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Black walnut trees are a majestic sight, soaring high into the sky with a broad, sprawling canopy that provides shade and habitat for a myriad of wild creatures. While black walnuts are frequently grown as a source of high-quality timber, they are also a striking ornamental tree in large yards and gardens.

But if you’re a keen gardener, you may have noticed that many plants don’t thrive near black walnut trees. This is because black walnuts excrete a compound called ‘juglone’, which is toxic to certain plant species. The effects of juglone can be quite dramatic, causing severe wilting and eventually death of the affected plants.

Black walnut trees are majestic and a valuable part of our ecosystems, so the last thing we want to do is chop them all down. They are also a great source of delicious nuts, providing a valuable food source for both humans and wildlife. Some plant species are highly resilient to juglone and will thrive when planted alongside black walnut trees.

With any of the companion plants for black walnuts suggested in this article, it is a good idea to check that they are planted in the perfect spot to thrive. For example, melons and squash plants need a lot of sun, so should be planted on the southern edge of the tree canopy. 

Vegetables That Grow Well With Black Walnut Trees

Ripe carrots growing on field. Organic farming.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Lima Beans
  • Melon
  • Onion
  • Parsnip
  • Snap Beans
  • Squash

Best Fruits To Grow Near Black Walnut Trees

Beautiful persimmon tree.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos
  • Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
  • Cherry (Prunus spp.)
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
  • Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Flowers To Plant Near Black Walnut Trees

Red chrysanthemum in the graden.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos
  • Astilbe (Astilbe spp.)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
  • Begonia (Begonia spp.)
  • Bellflower (Campanula spp.)
  • Bergamot (Monarda didyma)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp.)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Hollyhock (Alcea spp.)
  • Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum)
  • Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina)
  • Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum spp.)
  • Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp.)
  • Peony (Paeonia spp.)
  • Phlox (Phlox spp.)
  • Polyanthus Primrose (Primula × polyantha)
  • Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum spp.)
  • Sundrop (Oenothera fruticosa)
  • Violet (Viola spp.)
  • Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica)
  • Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)

Herbaceous Plants That Thrive Near Black Walnut Trees

Hosta Ivory Coast
Image Credit: Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.)
  • Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium spp.)
  • Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)
  • Ferns
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Hosta (Hosta spp.)
  • Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.)
  • Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
  • Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora)
  • Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
  • Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum spp.)
  • Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)
  • Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
  • Trillium (Trillium spp.)
  • Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)
  • Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

Best Bulbs To Plant Near Black Walnut Trees

The petals are a vibrant blue color and gradually fade to a lighter shade of blue at the base. Some flowers are fully open with five petals each, while others are still tightly closed in buds.
Image credit: The wub, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Crocus (Crocus spp.)
  • Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa spp.)
  • Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
  • Grape Hyacinth (Muscari spp.)
  • Narcissus (Narcissus spp.)
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus spp.)
  • Tulip (Tulipa spp.)

Shrubs To Plant Under Black Walnut Trees

Red berries from hawthorn.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos
  • Arborvitae (Thuja spp.)
  • Forsythia (Forsythia spp.)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
  • Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)
  • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
  • Viburnum (Viburnum spp.)

Trees To Grow Alongside Black Walnuts

Close-up shot of acorn growing on oak tree.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos
  • Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • Catalpa (Catalpa spp.)
  • Crabapple (Malus spp.)
  • Elm (Ulmus spp.)
  • Hemlock (Tsuga spp.)
  • Hickory (Carya spp.)
  • Maple (Acer spp.)
  • Oak (Quercus spp.)
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Sycamore (Platanus spp.)

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