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What plants can I grow under Walnut Trees

by Tiff

I have Walnut trees in my yard and they keep killing everything I plant around it. Is there anything that won't die?

Robin's Answer:
I have been asked this question a few times so I did a lot of research on Walnut trees and the reason some plants won't grow around them.

There are actually a lot of plants that will grow around a Walnut tree but before I get into what you can grow, you need to know about a chemical called Juglone and the effects it has on other plants.

Allelopathy and Juglone

What are they and what are the effects on surrounding plants and trees.

According to this article from VCE Publications,

Several related trees such as English walnut, hickories and pecan also produce Juglone, but in smaller amounts compared to black walnut. Juglone is one of many plant-produced chemicals that can harm other plants in a process known as allelopathy.

Besides walnut, hickories and pecan trees there are other plants that are Allelopathic and produce Juglone. A few are sunflowers, some pine and oak trees, eucalyptus, Tree of Heaven, and Fragrant Sumac among others.

And in reading this article from Iowa state University, they state:

The leaves that produce Juglone can be composted because it only takes two to four weeks for this chemical to break down and once you remove a walnut tree from your yard it takes about 2 months for the Juglone to decompose from the soil.

Plants That Will Grow Around Walnut Trees

Plant and tree list from the Iowa State University Forester and other resources. This is a pretty good list of plants. Plant one or two of them to test them and make sure they get lots of water.

Annuals that you can plant near roots that contain Juglone

•Begonia, fibrous cultivars
•Morning Glory
•Pansy Viola
•Zinnia species
•Most other annuals

Vines Tolerant to Juglone

•Clematis (Clematis spp)
•Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
•Wild Grape (Vitis)
•Wisteria (Wisteria spp)

Vegetables you can plant


Fruit Trees that will grow around Juglone Trees and plants


Herbaceous Perennials you can grow

•Yarrow (Achillea spp)
•Hosta (Hosta spp)
•Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
•Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanicus)
•Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
•St. John's Wort (Hypericum spp)
•Anemone (Anemone spp)
•Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp)
•Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
•Iris (Iris spp)
•European Wild Ginger (Asarum europaeum)
•Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)
•Aster (Aster spp)
•Liriope or Lilyturf (Lirope spp)
•Astilbe (Astilbe spp)
•Lobelia (Lobelia spp)
•Fibrous and Tuberous Begonia (Begonia)
•Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia pulmonariodes)
•Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
•Bee Balm (Monarda spp)
•Bellflower (Campanula latifolia)
•Grape Hyacinth (Muscari botryoides)
•Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa lucilae)
•Daffodil (Narcissus spp)
•Chrsyanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp)
•Primrose and Sundrops (Oenothera spp)
•Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)
•Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)
•Crocus (Crocus spp)
•Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
•Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)
•Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
•Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spp)
•Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans)
•Leopard's Bane (Doronicum spp)
•Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum commutatum)
•Crested Wood Fern (Dryopteris cristata)
•Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)
•Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
•Primrose (Primula spp)
•Epimedium (Epimedium spp)
•Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp)
•Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
•Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
•Dog's Tooth Violet (Erythronium spp)
•Siberian or Blue Squill (Scilla siberica)
•Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)
•Stonecrop (Sedum acre, Sedum spectabile)
•Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
•Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantia)
•Gentian (Gentian spp)
•Meadowrue (Thalictrum spp)
•Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium sanguineum)
•Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)
•Sunflower and Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus spp)
•Trillium (Trillium spp)
•Christmas Rose (Helleborus spp)
•Globeflower (Trollius spp)
•Common Daylily (Hemerocallis spp)
•Tulips (Tulipa spp)
•Coral Bells (Heuchera spp)
•Pansy and Violet (Viola spp)
•Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium auranticum)
•Zinnia (Zinnia spp)

Trees that grow near black walnut

•Most maples except silver maple (Acer spp)
•Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
•Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)
•Goldenrain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
•Serviceberry, Shadblow (Amelanchier)
•Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
•Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
•Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
•River Birch (Betula nigra)
•Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
•Hickory (Carya spp)
•Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)
•Catalpa (Catalpa bignoniodes)
•Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
•Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
•Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
•Fringetree (Chionanthus spp.)
•Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
•Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
•Oak species (Quercus spp)
•Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
•Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
•Hawthorne (Crataegus spp)
•Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
•Persimmon (Diosypros virginiana)
•Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
•American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
•Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
•White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
•Canada Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis)
•Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
•American Elm (Ulmus americana)
•Carolina Silverbell (Halesia caroliniana)
•Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

Shrubs Tolerant to Juglone

•Barberry (Berberis spp)
•Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
•Daphne (Daphne spp)
•Forsythia (Forsythia spp)
•Witchhazel (Hamamellis spp)
•Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
•Snowball Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
•St. Johnswort (Hypericum prolificum)
•American Holly (Ilex opaca)
•Juniper (Juniperus spp)
•Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
•Mockorange (Philadelphus spp)
•Exbury Hybrid Azalea "Gibraltar" & "Balzac"
•Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)
•Sumac (Rhus copallina)
•Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)
•Current (Ribes spp)
•Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
•Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)
•Maple-leaved Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolia)
•Koreanspice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)

As you can see, there are lots of plants that will grow near Walnut trees.

I hope this helps you decide what you are going to plant.

This list was updated on June 20, 2019

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