what plants will grow under a black walnut tree

Plants that will grow under a black walnut tree can be a challenge to cultivate due to the tree’s unique characteristics. The walnut tree produces juglone, a compound that is toxic to many other plants. Despite this, there are still some species of plant that are tolerant of the conditions and can thrive in this environment. This article will examine the types of plants that can be grown under a black walnut tree and how best to ensure their success.Plants that grow well under Black Walnut trees include perennial herbs such as mint, thyme, oregano, tarragon, chives, and lavender. Other plants that are tolerant of the juglone toxin released by Black Walnut trees include daylilies, iris, black-eyed Susan, lily of the valley, bellflower, and forget-me-not.

Shade-Tolerant Plants That Thrive Under a Black Walnut Tree

Many home gardeners may be discouraged by the idea of planting under a black walnut tree due to its toxic properties. However, there are plenty of shade-tolerant plants that can survive and thrive in these conditions. A few of these include hostas, foamflower, barrenwort, and ferns.

Hostas are popular shade-loving perennials that come in many different varieties. While they prefer light to medium shade, they can tolerate very low light levels and still thrive. Hostas come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and make great additions to shady gardens.

Foamflower is a woodland perennial that produces bright white flowers in the spring and can tolerate deep shade. It is an evergreen plant with glossy green foliage that grows well in moist soils. Foamflower prefers part shade but will tolerate full shade if given enough moisture.

Barrenwort is also known as bishop’s hat or fairy wings and is another great option for shady areas. This groundcover grows only 3-6 inches tall but spreads rapidly through underground rhizomes creating a lush carpet of foliage. Barrenwort will tolerate both full sun and full shade so it can be used in many different locations throughout the garden.

Ferns are some of the most versatile plants for shady areas. There are many varieties of ferns that can be used to add texture and color to your garden’s shadier spots. Some popular varieties include Japanese painted ferns, maidenhair ferns, ostrich ferns, and hollyferns which all provide beautiful texture without requiring much sunlight or maintenance.

These plants can all thrive under a black walnut tree if given proper care and attention. By selecting these types of plants you can create a lush garden oasis even in the darkest areas of your yard.

With proper selection and placement of these shade-tolerant plants you will be able to enjoy your garden oasis even when planted under a black walnut tree!

Trees and Shrubs That Grow in the Shade of Black Walnut Trees

Black walnut trees are known for their dense canopy, which casts deep shade. This shade makes it difficult for other plants to grow beneath them. However, a number of shrubs and trees do thrive in this environment. These include flowering dogwood, redbud, yellowwood, serviceberry, pagoda dogwood, viburnum, witch hazel, sweet shrub and Japanese maple.

Flowering dogwood is a small tree that produces white flowers in the spring. It can tolerate light shade and grows in USDA hardiness zones 5-8. Redbud is a small tree with pinkish-purple flowers that can tolerate full shade. It grows best in zones 4-9. Yellowwood is a medium-sized tree with fragrant white blooms in the spring that can tolerate both partial sun and full shade. It prefers zones 4-8.

Serviceberry is a small tree with fragrant white blooms that can also tolerate both full sun and full shade. It does best in zones 5-9. Pagoda dogwood is an upright shrub with white blooms and attractive foliage that can tolerate partial sun to full shade. It grows best in zones 4-8. Viburnum is an evergreen shrub with fragrant flowers that will thrive in partial shade to full shade conditions and grows best in zones 4-7 (depending on the variety).

Witch hazel is a deciduous shrub or small tree with yellow or red blooms that will thrive beneath black walnut trees as long as it gets some direct sunlight each day. Sweet shrub is an evergreen shrub with fragrant blossoms that will do well beneath black walnut trees if it gets some direct sunlight each day too – it prefers zones 6-9. Finally, Japanese maple is an ornamental tree with beautiful foliage and can grow quite well under black walnut trees if given some direct sunlight each day – it does best in zones 5-8 (again depending on variety).

These plants offer a great way to add color and interest to any shady spot created by a black walnut tree without having to worry about them being overwhelmed by its dense canopy of foliage blocking out much of the light from reaching them at ground level!

Characteristics of Plants That Grow Well in the Shade of Black Walnut Trees

Shade from black walnut trees can be beneficial for many plants. These trees act as natural umbrellas, providing shade during hot summer days and protection from wind. The shade from black walnut trees can help keep the soil moist and cool, making it easier for plants to survive in dry conditions. Because of this, there are certain characteristics that make plants well-suited for growing in the shade of black walnut trees.

One important characteristic is that the plants should be tolerant of light levels. Black walnut trees provide a medium level of light, so plants that prefer more light or less light may not do as well in this environment. Additionally, plants should be tolerant of drier conditions and have good root systems to help them survive under the canopy of a black walnut tree.

Many types of native wildflowers or ground covers do well with the shade provided by these trees. Some examples include ferns, hostas, bleeding heart, Virginia bluebells, woodland phlox and columbine. Other perennial flowers such as poppies and daylilies may also be able to thrive under the right conditions.

Shrubs such as azaleas or rhododendrons are also suitable for planting under black walnuts because they are able to tolerate low light levels and don’t require a lot of moisture. Evergreen shrubs such as boxwood or juniper can also do well in shady areas under these trees because they will still get enough sunlight to remain green year-round.

Finally, many types of edible crops can benefit from growing in the shade provided by black walnuts such as leafy greens like spinach or lettuce, root vegetables like carrots or beets and mushrooms which thrive in damp dark areas. These crops require some sunlight but not too much so they can still flourish when planted near these trees.

Considerations When Planting Near a Black Walnut Tree

When planting near a black walnut tree, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. The black walnut tree secretes a toxic substance called juglone. This toxin can be found in the soil around the tree and can prevent other plants from growing due to its allelopathic properties. Therefore, it is important to be aware of what plants are tolerant of juglone and which ones should not be planted near a black walnut tree.

It is also important to consider the space available when planting near a black walnut tree. Trees have extensive root systems that will compete for space with any nearby plants, so it is beneficial to choose plants that won’t need too much space for their root systems or will have enough room to take root without competing with the walnut tree’s roots.

In addition, the amount of sunlight available should be taken into account when deciding what plants to grow near a black walnut tree. Some plants may need more sunlight than is available in areas close to the tree’s canopy while others may thrive better in shadier spots. Choosing plants that are suited to the amount of light they will receive can help ensure successful growth.

Finally, it is important to consider how much water will be available for any nearby plants when planting near a black walnut tree. Trees tend to draw moisture from the soil, so it is best to select plants that don’t require too much water or that are able to withstand dry conditions if necessary.

By taking these considerations into account, gardeners can ensure successful growth of any plants they choose to plant near a black walnut tree by selecting those that are most suited for the conditions present around the area of the tree’s roots and canopy.

Growing Ground Cover for Areas Under a Black Walnut Tree

Choosing the right ground cover for areas under a black walnut tree can be tricky. The tree secretes a compound called juglone which can be toxic to some plants, making it difficult to find species that will thrive in these conditions. However, there are many low-maintenance and drought-tolerant varieties of ground cover that can flourish in the shade below a black walnut tree.

Vinca minor is an attractive evergreen ground cover with dark green leaves and bright blue flowers. It is drought and shade tolerant and can be planted in moderately moist soil beneath the canopy of a black walnut tree. Sedum kamtschaticum is another low-growing evergreen ground cover with purple-tinged foliage and star-shaped yellow flowers. This variety is extremely hardy and will tolerate both dry and shady conditions.

Pachysandra terminalis, commonly known as Japanese pachysandra, is an excellent choice for areas beneath a black walnut tree. This shade loving evergreen features glossy dark green leaves and fragrant white flower spikes in early spring. Lamium maculatum is another great option for shady spots beneath the tree, with silver spotted foliage and pink or white flowers in late spring or early summer.

Heuchera americana, or alum root, is well suited to growing under black walnuts because it does not suffer from toxicity from juglone exposure like other varieties do. This hardy perennial has deep green foliage that turns shades of red, bronze and purple as temperatures cool down in autumn, followed by sprays of tiny white flowers on tall stems in late spring or early summer. It prefers moist soil but can tolerate some dryness once established.

Finally, Ajuga reptans makes an ideal ground cover for areas beneath a black walnut tree because it can thrive even when exposed to high levels of juglone toxicity from the nut husks that fall from the trees each year. It has glossy deep green foliage with blue flower spikes appearing in late spring or early summer which attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies into the garden.

Acidic Soil Requirements for Growing Plants Under a Black Walnut Tree

Black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) produce a substance known as juglone, which is toxic to many other plants. As a result, it can be difficult to grow healthy plants in the soil beneath them. However, with proper care and management it is possible to grow plants in acidic soil beneath a black walnut tree.

The soil should be tested for pH levels before adding any plants or fertilizers. Ideal pH levels for growing plants under a black walnut tree should be between 5-6. If the pH level of the soil is too high, it can be amended with sulfur or iron sulfate to lower the pH. This should be done gradually over several months to ensure that the desired pH range is achieved without causing any harm to the existing plants and trees.

It is important to keep the soil well-drained and aerated so that oxygen can reach the roots of the plants. Adding organic matter such as compost or peat moss will help improve drainage and aeration while also increasing nutrient levels in the soil. Mulching around the base of each plant will also help retain moisture and reduce weeds.

Fertilizing regularly with an acidic fertilizer designed specifically for acid-loving plants will help ensure that they receive all of their necessary nutrients throughout their growth cycle. Fertilizers should be applied according to package directions and monitored regularly for any signs of nutrient imbalance or deficiency in order to ensure optimal health of all planted species.

In order for plants to thrive in acidic soil beneath a black walnut tree, proper care and management are essential. By providing adequate drainage, aeration, mulching, and fertilization, it is possible to grow healthy plants even in this unique environment.

Perennial Flowers That Thrive in the Shade of a Black Walnut Tree

Perennial flowers can add vibrant color and texture to any shade garden, especially when planted in the shade of a black walnut tree. With its dense canopy and deep roots, the walnut tree can provide an ideal environment for many types of perennials. From delicate wood anemones that bloom in early spring to rich fall blooms like asters and goldenrod, there are plenty of choices when it comes to choosing the right perennial for your shade garden. Here are just a few ideas for adding beauty to your garden under the shade of a black walnut tree.

One of the most popular plants for shady gardens is hosta, which has large leaves with beautiful textures and colors. Hostas come in many varieties that range from deep green or blue-green leaves with white or yellow margins to bright chartreuse leaves. Hostas also produce fragrant bell-shaped flowers that appear in late summer, which can add even more beauty and interest to your garden.

Ferns are another popular choice for shady gardens, as they thrive in areas with low light levels. From delicate maidenhair ferns that have lacy fronds to larger ostrich ferns with their graceful arching fronds, there are plenty of varieties available for adding texture and interest to your shade garden. Ferns look particularly good planted around the base of a black walnut tree as their fronds will contrast nicely with its dark bark and foliage.

For spring color under a black walnut tree, consider planting trilliums. These plants have three large petals atop tall stalks – usually white or pink – that will bring a bright burst of color in early spring before other plants have started blooming. Trilliums require moist soil conditions so be sure to water regularly if your soil tends to dry out during hot summer months.

Finally, bleeding hearts are great additions for any shade garden as they produce beautiful heart-shaped flowers along arching stems throughout summer months. Bleeding hearts come in both pink and white varieties so you can choose one that best fits into your overall garden design scheme. They prefer moist soils but will do well even if conditions get dry at times so they are fairly easy plants to care for.

With careful selection and placement, you can create an attractive perennial flower bed under the shade of a black walnut tree that will provide beauty throughout each season of the year. From delicate spring blooms like trilliums and wood anemones to lush summer foliage like hosta and ferns, you’ll enjoy vibrant color all year long!


Plants growing under black walnut trees can be a challenge. Walnuts produce juglone, a toxic compound that is released into the soil and can stunt or even kill certain plants. But there are also plenty of plants that have been found to be tolerant or even thrive in these conditions. These include varieties of grasses, ground covers, and some shrubs and perennials. With careful selection and consideration, it is possible to create a beautiful landscape under a black walnut tree.

Whether you are looking to add color with flowers or greenery with foliage plants, there are several species that can add beauty to your landscape while still being able to thrive in the unique conditions created by the presence of juglone from a black walnut tree. With careful planning and selection of plants, you can create an attractive landscape feature near or around your black walnut tree.