Unfortunately, the bladdernut or Staphylea pinnata only rarely occurs in nature and is a protected species. It can therefore be a special and unusual treasure in the garden. But not just because it’s a rarity. The pimpernuss also has unusual flowers and unusual fruits that rattle and ‘pimp’ – hence the name Staphylea pinnata. Roasted or processed into a liqueur, the pimpernues are an unusual delicacy. But before they can be enjoyed, the requirements of the wood have to be met and the right location found for them.


In its natural habitat, the bladdernut grows on the edges of forests and in clearings, but it can also stand alone in the garden. In any case, Staphylea pinnata needs a sunny location that is only slightly shaded. It should be protected from excessive weather influences by a place near the house or by surrounding plants.

Apart from these requirements, it is of course also important to provide her with sufficient space. With a height of two to four meters and a width of up to two and a half meters, it is not exactly one of the giants. Nevertheless, one should choose a correspondingly large distance to other trees, so that the Staphylea pinnata does not overshadow them. The Pimpernuss can quickly appear squashed directly on the wall of the house if it is not allowed to be at least two to three meters away.


The butternut needs a substrate that is loose, nutritious and humus. Fresh garden soil, mixed with compost and leaves, is very suitable. If the soil still tends to be compacted, additional sand, gravel or coconut fiber can be worked in. Mulch or fine brushwood are also suitable and also fertilize the soil in the long term.
If you want to be very precise, you should also check the pH of the soil. Values ​​between 3.5 and 5.5 are ideal for the butternut squash.

Cube culture

If you first want to cultivate the Pimpernuss in a bucket, you can easily do this in the first few years. With an increase of 20 to 30 cm per year, the Staphylea pinnata does not grow out of the container too quickly. The same mixture as described above is recommended as a substrate. Alternatively, you can use bucket soil as a base.
To ensure adequate water drainage, a thin layer of drainage should be placed on the bottom of the vessel. Shards of pottery or coarse stones are suitable for this.

Tip : In regions with very cold winters, the initial culture in the bucket is generally advisable, since the buttercup loves warmth and full winter hardiness only develops properly later.


As a heat-loving tree, the bladdernut should only be planted or placed outdoors when it no longer has to withstand frost here. However, the planting should not be done too late, since the Staphylea pinnata still needs enough time to anchor itself in the ground and to prepare for the winter. Late spring or early summer are ideal times.
Apart from the choice of time and the right location, there are no special features to consider. The bladdernut can already be planted out when it measures 30 cm to 40 cm in height. The planting hole should be about twice the size of the root ball. After planting, the bale should be washed once and then kept slightly moist. However, the soil must be allowed to dry out slightly, at least superficially, between waterings. When the first new shoots appear, watering can be slowly reduced.

watering and fertilizing

When watering, the bladdernut is frugal after it has grown. Additional watering should only be carried out during dry phases. Soft water with a low lime content is suitable for this. In areas with hard tap water, the following sources can be used:

  • Collected rainwater
  • Pond water without chemical additives
  • Stale tap water whose sediment is not used

Whether the Staphylea pinnata needs additional water or not can be seen not only from the dry soil, but also from the condition of the leaves. If they hang limp and curl up easily, it’s high time to water them. Of course, this is more often the case in the bucket than outdoors in the garden.

Occasional fertilizing is good for the pimpernuss. Compost and the leaves of the Staphylea pinnata are suitable for this. The leaves can remain directly on the tree disc in autumn and release nutrients into the soil through the subsequent decomposition. The compost can also be placed about two centimeters high on the tree grate in spring and then easily worked into the soil.

If you don’t have a garden and therefore no compost, but don’t want to use the leaves either, you can use fertilizer for ornamental trees. Long-term products are particularly suitable.


The bladdernut blooms between May and June and displays its white flowers for a few weeks. Subsequent to the delicately fragrant splendor, the fruit bodies form, which initially appear light green and appear thin-skinned. In late summer or early fall, the pods change color, become light brown, and exhibit a peculiarity in windy weather: they rattle, jingle, or ‘pimp’. This sound is triggered by the contained pimpernuts, which hit the shell inside. If it becomes audible, the fruiting bodies can be removed and opened. After roasting, the kernels, which are reminiscent of corn kernels, can be enjoyed pure, but they can also be processed further.

Note: Most specimens of the bladdernut are self-pollinating, so another tree is not necessarily required for harvesting. However, if you plant several Staphylea pinnatas in the garden, you increase the yield.

joint winnung

Extracting and preparing the seeds is done as well as harvesting them for consumption. The fruit bodies are removed when the skin has turned brown. The cores are then removed and layered with sand.
Layering is done in these steps:

  1. A container that is as transparent as possible is filled to a centimeter with moist sand.
  2. As the second layer, the pimpernuss kernels are inserted at a distance of about two to three centimeters.
  3. The cores are in turn covered with about a centimeter of moist sand. Layering can continue in this way until all the cores have been inserted. However, it is better not to apply too many layers, as this encourages mold.
  4. The vessel is now overwintered in a dark place. The sand must always be kept slightly moist. Temperatures should be between 10°C and 15°C.
Tip: The transparent planter makes it easier to check for mold, which should be carried out once a week.


If seeds have spent the winter as described above, they are germinable in the spring and ready for actual sowing. To do this, they are placed in the already mentioned substrate mixture and slightly covered. In a bright place and at temperatures between 18 °C and 20 °C, germination will not be long in coming.

Because the young plants are still comparatively sensitive during the first few years, it makes sense not to sow them directly in the garden. It is better to initially keep the small Staphylea pinnatas in the bucket and prick them out from a height of about 15 cm. After the young plants have hibernated, they can withstand frost much better in their second year.

Propagation by stolons

In rare cases it can happen that the bladdernut multiplies itself via offshoots. If you want to experience this, you have to be careful when mowing the lawn in the garden. However, not every Staphylea pinnata forms such shoots, which means that propagation via seeds is much more reliable.


Due to its comparatively slow growth and the naturally appealing shape, a blend of the bladdernut is not necessary. However, the wood usually tolerates a slight shortening and, if necessary, corrections without any problems.

Dead, diseased, and damaged branches should be removed to reduce the risk of pest and disease infestation. Gentle thinning, removing inward-growing shoots, is also recommended.


In regions with a mild climate, the bladdernut is well winter hardy when it is free in the garden and has grown. In the case of culture in tubs and young plants, however, the plant can be damaged by frost, which is why sheltered overwintering is preferable.

The Staphylea pinnata should overwinter in the bucket in the house, where it should be in a cold room without sub-zero temperatures. It must not be completely dark here, just a little brightness is enough. Because although the tree sheds its leaves in autumn, not all processes in the plant are completely stopped due to the stay without frost.
Young bladdernuts or those that are comparatively exposed should be wrapped in garden fleece along the trunk. This acts as an insulating protection against icy winds.

Typical diseases, pests and care mistakes

The bladdernut is not very susceptible to diseases, but the situation is different when it comes to pests and care errors.
The most common and dangerous pests of Staphylea pinnata include:

  • Engerlinge of the Maikäfers
  • weevil
  • Click beetles, wireworms

In fact, it is not the adult beetles themselves that cause the damage, but their larvae. These develop in the soil and feed on the roots of the tree. With older Staphylea pinnatas and a low infestation, this is not dramatic. The wood usually recovers and damage is hardly noticeable. However, if the number of parasites is large or the buttercup is still small, it can die as a result. That’s why it’s important to look out for the following symptoms:

  • fading of the crown
  • Weak hunger drives are trained
  • The wood withers
  • Young plants can be pulled out of the ground without any effort

If these signs are noticed, action must be taken quickly. With bucket culture, it is comparatively easy to collect the pests directly from the roots. Planted freely in the garden, this measure is a bit more difficult.

It is possible here to apply appropriate insecticides that are used in the soil. These work primarily against the click beetles. Predators can be used as a natural alternative. Special types of mushrooms, which can be purchased from specialist retailers, have proven to be particularly effective with grubs. Weevils, on the other hand, respond better to nematodes. The nematodes are also brought into the soil and in turn infest the damaging larvae.

In order for the chosen measure to be successful, the type of parasite must of course first be known. Gardeners cannot avoid searching in the ground or on the tree itself. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you should find out more from a specialist dealer, tree nurseries and garden centers are ideal. The parasites often appear in many gardens at the same time, so that at least a good assessment can be made.
A wrong location and excessive watering occur as common care mistakes.


Repotting the butternut squash is necessary when the roots show up on the bottom of the bucket or the tree no longer has a secure footing. To prevent diseases and pests, the entire old substrate should be removed.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *