all growing happily near my black walnut tree. All kinds of wild sedge and blue-eyed grass, Virginia rose, red oak, pin oak, spicebush, black chokeberry, witch hazel and Japanese maple are all very happy near the black walnut. Japanese pachysandra is too happy near the black walnut, so I’m going to have to start ripping it out. All the invasives I mentioned before, Japanese Stilt Grass, multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle, oriental bittersweet and Garlic Mustard, are also too annoyingly happy.

    I planted ligularia and cardinal flower under the black walnut today. According to online lists they are supposed to do fine so we’ll see.

    From what I’ve read, almost anything in the honeysuckle family (and you’d be surprised how many plants are in this family), the buttercup family, the native euonymus family, and the sumac family can survive near black walnuts. Nothing in the rhododendron family can, and this includes rhodies, azaleas, blueberries, lingonberries, cranberries, wintergreen, heaths and heathers, bog rosemary, Japanese andromeda and bearberry.

    I’ve also read that plants in the mulberry family, which includes fig, can create a buffer around the black walnut root system reducing the effects of juglone. Their roots fix nitrogen in the soil. So, I planted a small non-native mulberry to see what would happen. A native red mulberry would grow too large for the space. It’s happy, but I’m hoping in the long run it will help the Southern highbush blueberry shrubs planted 15 feet away continue to thrive.

    • Bridget,

      Thanks so much for this thoughtful and comprehensive account of your experiences with BW! I am especially encouraged to see that daphne has been successful for you, since that is something I have always wanted to plant.


      • Daphne shrubs smell heavenly!! They also stand up to direct morning sun pretty well. I have two varieties of clethra planted in the same general area and it’s taken them much longer to establish.

  19. Just had to dig out a Lady’s Mantle after two years of it not doing much. It wasn’t growing and was starting to get crispy. I’m thinking it was the black walnut, but maybe the spot was too sunny.

    My garden is in Rhode Island and I am out side the drip line of a very gigantic black walnut.


  20. So interesting to read everyone else’s experiences living with BW trees. Under my BW, winterberry holly is not making it at all – only a few leaves, no berries, on the few that are still limping along after 5 years. The arborvitae and hosta are beautiful. Never thought I’d love arborvitae until I saw how happy, green and ethereal it is under my BW. Viburnum under dripline of neighbor’s BW are flourishing. Maple tree and mulberry tree are happy and healthy. When we moved here yellow archangel lamiastrum and ligularia flourished, but in re-landscaping back yard both are now gone. Also under the BW, lilac survives, but is in too much shade to bloom. Daylilies bloom in the same spot. What has died over the years: apple tree, white pine, blue spruce, oak leaf hydrangea.

    Has anyone had success with either pinxterbloom or exbury azaleas? (Both are deciduous.) All 3 of my juglone-tolerant lists included these, but comments here indicate no rhodo/azaleas will tolerate juglone. Husband wants azaleas, but now I don’t know, after reading comments here. Also, how about fringe tree? It is also on my list of juglone-tolerant plants (and on my wish-list), but an arboretum site notes that it is highly intolerant of juglone!

    Gardening here in zone 7, Baltimore area. Thanks for all the tips!


    • I’ve read that Exbury azaleas are supposed to be juglone-tolerant also. Maybe you can get one on sale after Easter next spring and try it out?

      I have three silky dogwood planted about 50 feet from my black walnut in a wooded lot surrounded by other nut trees – various hickories – and they are happy as can be. One dogwood species that did not do well on my property was Tartarian Dogwood (Cornus alba) – the Eurasian red and yellow twig. They were about 25 feet from the walnut tree but I think it was the early July heatwave that killed them last year. The slope on one side of the walnut has a southern exposure and I think the morning sun was too much for the dogwoods’ variegated leaves and I’d planted them on a slope in soil that probably drained too well for their taste. This was before I knew enough to make sure what garden centers claim is native is actually native!

  21. Thanks for a site with a wealth of information! I live in Minnesota zone 4B with a large, old Black Walnut in the back garden. I have had success with these plants, which have lived under the tree for ten years or more: Virignia Bluebells, Yellow Lady Slipper, Dicentra (pink and also the white variety), Japanese Painted Fern, Jack in the Pulpit, Hosta and Trillium. These are all at the base of the tree, within 5 feet of the trunk. I also have a lilac growing directly under the walnut, and it bloomed for the first time this year (planted it about 12 years ago). Also surviving, but not thriving (I think due to the dryness of the site) are Astilbe and Cimicifuga. I am also successfully growing black raspberries under the tree (near the dripline).
    I appreciate all the information on this site! I was wondering if spicebush would grow, and it appears that it will be very happy under the tree.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Spicebush should be just fine. As you probably already know, it’s related to the sassafras tree and sassafras grow like weeds all over my property — including near the black walnuts. I have two spicebush growing on level ground below the slope where my mature Black Walnut is and they are absolutely fine. I bought them as tiny little plants from ForestFarm three years ago and one thing about them is they don’t grow nearly as fast as sassafras trees. Sigh. Very slow, in fact. Less than six cubic inches a year. I think it may take years before I even know what sex they are. I’m hoping growth rate will speed up with time!

    • Lisa…I’m curious about the Spicebush. If you planted it, how is if faring? Thanks!
      I would also like to add that I have 3 Edgeworthia, Snow Cream at the edge of a very mature BW which are doing very respectable at 5 yrs. Although not as large as the one away from the BW, I’m quite pleased with their growth.

    • Hi

      We are in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) and have 9 large White Pines in our back garden along with one Black Walnut. The White Pines are all over 100 years old while the Black Walnut is young, say 10 to 12 cm in trunk diameter (4 to 5 inches). At this point all look quite healthy. The Black Walnut is about 10 metres (30 feet) away from the closest White Pine.

      We are trying to decide whether to remove the BW but I hate to do so since it is a lovely tree. Any thoughts on this?



      ps I will be moving my rhodos!

  22. How do climbing roses do? I’m just outside of the drip line (it’s in my neighbour’s garden) and my roses are showing trouble the closer to the fence they are. I lived with BWs inthe backyard for years, and when I moved, I thought I’d got rid of the problem – but then ,my neighbour planted one! Will the roses live?

    • Sheila, I am experimenting myself with roses so I don’t have a solid answer. I have climbing roses growing a little outside the drip line and they are only so-so, but certainly not dead. But it may also be that the soil there is quite dry. I can’t believe your neighbor planted a black walnut!

      • Hello Mary,
        I just found this post/blog about Black Walnut’s issues. And I have been mourning lately for my garden. This is 2021 and I am just wondering whether the climbing roses are doing well? How about Hydrangea (Macrophilla/Original Hydrangea)? Any luck? thank you so much for replying my question.

  23. Hi Sue,

    You might want to consult a master arborist on this one. It may take a number of years before the black walnut begins to affect the nearest white pines, but in the meantime, the black walnut may still be small enough to move! Ask also about the overall health of your pines to see what the odds are that they will live as long as it takes for the black walnut to have its effect. If the pines are in decline anyway, you may not need to do anything about the BW.

    Good luck!

  24. Sue,

    Another thought is you might try to plant some red mulberry trees around the black walnut.

    Apparently, mulberry trees form a buffer between black walnut juglone and other plants in the area. See the following for more details. I’ll also attach the link to the forum where I found it. There are many other helpful links and great information included in the various responses.

    Taken from

    Reply by Ezekiel Handsome-Lake on March 22, 2010 at 9:58am
    In my experience Mulberry does phenominally next to black walnut, both red (native) and white (chinese) thrive and fruit normally as close as can be to a black walnut. Also, my reading leads me to believe that Mulberry will create a buffer in to soil inhibiting juglone from passing to plants on the other side of a Mulberry root zone my observations in the field support this. Also, most alleopathic plants are concerned with disabling competition (hence the lack of grass under black walnuts because they are both surface feeders.) Therefore, many plants, such as smallfruits, should not be affected by alleopathic chemicals produced by trees.
    The guild in Gaia’s Garden was designed in AZ and therefore there is a difference in the character of their hackberry. Hacks in the SW USA are a shrub or small tree, whereas in the Midwest they almost always attain the height of a large tree (Hackberry seeds are an excellent late season sugar source for humans and wildlife.) Because of their larger size in the North (and the fact that they are also alleopaths,) they made compete pretty vigorously with a co-planted walnut.
    As far as nightshade, i’ve heard peppers work fine but tomatoes i’ve heard both sides, some say they work some say they don’t.
    Black Locust is a good native nitrogen fixer, is very hardy and attracts a million bees, a guild which centered a black walnut with a Black Locust (coppicable, and good fuel wood,) nurse and a circle of mulberry (mulberry can be pruned heavily to shape or keep low,) could probably grow quite a wider range of food than a Walnut with no buffer.

  25. Has anyone had success planting Winterberry, Bayberry, or Serviceberry under Black Walnut trees? I’ve seen conflicting information on Winterberry and Serviceberry and nothing on Bayberry.

    • Hi Tom,

      I grow Winterberries just outside the dripline of a black walnut and they thrive. Unfortunately I don’t have personal experience with the other two; I too have seen conflicting info on the serviceberries.

      Best of luck, Mary

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  27. I moved my yellow Lady Slippers to an area underneath my Black Walnuts. I didn’t know about Juglone at the time. They turned black by the end of summer. I was thinking of trying to move them again and see if they come back. Beautiful plant to lose, I nearly cried, was my mother’s.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that the lady slippers died! I hate to lose a plant that has a family connection like that. I have been growing yellow lady slippers under my black walnut for about five years with success. There may have been some other reason, besides the tree.

      • Great point, Lisa. I tend to blame all of my backyard casualties on my black walnut trees, but there are so many ways a plant can die, aren’t there? So glad the lady slippers have been a success for you!

  28. Every Black Walnut companion list seems to have the same few plants listed for friend and foe. None of which are the plants I need to know about. Will edible herbs grow near the trees. Basil, oregano, cilantro, chives, rosemary, thyme, mint, chamomile, lavander, etc?

    • Sorry, Cathy. I grow nearly all my herbs in containers, so I don’t have any first hand knowledge. At least herbs are a relatively small investment so you could certainly experiment…

    • Hi Cathy,
      I have had luck with lots of herbs. Oregano, mint (including other members of the mint family such as lemon balm and bee balm), chives, garlic, sage, and lavender. My basil always seems to get eaten by bugs before I know if it will thrive.

    • Hi Cathy, I have grown most of those herbs (haven’t tried camomile or lavender) both under & away from BW. They grew under the BW, althought not as strong as the garden away from the BW.

  29. Thank you, Mary for doing this research, and to everyone who has posted here. It is so helpful! I have a black walnut right at the edge of a garden and I love it! I wasn’t aware of the toxicity until pretty recently and wondered why some flowers just wouldn’t surive. Now, I can plan better. There is an azalea and a hydrangea which have been there since before I bought this house, almost 20 years ago and they have always been fine. There are also daylilies, blackberries, asclepias, foxglove and hibiscus which are thriving.

    • Jodi, thank you for your input! I am wondering…what kind of hydrangea do you have planted under your BW? A macrophylla? I ask because I have twice tried oak leaf hydrangea with no success. I am also surprised to hear about the thriving azalea, since azalea are on most lists of juglone sensitive plants. The more people I talk to who have black walnuts, the more I am convinced that the overall conditions play just as great a role as the juglone…soil moisture, pH, etc., and maybe sometimes it is enough to overcome the negative effects of the juglone?

      • Sorry about that! It is a macrophylla. It actually grows around the tree, completely circling it. It is as though it is defying fate and laughing at it! I planted the foxglove and asclepias just a couple of years ago, but every other plant I mentioned has been there for at least 20 years. There must be something coming into play to counteract the juglone’s effects.

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  31. May I ramble a bit? I have a terrible tummy bug and don’t dare move much today, so for some odd reason I decided to check if there might be a list of plants that would do well under what I think is a Black Walnut in my yard. And guess what? I found you! I moved into this house 4 years ago in August. I know I’m just renting, but I told my landlord that I had a habit of planting things, and he said that was fine! Oh, Happy Day!!! 🙂 So this is my third Spring here. (I’m in Western Montana by the way) One of the first things I did when my lads and I moved in was to plant a handful of Vinca (the perennial one with pretty periwinkle flowers) that my mum gave me, under that odd but beautiful looking tree in the front yard. Because of the way my brain is wired I’m a try-it-and-see type gardener. (well, I do just about everything that way) So I had noticed that directly under this lovely but odd looking tree, there was no grass growing even though the yard extends up under it. The soil underneath was very dry and powdery and had a funny feeling in my fingers, even when watered. (Kinda reminded me of the soil under my mum’s Blue Spruce) I figured this was probably due to the fact that the people who’d been here before didn’t water much (The house had been empty for 4 months, too.) It seemed though, that the funny powdery feel of the soil had to be something more, maybe this interesting tree released something in it’s leaves or stems that made the soil acid or something. It seemed to shed alot of 8 or 9 inch smooth twigs that looked like where the leaves had been attached (we’re very dry here in August and this tree really hadn’t been watered much that summer, so it also didn’t look very happy. So figuring that Vinca grew quite contentedly under my mum’s big old Maple also here in Missoula, maybe it’d at least grow under this tree and cover that bare spot. Next Spring the brave little buggers surprised me by spreading all over into the bare dirt under the tree. They don’t seem to compete with the grass, just grow like crazy wherever there no grass! Tree seemed a bit happier, but didn’t seem to produce any nuts, so I thought maybe I was wrong in my identification. Watered the tree as much as I could that year, it did look really neglected, and if I was right that it was Black Walnut, it really shouldn’t be growing here. I’d looked them up and they need way more moisture than we have. But….. Oh, there is also a damaged section where two branches are cracked part way through, so they dangle down, but they continue to put out leaves and last Summer there were nuts! I thought about asking my landlord to have these branches removed, but I like the way they dangle down, they make a little secret arbour like place and I hang pots of petunias and bird feeders and water dishes there. I didn’t get any nuts because the *&!@#* squirrels stole them all, but I may be able to outsmart them this year. 🙂 Last Summer the tree really began to look happy, like it was cared for, healthier foliage and, like I said, nuts, but then it was attacked in early Summer by hordes of nasty little green veggipires. (Aphids) I began to worry. I am a Gardener-on-a-tight-budget, so there was nothing much I could do but water the poor bugger. A few weeks later one of my boys found these funny little fuzzyish, greyish, orangeish scary looking bugs on a lot of the leaves and wanted to know if he should squish them or try to knock them off with the hose. “NO!” I said, “Those are good bugs!” he said, “Mom! There’s so many of them! And they’re creepy looking!” I said, “I know, but to me they are beautiful, they are baby hunter bugs and they will save our tree!” “WHAT?” my child was incredulous, “They’re creepy looking!” Yep, baby ladybugs are kinda creepy looking. 🙂 in a few more weeks, the leaves stopped being sticky and dripping and there wasn’t a veggipire to be found. So this Spring, the Vinca is just about to come into full flower and is growing like crazy, extending into the backyard bare spot (The tree is next to the fence that separates the two) (Border Collie Dodger’s favorite place to lay in the Summer is in that bare dirt under the Black Walnut.) There’s a few odd spots on some of the older Vinca, looks almost like powdery mildew or something and a few leaves dying and droppping off, I neglected to rake the leaves and twigs off of it last Autumn, so maybe that’s it, but my mum’s under her Maple which has been happy for 15 years is doing the same thing and looks worse than mine. Guess we’ll see what happens… As for composting the debris, I also have 2 Norway Maples and by the time I’m ready to rake those leaves up, the Walnut leaves have pretty much decomposed into the lawn leaving nothing but the twigs. I just chuck it all in, but my compost pile is pretty young and pretty casual. (I don’t do it right, I pile everything up in a corner and let it stew. I hardly ever turn it, I do layer kitchen scraps with the leaves but mostly so the neighbors don’t object:) Then, after the veggie garden is done, but before I rake this years crop of leaves, I haul it all down to the veggie garden and till it all in.) I like my tree, I like to lay in the grass underneath it in Spring and Summer and look at the pretty swirls of leaves layer on layer into the sky. Some plants, like some people, need special consideration and don’t get on with everybody, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth cultivating, either as plant friends or human friends. 🙂 I’d thought about trying hostas (never had much use for them, but I’m beginning to see they have merit especially in shady spots) and now I plan to get some for the fence between my neighbor’s yard and mine (also under the tree, it sits in a corner of the front yard) Thanks!!

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Eileen! The leaf stems that fall from the BW drive me a little crazy, since it takes them so long to break down. I usually leave most of them on the ground until early spring, when I finally rake them up and compost them. But you’re right, the leaflets themselves are small and break down really easily.

      I actually have quite a bit of grass (and weeds) growing under my BWs so I think at least some kinds of grass are juglone tolerant. Perhaps your bare spots were just from lack of water, which I imagine is common in western Montana? Glad to hear the vinca is doing well. I have hostas growing happily all over the place under my BWs. They need some moisture to get started, but once established they are quite drought tolerant.

      Happy gardening!

  32. I live in central mn and have black walnut trees i love them but all the grass is dying around them what grass seed would work it gets nice sun and water.

  33. Having fun with my yard of BWs and clay soil.
    Heard lilacs don’t do well but my Korean Dwarf lilac is doing reasonably well. About 3.5 feet tall but I’m okay with that. Shasta daisies do great as well.
    Plants that are struggling: peonies unknown type, daffodils (ice follies and King Alfred–neither which are flowering), tulips (mixed bag) and Bearded Iris. The huechera died within a season.
    Thought astilbe did well but haven’t had success–one reason may be giant squirrel hoard of walnuts planted in the middle of them.
    Read that Siberian Iris and Darwin Tulips do well with BWs so thinking of digging up and replacing those this fall. What do you think?

    I really want a rose garden though. Anyone tried roses on here? I heard hybrid musk roses might work. I have a miniature Toy Clown that is surviving well.

    • Becca, thanks for sharing your experience. I have bearded iris and daffodils thriving under my black walnut canopy, and peony doing well just out of the drip line. It just goes to show I think that other factors play into juglone tolerance.

      I’ve lost a couple of the newer heucheras but I have Heuchera ‘Autumn Bride’ and ‘Dale’s Strain’ thriving. None of my astilbes have done well.

      I have one rose ‘The Fairy’ doing well. I just lost a climbing rose ‘Golden Showers’ but again I don’t know if that is because of our brutal winter this year or because I didn’t pamper it enough or if it’s the juglone. I do have a ‘Therese Bugnet’ rose that is tough as nails growing in my side yard, but that is clear of the BW trees.

  34. I live in in northern indiana – zone 5b. I have several black walnut trees in part of our yard. I have killed clethra, and oakleaf hydrangea by planting too near the trees. I was thinking about moving a couple of fothergilla gardenii to that area. Does anyone have any experience with them near a black walnut tree.

    • I had two Fothergilla ‘Blue Shadow’ growing under the canopy. They did well for two years, but then I had some construction work done in that area and the men trod all over them. They died, but I don’t think it was from my BW.

  35. My Black Walnut story:
    I have a 30 year old black walnut in the centre of my front yard in Ajax Ontario (zone 5 sometimes 6). It was planted from a nut the day my daughter was born from a tree in my in-laws yard. For the first 20 years it was mainly grass with a few plants along the house. In the last 10 years I have created gardens and have experimented with a variety of perennials under the tree and right at the dripline. 2 older peonies and a older delphinium have continued to thrive but the eunoymus, mountain laurel and lilacs died as the tree grew. I now have the following doing well:
    Poppies- oriental and iceland
    Iris- many varieties
    Astilbe (small but surviving)
    Heucheras (doing very well despite previous posts)
    Day lily
    Hardy geraniums
    Jacobs Ladder
    Obediant plant
    Columbine (which is on just about all no-no lists)
    Balloon flower
    Russian Sage

    Achillea, foxglove, daffodils, tulips heucherella, japanes maple continue to struggle

  36. I haven’t read through all the wonderful comments, so this may be repetitious – dwarf goat’s beard seems to thrive underneath my walnut tree. I have it in various locations throughout my yard and this year it is spectacular. Must have been that 20 day span of 20 below zero days and nights hree in Minnesota!

  37. Last fall we bought a beautiful specimen Fireglow Japanese maple to highlight the front of the house and checked that is was ok to plant near the black walnut. Now it is very dead. We thought it was due to the really hard Michigan winter. There was a previous site comment about a struggling Japanese maple. None of the toxicity lists I have include Acer palmatum. Are we safe to try again or is this not a good choice?

    • Hi Janice,

      I would bet it died from your brutal winter and not the black walnut. That said, I planted a weeping Japanese maple that died; it was expensive so I am not willing to plant another one and take the risk. However, everything I’ve read says that Japanese maples are totally fine with the BWs.

      • Hi Mary,
        Japanese Maples seem to thrive in my New Jersey neighborhood. We all (pretty much everyone on the block) have seedlings/saplings from a couple of parent trees in the neighborhood, and we also planted a small weeping JM in our front yard a couple years ago. It is thriving. I think moisture is key. That and soil quality. Maples on our property seem to site themselves where they can get a lot of rain runoff. They like moist, rich soil.

  38. Thanks Mary,
    I hear you, at least I have the nursery replacement coverage. What is the experience of other BW readers? I would really like to try again but within reason, too much money at risk.

    • I have officially declared my Japanese Maple dead. It struggled for 2 years but just would not leaf out this spring. It may have been a combination of the black walnut and the really hard winter here in Southern Ontario

  39. I would blame the winter, not the black walnut. I have Japanese Maple seedlings growing all over my property like weeds, and mostly on the black walnut side of the yard.

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  41. I love my black walnuts even though they are the gardener’s problem child. I have a very large black walnut in my front yard. I’m getting ready to take a chance on some oak leaf hydrangeas within it’s dripline.

    I have a small stand of young black walnuts surrounding my garden shed. A few years ago I planted ONE celandine poppy ( and it is absolutely thriving. It has spread far beyond the original plant with little to no attention from me.


  42. Yes, I also have green pachysandra growing under my yew hedge row, which is immediately under black walnut trees. Hedge has been there for 30 years or so. Pachysandra has been growing under the hedge for last 3 or 4 years and is multiplying. Also second hosta and daylilies. Purple coneflower (echinacea) although it does tend to try to creep away a little each year as it goes to seed. Also pinky-peach monarda or bee balm grows within the drip line. Heuchera. Enjoy your site.

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  44. So happy to have found your site! I live in southwestern Ontario and am surrounded by 90′ BW on the north and west side. I’ve been here 27 years and have learned (sometimes the hard way) what will and will not tolerate them. I’ve had no problem with the native yellow lady slippers a mere 5′ from the base of one BW. I’ve been searching for shrubs for the woodland garden right next to the BW and of course on the north side almost complete shade. That garden is predominantly solomons seal, ferns, hosta, heuchera (some do well, some don’t), lily of the valley, creeping campanula, brunerra, hemlock, jack-in-the-pulpit, daylily in the bit of sunlight, japanese and siberian iris, viola, bleeding heart, most bulbs, lilac, wild grape, black mondo grass (really thrives), ornamental grasses such as miscanthus varieties, bleeding heart, cimicifuga, virginia creeper, wisteria, japanese lilac (huge and has been there under a BW for 20+ years), sumac. Some of these plants are further up the yard where there is lots of sun but still next to the BW’s.

    My question is…does anyone know if Enkianthus Showy Lanterns might grow near BW’s???? Any help would be greatly appreciated since I cannot find this shrub on any of the lists.

    It’s nice to know that others struggle with this issue, but there are lots of things we can grow!

    • Thatnks for sharing that great list, Randa! Is Enkianthus an ericacious plant? If so, like the azaleas and rhododendrons, it might not be happy with a BW. As I have said here before, though, every yard can have completely different soil chemistry which is why lists are not always that helpful. I am always for experimenting, as long as it doesn’t break the bank. Good luck!

      • Wow! I’d never heard that term: “ericacious plant”!! Delighted to learn something new right off! Since Black Walnut is also acid loving, and it’s castings should be acidic (like oak for instance), do you suppose that perhaps it’s something in the acidity of the soil required by the acid loving family or something in their Love of the acid soil that means they take up more juglone in taking up the acid soil nutrients? Veeerry interesting. The list I got when I googled “ericacious plant” truly Is just about all ones listed here and elsewhere as not tolerating juglone.

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  46. I have so many English walnuts around my property. I was wondering if saffron crocus is tolerant? What about celery, parsley and cilantro? Fennel?

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  48. Pingback: Gardening Near Black Walnut | 8 Point Farm

  49. I needed some shade trees and planted Black Walnuts around my 1/4 acre yard. Then someone told me about juglone. I was wondering about the wisdom of planting wax beans, spinach, mustard greens and peas near the trees. Any thoughts?

    • I am not sure about the sensitivity of those vegetables. Maybe try planting them in a raised bed so they are a bit removed from the roots of the trees? I grow all my vegetables in containers so I don’t have experience with walnuts & vegetables sharing the same soil. I know tomatoes are not supposed to grow with walnuts…

      Sent from my iPad


    • we have eight black walnuts in our backyard and i did the same thing, never even thought about it until a local told me the BW would give me troubles…..this is going to be our third year having a big garden and i will tell you corn, beans, peas, carrots, kale, radishes all did fine…..i’ve been told that potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cabbages don’t like BW…..hope this helps…..

  50. Hi Mary- I planted 2 Andromeda (Piers (?) Japonica about 15 feet from my Black Walnut last Spring. The leaves are browning and falling off and there are no flower buds. They were regularly watered when new. Do you know if this plant is susceptible to Juglone poisoning? Thank you!

    • Sadly, I believe ericaceous plants tend to be susceptible. I lost a Pieris ‘Mountain Fire’ that looked great for a year, but then started dying back, branch by branch. If the leaves on yours are brownish all over, it might just be winter burn, though. Wait and see what happens!

      Sent from my iPad


  51. I live in NC and have an enormous black walnut. Underneath I have successfully grown for several years these plants: euonymous, boxwood, liriope, ground cover type variegated vinca, tiger lilies, creeping jenny, crocus and daffodils.

  52. Wow! What a wealth of information. It’s always surprising to me to find out how few of the folks at our local nurseries have any real knowledge of BW and juglone toxicity…but who think they know it all!! Thanks, everyone, for sharing your experiences. Does anyone know whether ilex crenata (Japanese Pencil Holly) is tolerant? I have just the spot!

  53. okay…..i didn’t go through all the comments (again) so forgive me if this is a repeat….i was lucky enough to find artichoke seeds at my local DIY center and they are happily sprouting in my little peat pot greenhouse….question is will they play nice with my black walnuts or do they need to make time with the tomatoes and the peppers?? hahaha….sigh, why can’t all the kids get along??!!

  54. Admiring the commitment you put into your website and detailed information you present.
    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Great read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  55. Does anyone know if the following will grow near a Black Walnut: Honeyberry, Kiwi, perennial sweet pea, Mahonia (Oregon grape), painted daisies, Fuchsia, candy tuft

  56. I wish I had read this string 3 weeks ago before I planted a bare-root apple tree 20′ from my 10′ tall BW tree! Now I may have to relocate the apple tree. Ironically we were trying to decide between apple and cherry trees and this knowledge would have changed our decision!

    Anyway, I have freshly planted hops rhizomes (humulus lupulus) in the back about 30′ from my other BW tree, and have spent the last 2 hours searching for information regarding hops to little avail. Has anyone experienced any results good or bad with hops? The trees are still small but worried about what happens in the future as the hops get old enough to start producing enough cones for brewing.


  57. I am thinking of planting a Black Cat Pussy Willow (Salix chaenomeloides) in a space under my Black Walnut. I know pussy willows prefer moist soil and full sun, but I don’t want it to grow to it’s full height, and I’m thinking that it might be just right if slowed down by some less than ideal conditions. But, I don’t want to kill it! Anyone out there tried pussy willow?

  58. Wow thanks all for your info! I’m in Montreal Quebec and have leased some land with loads of black walnut trees, about 30 years old and younger. All the posts have given me plenty of veggie, fruit and perennial tips but I have a few slightly off topic questions. I have been told that black walnut bedding shavings can be extremely harmful to horses hoofs. I plan to winter my sheep in a paddock under drip lines of 3 mature black walnuts and close to many BW stumps. Does anyone know if this could cause problems to the sheep? Also many BW were cut down but the stumps left. They have all happily produced new shoots and have been growing well for 3years. I’m looking for an organically approved way to kill the stumps, I don’t have the money to have all these stumps (16) physically removed right now. Any tips?

  59. We have a spectacular ‘trumpet vine’ that grows 100′ in the air up our black walnut.
    Spectacular! Actually we have several black walnuts and several trumpet vines reaching those heights. The hummingbirds really love them. Nearby a new domesticated trumpet vine is really attractive; I will be picking some seed pods and hoping to improve the bloom quality.

    The trees and vines are apparently symbiotic, as they have been together for years now.

  60. I live in Minnesota and have a beautiful and awful Black Walnut tree in my back yard. This tree is too much work for a senior citizen. Now it is dripping a sticky substance all over, I can’t enjoy being outside because of it.The sticky stuff is on my cars, lawn furniture, my flowers, hosta plants and other plants are covered with it, my house is covered with it. Can anyone tell me why after eleven years of living here and this has never happened before, what is going on with this tree and how long will it do this during a summer. I am about to cut it down.

  61. well, this is the third year garden….and once again i am having no problem with corn, peas, beans, pattypan squash, carrots, radishes and kale playing nice with the black walnut….my spinach gave me the raspberry, but could’ve been due to old seed….brussels are sprouting (no pun intended) and so far are doing okay just beyond the dripline… and just an FYI….four o’clocks may be annuals….but boy do they reseed!!! i had collected all (or so i thought) the seeds from the four o’clocks last year….and go figure, the ones i planted didn’t come up…..we tilled both gardens three times before planting…oh and btw, the artichokes died 😦 ….and after the third till….the lower half of my back 40 garden was COVERED with four o’clock sprouts!!!! well, if nothing else, i’ll have pretty flowers!!!!

  62. Have quite a few walnut trees. Never knew saw a lot of plants come and go who knew. Thanks for the new knowledge. Still struggling just planted hydrangea mistake and columbine should of read first. How about bulbs tulips etc.

    • I have a dawn redwood near a huge black walnut… there is likely some root overlap given the size… but it isn’t quite under the drip line. Many of my own black walnuts seem to be more upright and have less spreading canopy due to trying to stay above other trees nearby (this one is in the open however). I suspect my roots generally go Way beyond the tips of the longest Outward branches, in other words. My dawn redwood is going fine in it’s fourth year. My blue cypress however, and I’d have to check the tag (have avoided the poor skeletal remains for the last year out of shame) died with a slow inexorable march of brown and yellow moving up and inward over two years. I really suspect the black walnut as I was babying the daylights out of this thing.

  63. Happy to find this website. I have a clump of 3, 20+ foot walnuts at rear of backyard and want to plant a shade tolerant hedge behind the walnuts. What tall hedge plants have people had success with? Hedge has to be shade tolerant, tolerate heavy clay soils, and be BW tolerant and grow to about 12 feet. I’m having trouble finding something that will work. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • I have both Manhattan Euonymus and Wax privet growing as tall hedges near my walnuts. The euonymus seems to grow more densely in the shade, especially if you prune it regularly.

      Sent from my iPad


  64. Hi, I am in the process of planting wild grapes, Niagara & Muscadine. I’m hoping you can verify for sure if they can grow beside Walnut Trees. Thanks for the help! Unfortunately no other place to plant.

    • I have wild grapes under my black walnut and they made tons this year, but these are the truly wild ones; tiny fingernail sized almost blackish ones. They were not planted and grew up on their own into some native dogwoods, well within the root zone of a clump of three medium sized (a foot across) black walnuts. My own cultured grapes aren’t near bl. walnut so I can only provide info on the Wild grapes.

  65. Pingback: My experience with Black Walnut tolerant edible plants | Serendipity Bluems

  66. Saw coneflowers on someone’s list. None have ever survived under the dripline of my black walnuts. They thrive elsewhere in my yard — on the other side of the house. I also have “Little Lime” hydrangeas thriving about 5-10 feet inside the drip line (very old, very large walnut trees.)

    • Yes… the only way I’ve gotten rid of Japanese Knotweed (where I Have been able to) is to pull it over and over until the roots give up after a few Years. Horrid stuff. If you have Japanese Beetles they love the stuff, too, so they’ll breed in/on it like crazy.

  67. i live i Ohio and tulip and daffodils continue to bloom after 25 years. Cone flowers and blackeyed susans are vibrant for a couple of years then they look sad. I just transplant more from the front yard. Hostas don’t flourish or die. Day lilies have to be fertilized. These t!!rees are a smelly mess I wish I could neuter them

  68. Has anyone had luck growing these plants under black walnut trees: (1) Nellie R. Stevens holly, or any holly varieties other than American hollies (ilex opaca), (2) “Skip” or Schipka laurels, or (3) cherry laurels (Otto Luykens)? We have several very large old BW trees at the back of our yard and would like to put in some evergreens as a backdrop to deciduous shrubs and perennials. It’s most and shady – probably not great conditions for junipers or arborvitae, and canadian hemlocks don’t do well around here.

    • Kim,

      I have had great luck so far with Skip Laurels under my black walnuts. I planted three a year ago last March and they are doing great. I planted another one directly at the base of a bw about 6 weeks ago and it is doing well so far! I think if they were going to suffer ill effects from the juglone it would have manifested by now. I tried a few Otto Luykens several years ago and they all declined rapidly.

      I also have arborvitaes growing pretty well, but my soil tends to be on the drier side. I have tried several American hollies and to my anguish they all slowly died within two years. I also tried one blue holly, which died also, but I think that was because I transplanted it too early in the year from a pot where I’d kept it since Christmas. I have deciduous hollies that are doing great, though.

      Hope this helps!


    • Matthew, mine died. But again, it could very well be that my soil was not acidic enough, not necessarily the fault of the black walnuts. The specimen I planted was very tiny and vulnerable. Other sources say that cornus florida grows with juglans nigra.

    • Kerstin,

      I have not attempted cannas in the regular soil; I grow them in pots sometimes and they do well there. I do have 3 Virginia Sweetspire planted under a BW dripline and they are not doing well. They are not completely dead but are suffering from some dieback that makes them look less than stellar. Hope this helps.

  69. My husband and I live on 4 forested acres, and all but 7 trees were black walnut when we moved in 4 years ago. We also have heavy clay soil (think pottery clay almost), with rocks in some areas large enough to use as decorative rocks, and we’re on a stone ledge. Plus the entire lot is sloped (as in we can’t mow the lawn ourselves because we fall over). So, I have my work cut out for me as a gardener. I refuse to let one tree species win out over gardening, so I’ve been experimenting and pushing boundaries in my beds as I go along killing grass. (half of our property is just woods, the other half was seeded with grass seed by the previous owners)

    Here is my list of plants I’ve seen grow well in zone 5, clay/rocky soil, under the drip line of all of our black walnuts: hostas, honeysuckle (which was there when we moved in…I am killing them because they are invasive where we live), elderberry, Aquilegia Canadensis (that’s the only one that hasn’t died under them- all the other Aquilegias don’t grow), daylilies, climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’, Magnolia ‘Ann’, Fringetree, Astilbe chinensis (I found the other kind don’t do well), Polygonatum, Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Phlox (the tall garden phlox), Geranium sanguineum (but no other varieties or species- those all died), Sugar Maple, Red Oak, Yellowwood, Dawn Redwood ‘Gold Rush’, European Beech (a couple different varieties), Ironwood, black cherry, Norway Maple, fir (any and all), Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ and ‘Alaska’, Belamcanda, Helleborus, Pulmonaria, tulips, daffodils, crocuses, Siberian squill, glory-of-the-snow, checkered fritillaria, Ranunculus, Ostrich Fern, Wild Ginger, Sweet Woodruff, Veronica ‘Waterperry Blue’, Salvia ‘Caradonna’ (but all other Salvias died), Allium (any and all), Serviceberry, Dicentra (all varieties), Ninebark, American Elm (that one was a volunteer that seeded itself), lilium (all of mine do great except the Martagon), Little Bluestem, Miscanthus ‘Graziella’, Indian Grass ‘Blue Soiux’, Corydalis, Siberian Iris, shooting star, Colorado blue spruce- globe and ‘Fat Albert’, gladiolus, zinnia, cosmos, cleome, helenium, cup plant, hollyhock, dogwood (any and all), Virginia bluebells, witchhazel, azalea (but definitely not rhododendron!), Jacob’s ladder, Actaea (otherwise known to some as Cimicifuga), hepatica, claytonia, native Echinacea, lobelia, rodgersia, boston ivy, clematis, rose of Sharon, oriental poppies and juniper.

    Plants that definitely don’t grow around black walnut: crabapple, roses, peonies, Jupiter’s beard, hydrangea paniculata, mugo pine, peashrub (Caragana), Nepeta, Calamintha, and fothergilla.

  70. Thanks for your list! We moved to a property with many beautiful black walnuts a few years ago and are struggling to find things that will thrive along with them. Not gardening is simply not an option!

      • I’ve been trying to deal with the effects of juglone from a large black walnut tree for 15 years – learned about it when I tried to grow a tomato plant and ended up with one mutant 🍅. It is very frustrating to find the same plant on one list as tolerant, yet on another list as susceptible to juglone. I had my heart set on an Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry tree, but I won’t risk it.

        I’ve read that the soil near black walnut trees tends to be alkaline and that juglone can affect plants as far as 100 feet from the trunk. I’ve come to believe that new hybrids of plants on the “tolerant” lists may not be tolerant. Sometimes plants seem fine but don’t really thrive for a couple years before they die. I tend to assume it’s the impact of juglone when plants behave strangely. Sometimes a little more sun seems to make a difference.

        In my experience, the landscape design and nursery people greatly underestimate the power of juglone.

        • I totally understand your frustration, Susan. The worst is when you think a plant is going to be fine, but then watch it slowly decline over a few years as you describe. That has happened to more of my plants than I care to think about. And I think you’re also right about other factors, like sun, making a difference. The juglone issue definitely seems more complicated than just will/ will not tolerate juglone.

  71. I have yet to find a site that indicates if jasmine is juglone tolerant. Do any of your fine folks have experience with jasmine?

  72. I see American Beautyberry thrives, but what about Japanese Beautyberry? Also, any experience with Viburnum dentatum? My successes have been mainly with foxglove, some hostas, Lady in red fern, cinnamon fern, autumn brilliance fern (but NOT ostrich fern), eastern red cedar, curly willow (tree), and pussy willow.

    • I have not tried Japanese Beautyberry. I did try a V. dentatum but it died. Thank you for your recommendations, especially the Lady in Red fern, that is one that I would love to try and knowing you’ve had success makes me more confident in planting it.

  73. Does anyone know if I can grow lavender in a yard that has black walnuts in it? Know they need lots of sun and air so not looking to plant under the trees just near them.

    • I had some French lavender about 20 yards from a BW. It did well for a couple of years, then got sort of leggy and ugly so I replaced it with catmint. I don’t think it was hindered by juglone at that distance.

  74. Great resource, thank you! I did notice, however, that a few of the plants they mention are on BOTH lists! Just goes to show how varied our experiences can be trying to grow things under BWs.

  75. Since I don’t know all the plants by their horticultural names does anyone know about these flowers and how tolerant they are to juglone? Sweet Pea, Cosmos, Stock, Nigella, Queen Anne’s Lace, Snapdragon?

    • Hi Kelly, I’ve read that cosmos bipinnatus will grow in the vicinity of a black walnut. I don’t think snapdragons will. I didn’t try them, but I know someone who did.

      • Hi Susan,
        thank you so much for your reply. My plants are currently seedlings in the house so I won’t place the snapdragons as I had planned. Really appreciate your input.

  76. What about planting an Annabelle Snowball Hydrangea ? Will that survive the black walnut tree ?

    Just found out about the juglone in the black walnut tree – yikes – now I’m on a quest to complete my project or should I say redo my project. The three white potentilia bushes did not survive.

  77. Missouri Botanical Garden has a shade garden, under high limbed walnuts at their Arboretum site. They have a jasmine vine nearby that does very well. I’m going to try it this year. Thanks for your site…

  78. Does anyone know if False Cypress (chamaecyparis) will grow under or near Black Walnut trees? Proven Winners “Soft serve” is narrow and short (less than 10 feet), can tolerate some shade and deer will leave them alone for the most part (I have a lot of deer). I’m looking to plant 15 to 20 trees for a hedge/screen. I have contacted Proven Winners and have researched the internet, but no one has any feedback/experience to provide. Proven Winners only provided links to the lists that are posted on the internet. Thank you for this website and information.

  79. Pingback: Ultimate Resource Guide to Gardening with Toxic Black Walnut Trees - Finding Sea Turtles

  80. Does anyone know if skunks hoard the walnuts? There is a large black walnut tree in my neighbour’s yard which overhangs my yard and my shed. I have found buckets of the walnuts stored in my shed and under the porch of the shed. I’d like to know if it’s skunks hoarding them or squirrels because I have seen a skunk in the spring go under that shed and I saw a baby skunk in that shed as well. I’m having some repair done to hopefully get rid of the problem. Any information would be appreciated.

    • I grow three on a tiny quarter acre property which is not near our black walnut riddled property so I can’t say about the black walnut but even so, I wanted to say that I love them but be forewarned that they do stink – no exaggeration in the literature. Mine tend to bloom for about a week or so and for the first few days it’s all glory but then one morning you wake and it seems like there’s a dead mule in the back yard – and the neighbors probably run around wondering what’s on Your side of the fence… and the weather affects it too – hot and humid and you should just move. I have not dug mine up though!

  81. Great resource, thank you!
    Has anyone tried Cryptomeria (Radicans, or any kind of cryptomeria) near black walnut trees?
    Or know of any arborvitae (other than ‘Green Giant’) that the deer will not eat?

    I took some of the above suggestions a couple years ago and tried a few of my own under several huge BW trees (zone 6B). The report so far:

    – Allium ‘Gladiator’ – doing well
    – Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ – doing well
    – Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ – 2 of 3 did fine – spot was very dry so will see if they come back
    – Acer palmatum ‘Rhode Island’ (mini Japanese maple) doing fine
    – Astilbe ‘Fanal’ and ‘Rheinland’ – half did fine, the other half did not – possibly too dry rather than BW
    – Carex ‘Eversheen’ (yellow green variety sedge) – doing well
    – Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Hedgehog’ (Japanese plum yew) – doing well
    – Cotinus (purple smoke bush) – doing well but moved it to get more sun
    – Euonymous spp. (burning bush) – appear to have been there a long time & doing fine, but they don’t get enough sun to get red fall color
    – Ilex – Nellie R. Stevens holly – doing fine (planted small, had to fence for deer)
    – Fothergilla gardenii Blue Mist – doing well about 40 feet from BW dripline
    – Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Japanese forest grass) – doing fine
    – Hamamelis ‘Angelly” (witchazel)- doing fine
    – Heuchera – one of the neon yellow/lime varieties doing well
    – Helleborus foetidus – 2 different kinds, both doing well
    – Hosta – Sagae (large blue/gold) and Fire Island (small gold) – doing OK (fenced for deer)
    – Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle – doing well
    – Hydrangea arborescens ‘Invincibelle Spirit II ‘ and ‘Incrediball Blush’ – not thriving like Annabelle, but they were only available as tiny plants and got run over repeatedly by the dog
    – Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer – Twist N Shout’ – 3 doing well about 40 feet from BW (some deer pruning)
    – Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’ (dwarf panicle hydrangea) – doing well
    – Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’ (full size oakleaf) – died (location was a bit dry, but everyone else here says no luck either)
    – Hydrangea quercifolia Ruby Slippers (dwarf) – still alive (not thriving b/c deer keep eating them)
    – Imperata cylindrica rubra (Japanese blood grass) – doing fine
    – Itea ‘Merlot’ – doing OK but I plan to move it (needs more sun to get red fall color)
    – Leucanthmum ‘Becky’ shasta daisy – doing fine
    – Liriope ‘Variegata’ – doing fine
    – Microbiota decussata (Siberian cypress) – all 3 died within 2 months
    – Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ – doing fine, shorter than typical due to less sun
    – Narcissus (daffodils) – Tete a Tete doing great, larger bloomed yellow King Alfred types doing OK
    – Pachysandra – fine
    – Penstemon “Blackbeard’ – did OK but moved them to a more sunny spot
    – Phlox ‘Forever Pink’ (garden phlox) – did OK, but declining (I think it is not enough sun)
    – Pieris japonica – next door neighbor has one thriving under a BW (5 ft tall and very full)
    – Pinus strobus ‘Niagara Falls’ – died within about 2 months
    – Prunus laurocerasus Otto luyken – a neighbor has these under BWs and they appear healthy but much smaller than typical around here.
    – Prunus laurocerasus Schipkaensis – a neighbor has four thriving about 30′ from trunk of huge BW
    – Sambucus racemosa ‘Lemon Lace’ (elderberry) – doing OK (would prefer more sun than it gets)
    – Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’ (spiderwort) – doing well
    – Viburnum ‘Brandywine’ – doing well

  82. HI. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I have been gardening on a lower Michigan 50 ft.-wide city lot with a BW smack in the center of my back yard, for 18 years. Lots of research, trial and error, and wasted $$ trying to get things to grow!!! …. Gave up on shrubs except Forsythia and put redbud trees (Cercis Canadensis) in as a screen.
    However, recently found that Hydrangea arborescens is native and juglone tolerant, so trying some ‘Incrediball Blush’ this year.

    Have had good success with some shade-tolerant clematis on trellises and gazebo under drip line:
    “Pink Champagne” (a.k.a. ‘Kakio’) –
    thriving 10 ft from BW trunk
    “John Warren” also thriving for years
    “Betty Corning” – 2 years and spreading
    “Princess Diana” – expanding, even in
    partial shade
    “Blue Angel” – returning well
    Jouiniana praecox – grows huge

    Have a Red Lake currant bush returning well annually
    Black raspberry seeds were dropped by birds years ago and thrived, so I have let some grow.

    Virginia creeper seeds dropped by birds grow, but I don’t want them & pull them out.

    Successful with many native plants, so have wildflower garden under the BW, with some bulbs and other perennials (only listing those thriving for years under the drip line):
    Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
    Celandine poppy
    Dicentra – bleeding heart (white)
    Epimedium versicolor ‘Sulphureum’
    Gallium ororatum (sweet woodruff)
    Geranium macrorhizum – cranesbill (big root geranium)
    Geranium maculatum – cranesbill (wild geranium)
    Hellebore – Lenten rose — many varieties
    Hemerocallis – orange roadside daylily (& trying other daylilies)
    Hosta: ‘Sagae’, Dream Queen’, Pearl Lake’ Minute Man’, ‘Wide Brim’ and others
    Mertensia Virginica (Virginia bluebells)
    Mint family — lemon balm
    Monarda didyma (Beebalm) — var.
    ‘Jacob Cline’ & ‘Raspberry Wine’
    Nepeta (catmint) ‘Walker’s Low’
    Phlox Paniculata ‘Franz Schubert’
    Pulmonaria ‘ Roy Davidson’
    & unknown blue pulmonaria
    Pulmonaria rubra ‘Red Start’
    Sanguinaria Canadensis ‘multiplex’ –
    double bloodroot
    Solomon’s seal (variegated)
    Uvularia grandiflora (Merrybells)
    Violets (purple and blue transplanted in
    from the lawn & use as edging)

    Scilla hyacynthoides
    Fritillaria meleagris
    Scilla sibirica
    Chionodoxa luciliae
    Hyacinth — Dutch hybrid varieties
    Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’
    Narcissus ‘Topolino’
    Narcissus ‘Salome’
    Narcissus ‘Sir Winston Churchill’
    Winter aconite
    Snowdrops (Galanthus)
    Thank you again…

  83. I have dozens of BW trees – they are the last to leaf out and the first to lose their leaves, they are very messy, the jugone is a nightmare, the nuts falling on the house make it sound like I’m under attack, they are easy to grow- I spend most of my spring yanking out new seedlings, every other year is a mast year – any suggestions for what to do with the truckloads of nuts? If they weren’t over forty years old I would willing part with them all! I found your site looking for an answer about lavender and walnut toxicity. Thanks so much.

    • No recommendations on the truckloads of nuts, except for lots of hungry squirrels… but as far as pulling out seedlings, I have observed much fewer BW sprouts in my gardens where I regularly apply Preen for pre-emergence weed control.
      I know that there are chemicals that fruit growers can apply to manage fruit-set on such trees as apples or cherries…. I wonder if there is something that can be sprayed on walnut trees to prevent them from forming the nuts…. Might be worth researching….. Maybe lucrative for some research horticulturalist to develop…

    • Hi again — those truckloads of walnuts…. you could always invite people who like to forage to gather and take them away for free — there are online sites that show people how to harvest, husk, and preserve the nuts… such as University of Illinois Extension, some videos on YouTube…
      Your property was probably originally planted by a farmer to be a walnut plantation, for profit…. You could fulfill part of that intention by allowing people to come and harvest the nuts.
      Cheaper and safer than spraying to sterilize the trees…
      Best wishes…

  84. I have a Meyer lemon that has been growing well right next to, and now right under, a BW. I’ve had success with all types of roses, fuchsias, honeysuckle, ivy, ferns, flowering maple, gladiolus, dusty miller, snap dragons, mallow, succulents, allium and alyssum. Within the zone of the BWs. Hydrangeas were a bust and I’m waiting to see if this butterfly bush starts looking better.

  85. Hello – planning a new bed for spring, just outside the dripline. How does Weigela fare around a black walnut? Thank you!

    • Hi Carolyn! Weigela is one of the few shrubs that I have not tried in my yard, but I have always intended to! I would definitely give it a try, making sure it gets good drainage. Good luck!



    • 1 Weigela planted 5 feet from a BW trunk in part-shade completely died within a couple years. A Ninebark (Coppertina maybe?) replaced it & is doing great for ~8 years now. Another Weigela planted just beyond the dripline in part sun survived but never grew in size & barely bloomed, so after 4 years I removed it. A Little Lime Hydrangea now lives in the same spot & is doing fantastic for it’s 3rd summer – growing quick.

  86. I looked through the posts for mahonia (Oregon grape) and didn’t see it, so I’m sorry if this is a repeat. Does anyone know if it is tolerant?
    Also, in re the blue spruces: they are themselves poisonous to surrounding plants. I would never again have a spruce in my yard after years of fighting the root incursions into everything else, spreading allellopathic poisons everywhere!

  87. Trees which are growing under, or close to my black walnuts are; elm, black locust, black cherry, tulip poplar, paw paw, green giants, spicebush, amur honeysuckle, box elder maple, white mulberry, tree of heaven and green ash.

  88. Hi, I am wondering if it matters which way the groundwater runs. I am guessing that if my grapevine is planted 60 feet away and up a slight hill from a black walnut, it should do fine…..comments?

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  91. I just bought a new home with a walnut tree in the front yard. Does anyone know if Dahlias have problems near BW’s? I can’t seem to find any info online about them and juglone.

    • I have dahlias growing beautifully right at the drip line of a very old black walnut. Leaf drop and various stages of nut drop surround but don’t cover the area. Dahlias do best with sun and average moisture so they would not do well under the canopy. My dahlias get about 5-6 hrs of full sun.

  92. Hi there, have referenced this over the years, just now commenting. (I think?)

    Watering is key. A mature black walnut on an upland site will parch surrounding soil. Though upland, this one in our yard is in a high organic matter site that gets dusty in summers where conditions are still moist under other trees.

    We have landscaped under black walnuts for over 25 years at two different sites. Our home has a very large mature black walnut in our yard in the Asheville NC area, zone 7.

    Itea, or VA Sweetspire has had two fails after abundant rainfall and watering deeply as needed. Viburnums of various flavors, all dead years ago. Azaleas 50’ away, gone, elsewhere thriving.

    Chamaecyparis Obtusa “Confucius” seems fine, as do “filicoides” and other of that genus.

    Arborvitae of various flavor, and thuja.

    Lily of the valley, Japanese maples, uprights and palmatums, dogwood, Carolina silverbell, hasta, spice bush, beautyberry, American holly. All thrive.

    Canadian Hemlock has struggled there, mostly moisture I think, but who knows. This one is adjacent, 10 feet from trunk, has a cool bonsai look to it, 18 years in that site. But because it was stressed, not by design. It lacks significant branches on one side, where I’ve planted De groots spire, and Carolina hemlock.

    Carolina hemlock appears to be thriving, but planted just in spring and well above average rain this year. Also Pink ladies slipper (Cypripedium) doing well. Have planted both of these in multiple sites on property. The Carolina hemlock under the walnut is happiest so far.

    The mottled light of a mature tree actually create some exceptional planting opportunities. I’ll self install an irrigation system next year and will take advantage of the conditions. I no longer see that site as a challenge, it is one of our favorite trees.

    What I do not like is squirrel planted trees are very difficult to kill in other sites on the property. A 3 or 4’ sapling can have a lateral root 12’ long! Ask me how I know…. They take significant effort to eradicate once they get a start. I’m going to scout for sprouts right now….. Hard part is when they sprout right up in a shrub and all you can do is keep cutting at base, but the root persists and will poison specimen pants if not careful.

    Just adding my experience here, this is a welcome resource for gardeners!

  93. hi BW owners,
    if any one can tell me about planting Asiatic Lilies, Casablanca lilies and Honey lilies near a BW? Not underneath but close enough. I know Daylilies work!
    Also my Saskatoon berry tree looks sick after 6 months near drip line.
    I have lost so much- moved plants x4 years. Trial and mostly error.

  94. Lily of the valley flourishing for 20 years here, sorry no other lilies on our site. I mean, except daylilies, which as you noted, are unfazed by juglone.

  95. I live on a farm property in southern Ontario and we have massive black walnuts all around the property. The oldest would be well over 100yrs old. Been gardening here for 30yrs now. Soil is rich clay loam with fairly high PH. Some of my best plants include anything in the Lily family (Ex. Hostas, Daylilies, Yucca). Yews do incredibly well as do all Boxwood. All Dogwoods thrive–especially Pagoda Dogwood that look amazing here. Cornelian Cherry (which is actually a Dogwood) also do great but flower and fruit best in sunniest spots outside driplines. Similarly Redbuds do fine, although I struggle with too much shade so flowering is not as good as could be. Peony does fine where I can get enough sun. Trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, May Apple – most of our native spring herbaceous perennials and non-native bulbs do well. Euonymus (fortunie and alatus) as well as English Ivy are TOO successful. Pachysandra — loves it. Brunnera is great too for the dry shade.

  96. Hi:

    I wish I had seen this site years ago. I have ten acres in Zone 5b Hudson Valley that is a virtual forest of Black Walnuts. No list of tolerant/intolerant trees/plants is 100% accurate, some seem almost fictitious. The big thing that I have learned is that BW roots travel far from the drip line. I am about to pull out the remains of a bunch of Rhodos I planted ten years ago near the stump of a recently cut BW. They did fine and that lulled me into a false sense of security. But their brother and sister BWs down slope got pissed and extended their roots more than 30 feet from the drip line and took out all the Rhodos with an assist from the white tail deer. They are now targeting crabapples on the other side of my road. Again, this is beyond the drip line.

    Persicaria polymorpha (a terrific plant if you’ve never tried it) succumbed in 2020 as a BW re-grew its roots that had been plowed up in 2010. In trying to dig and relocate a barely surviving clump, I saw the distinctive BW roots so I am certain of the culprit. Weigelia also died in the same location, but I cannot be certain of the cause.

    Hackberry, contrary to many lists, do just fine as do my flowering cherries (so far). I have a drift of daffodils in their second year of bloom at the base of a BW trunk. Honey locusts thrive beneath them and, so far, basswood and lindens.

    The jury is still out on Comfrey (Symphytum) which I transplanted near a BW last year. I’ll know in a few days….

    Thanks for having this site.

  97. I am on a quest looking for an evergreen shrub that is BW tolerant and deer resistant. Loving country life, but experiencing a few challenges.

    • You might wish to consider pieris japonica or skip laurels, which both get flowers in spring.
      Boxwood and japanese plum yew also work, but no flowers.
      Green giant arborvitae is fine, no flowers and the deer chewed mine this winter – the trees are in the path of where they cut through the yard; the deer left older versions of the same kind of trees untouched elsewhere in the neighbor’s yard. Nellie R. Stevens holly grows fine but must be fenced to keep the deer away.
      I am in zone 7.

      • Thanks for the recommendations. Is skip laurel similar to otto luyken laurel? I’ve read mixed thoughts on these shrubs.

        • The leaves and flowers are very similar, but the growth habit is more upright than Otto Luykens. You may want to check online to see how large they get in your area.
          I think Otto is a prettier shrub, but it tops out at about 5 feet high. If you need a taller wall of green and have the space, my neighbor used them to create a privacy hedge underneath BW trees (the ones closest to the BW trunk are shorter than the ones at the dripline).

    • Central Virginia, zone 7. would love to find a flowering evergreen to add a bit of interest to a long and tall wall, but not having much luck.

  98. Thank you kindly for your list! I have a large BW tree in my front garden. I let it grow not knowing about the juglone. I love the tree it so everything else has to deal. I have had the best luck with common green grapes, lilac, bee balm, violas, rudbeckia, mums, crocus, hyacinth, and daffodils. I am not sure if the Canna bulbs I planted are in danger… I can’t seem to find info on their sensitivity. Thank you!

  99. I’m wondering if anyone has had experience growing weigelia under there black walnuts. I’m specifically wondering about the weigelia Florida. I have planted some other varieties – but can not yet assess if the are going to make it. Thanks

    • Barbara, I have a 30-plus-year-old weigela that has grown its entire life within 10 feet of my black walnut, and it puts out a profusion of deep pink blooms every May. (Its main problem is me, since I didn’t prune it for a very long time!)

      • Joanne, thank s so much for responding to my question. I’ve confidently now planted the weigela about 10 feet from a black walnut!

  100. Hello, I am living in Ontario, Canada, Zone 4B. I am just reviving my backyard garden during this pandemic until I realized, the big tree that my neighbor planted in the border fence between their yard and ours is BW tree. Unfortunately, I had planted some flowers that intolerant with the BW 😦

    My question is : if I trimmed the branches that hanging over our property, would it help avoiding the juglone to our soil? I read that we can, at least we should get rid of the falling leaves, nuts and branches as soon as possible. Anybody has experiment on this?

    I planted some flowers in the border fence: Cone flower thrives, Rudbeckia is still struggling. Iris doesn’t bloom (but at least it survive). Tiger Lily is blooming like soo big (i never see Tiger Lily as big as it is. It has 7 big flower buds and so tall). Sedum thrives, creeping phlox thrives, Clematis is about to die (15 ft from the tree), Bill Reid Rose is about to die (10 ft from the tree) and Rhodie is struggling (15 ft from the tree) but it still has flourish flowers, but becomes skinny and skinnier. 😦 – this is the 2nd year for Rhododendron Nova Zembla.

    The arbor, about 25 ft from the tree has climbing rose and I don’t know whether it will survive. This is the first year for the climbing rose and it’s still small, yet has 3 flower buds.

    Anybody has any luck planting Endless Summer hydrangea? I read that smooth hydrangea can thrive near the BW. I tried to find an article whether smooth hydrangea is same like Endless Summer hydrangea, but I could not find any info about it. This Endless Summer Hydrangeas, I had bought them and they are still in the pots. I was going to plant them along the dripline branches (which I am going to trim). This is really frustrating.. I feel like a mother and seeing my dying girls 😦 I am mourning.

    • Hi! I live in zone 4. In my experience, Endless Summer Begonia will Peter out and die. Only the “wild” Annabelle hydrangea is known to do well near a black walnut tree. I have one right under the tree that does very well. I am not optimistic about your climbing rose. Juglone will also invade the soil from the roots of the tree. Your neighbors must nor have been aware of the juglone issue when they planted the tree. Rhododendron and azalea are said to be very sensitive to juglone. There are a number of US state extension services online that have lists of what will and won’t survive. Sometimes the info is conflicting, but I wouldn’t waste money on anything questionable. I have also come to believe that new hybrids of supposedly safe plants may be susceptible. Good luck!

        • Hi Susan,
          Thank you very much for your reply and information. This BW was planting by the first owner which had moved long time ago. And myself, i did not know anything about this BW. Thank you for the Hydrangea Info. Now, I even feel more frustrated. *sigh*. Thank you again.

        • It really is a challenge, although they are beautiful trees. I didn’t know about juglone either when we bought the house. That first summer I planted a tomato just outside the drip line. It produced one mutant tomato before it completely succumbed. 😏

        • Hi Susan, ah, I see.. from what you described, it would be useless if we planted something even beyond the dripline as long as we have the BW with its juglone within range. 😦
          I read some articles about Clematis is one of the tolerant plant to Juglone. But still, my clematis is dying. I don’t know what to do. My backyard is full of weeds. Even grass seems to not grow either. Thank you again, Susan. I really appreciate it.

        • I have literally hundreds of clematis growing along the fence well well within the drip line of my eight black walnut trees. There are a few varieties that seem to struggle but rarely. The small-flowered varieties all do great. Sweet Autumn goes crazy every year. “The President”, “Warsaw Nike” and “Polish Spirit” all y to bribe and are blooming up a storm as we speak. If even you grass struggles I think something else is going on. All of my gardens are within the drip line of my black walnuts and thriving!

        • Thank you Susan and Vikki for the valuable info. Before this, i tried to ask some forums but never get any feedback. And i am thankful that both of you gave me some. For the Clematis, i will find the species that you mentioned above. And for Vikki, do you have any experience of growing Sage and Hydrangeas Endless Summer? I envy your garden, for sure. Any luck planting roses outside the dripline?

          Something wonderful happens, my Rose of Sharon is showing a tiny root and green young stem. I hope, like they said, Rose of Sharon can get along with Juglone. Yeah, i am thinking of another possibility that makes my backyard’s soil bad. Maybe, the cedar hedge and 3 big pine trees planted by the city made my soil dry like a desert.

  101. Has anyone has any experience with Norway Spruce? We have one that’s about 25 ft from a mature BWs trunk. The yard slopes from the BW and ends into a creek. Soil is sandy. We are in zone 6.

    The Norway Spruce was planted last year. It was about 8 ft then but has shot up nearly 2ft within the year.

    • Hi, Andrea! I’m currently growing a Dawn Redwood approximately 15 feet away from one of two Black Walnuts that are part of an older tree line that divides my property from my neighbors. I planted the young Dawn Redwood last year. So far, I see no issues but am in regular observation, just in case any develop.

  102. We have a Black Walnut in the center of our small front yard and it’s just now, after 10 years, that we’re finding out about why we have so much trouble! We’ve blamed it on Austin, TX extreme triple digit heat, drought and freezing weather in the winter. All worthy reasons for a lawn to struggle but this has big a big WOW for us!
    Cedar Elm Tree
    Nandina (impossible to kill…drought, freeze, triple digits, clay soil)
    Mountain Laurel (likely predates the BW)
    Mexican Mint Marigold
    Winter Rye grass
    Zoysia grass grows just fine in the lawn nextdoor which is right at and outside the drip line

    Hasn’t worked:
    All of the plants listed above have been on the north side of this tree and get scorching afternoon tree. Nothing has grown under the tree or in the Northern shade of it except Winter Rye (no shade) and Nandina.
    St Augustine
    St Augustine again

    • I have Hedgehog and Duke Gardens varieties of Plum Yew thriving beneath old full size (60 feet tall) black walnut trees. They have been 6 years. The many hungry deer don’t touch them either. I haven’t seen the variety you mentioned around here SE Pennsylvania) but if I found it for sale around here, would not hesitate to get several.

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