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Pimpernut care: location, watering, fertilizing and wintering

The pimp nut is a real rarity in Germany. It is very nice to look at and also extremely robust - provided the care is right.

Pimpernut (Staphylea pinnata) is undoubtedly one of the most attractive representatives of the domestic ornamental trees. Nevertheless, the plants with their pretty umbels and the edible rattling nuts have become a rarity in the wild, such as in the home gardens. The attractive shrubs are therefore on the red list. If you are looking for an eye-catcher for the home garden, you can give the pimp nut a renaissance. If you follow some care instructions, you will be able to enjoy the decorative ornamental wood for many years and will be able to harvest rattling nuts diligently.

Pimpernut (Staphylea pinnata)
Growth rate:20 - 30 cm a year
Height:200 - 400 cm
Spread:150-300 cm
Root system:Heart-rooting
Location:Sun to partial shade
Ground:moist and easy, humorous, lime-loving
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Pour the pimp nut properly

The pimp nut needs sufficient water after planting. Older plants need less watering. Additional irrigation is only necessary during longer dry periods and in hot summers. Otherwise the trees get water and nutrients from the roots.

Tip: If the pimp nut is too dry, this is indicated by sagging and rolled up leaves.

The plants do not tolerate waterlogging. Therefore, care should be taken at the time of planting and drainage installed in the soil. If the plant is cultivated in a bucket, regular watering is indispensable. The supply of water and nutrients in the planter is too small and the pimp nut has to be supplied with water regularly.

Tip: The plants prefer high humidity. Therefore, the pimp nut can take a cold shower from the plant sprayer on hot days.

Soft water should be used for irrigation. If there is no rainwater available, the water should not come directly from the pipe. Use stale tap water and avoid using the sediment.


  • Water young plants regularly
  • Water older plants only in case of prolonged drought
  • pay attention to the condition of the substrate and the leaves
  • Use soft, lime-free water.

Fertilize the pimpernut properly

The pimp nut prefers a nutrient-rich soil. Normal garden soil is generally suitable for cultivation. The inclusion of compost in the soil gives the pimp nut a valuable long-term fertilizer. You can add mature compost to the substrate when planting. The rattling nut tolerates appropriate fertilizers in spring and autumn.

Alternatively, you can also use fertilizers for ornamental trees. If you use slow release fertilizers, you only need to fertilize in spring. Slow-release fertilizer is also recommended for pimp nuts used in the bucket.

The foliage of the rattling nut is also a very good organic fertilizer. You can leave the foliage on the ground around the tree in autumn. The leaves decompose and the nutrients penetrate into the soil.


  • Give slow release fertilizers in spring and autumn
  • Add compost to the substrate
  • Leave the leaves on the ground after the leaves have fallen
  • Regularly supply container plants with slow-release fertilizer for ornamental trees

Does the pimp nut have to be cut?

The pimpernut grows very slowly. Annual growth of only around 25 centimeters is achieved. So there is no need to intervene with cutting measures to reduce the size, because the plants will not grow over your head.

A regular topiary will also not be necessary. If you look at your pimp nut, it becomes clear that the plant has an extremely appealing growth habit.

If there are disturbing shoots that either protrude too long or grow inwards, you can of course use scissors. The same applies to dead plant parts or sick shoots.

Tip: The best time for cutting the rattlesnake is early spring before the growing season begins.

Overview of important care measures

care measureexplanation
to waterYoung plants need water regularly. Older outdoor plants only need to be watered in the event of prolonged drought. Container plants need water regularly. Occasional spraying of the plant is beneficial for high humidity.
FertilizeThe nutrient requirement is comparatively high. Compost is very suitable as slow release fertilizer. The leaves can be left on the ground in autumn and also provide the plant with nutrients. Container plants are best supplied with a slow release fertilizer for ornamental trees.
To cutA regular cut is not indicated. The trees grow slowly. In early spring, old and dead chamois can be removed.

Hibernate pimpernut

… Outdoors

The age of the plant plays a role in wintering. Older pimp nuts that are well rooted will survive the winter in our latitudes without special protective measures. With younger plants you are well advised to wrap the trunk with fleece. A layer of leaves or brushwood on the ground also protects the roots from freezing.

Tip: In rough locations, a protected location for the pimp nut is generally an advantage.

... in the bucket

The rattling nut can be cultivated well in the tub in the first few years. For container plants, however, other requirements apply with regard to care. The pimpernut would not survive the wintering outdoors. There is little soil available in the planter. The bucket freezes easily and this would mean the roots die off.

Caution: Container plants must be wintered in the house.

Choose a cool room for your container plant as winter quarters. Frost must not prevail in the winter quarters. A dark basement would be the wrong place for the winter stand. The room does not have to be as bright as day, as the plants shed their leaves and therefore no photosynthesis takes place, but some light should still get into the room.

The pimp nut is not fertilized in winter quarters. Check the plant regularly. The floor must not dry out. Pay attention to economical watering, because the risk of waterlogging is particularly high in winter quarters.

Tip: In mid-May, when frost is no longer to be expected, the pimp nut in the bucket can go back outside.

Avoid maintenance errors when cultivating the pimp nut

The pimp nut is a very robust plant. If you follow the care instructions mentioned, you will be able to look forward to healthy and strong plants. You should avoid maintenance errors if possible:

care errorseffects
too much waterIf the pimpernut is watered too often, the irrigation water can no longer drain and build up in the ground. Waterlogging occurs which attacks the roots and causes the roots to die undetected. Container plants are particularly at risk. Drainage in the vascular floor has a preventive effect.
not enough waterIf watered too little, the plant dries out. If the soil has dried, irrigation is necessary. Check the plant regularly. If the leaves are flaccid and curled up at the edges, they must be watered as soon as possible.
wrong locationIf the pimpernut is too dark, this will be noticeable in growth. In a dark location, flowering will likely fail and you won't be able to harvest rattlesnuts.