bottlebrush buckeye was seen growing at the
roadside in Georgia
buckeye blooms have started so let the hummingbird and
butterfly season commence. This report came in the form
of a photograph from an excited gardener who wanted it
identified. He was seeing it for the first time and was
riveted by its beauty.
get thrilled when I see them at the forestsí edge or
along the roadside. You have to admit it is pretty
amazing how nature times blooming in sequence with the
return of the hummingbirds. The red buckeye, known
botanically as Aesculus pavia is cold hardy in zones 4-8
and native from Texas to Illinois to Ohio and down the
eastern seaboard to Florida. It excels as an early
bloomer in the backyard wildlife habitat, where it feeds
hummingbirds and bees.
To me the
plants are showiest when grown in the morning sun,
afternoon shade situation. They also thrive as
understory plants much like the dogwood or eastern
redbud. There is a yellow form called flavescens that
stands out even more in the shady environment, but this
is just the start of buckeye season.
the most beautiful buckeyes is the Red Horse Chestnut,
Aesculus x carnea that is actually a cross between the
native red buckeye and the European horse chestnut
Aesculus hippocastanum. The name Red Horse Chestnut
doesnít really do it justice.
it blooming for weeks in full sun in close proximity to
the Mountain Creek Inn at Callaway Gardens in Pine
Mountain, Ga. All I can say is WOW what a looker for a
small tree. It bloomed later in the season finishing
before the start of the amazing bottlebrush buckeye,
bottlebrush buckeye is nothing short of spectacular with
white blooms reaching 12-14 inches long. It performed
wonderfully at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in
Savannah which many might say impossible way too hot.
however caught me in total shock as I saw one on the
roadside that was huge and was swarming with a variety
of butterflies, honeybees and other pollinators. This
roadside show was obviously on one that received no
love, care or attention throughout the year.
bottlebrush buckeye is native to Georgia, Florida,
Alabama, and South Carolina but, donít fret if your
state isnít listed. Though it is native to the
Southeast, it is cold hardy in zones 4-8 meaning a large
geographic area can grow it as well as the other two I
typical of native plants it will take a little searching
on your part to locate your source. As mentioned,
morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal. Beds that are
fertile, moist but well-drained are preferred.
bed for your buckeyes and companion shrubs by
incorporating 3- to- 4 inches of organic matter and 2
pounds of a 5-10-5 fertilizer per 100 square feet of
planting area, tilling deeply.
skimp on the hole! Dig the planting hole two to three
times as wide as the rootball but no deeper. Place the
buckeye in the hole, and backfill with soil to
two-thirds the depth. Tamp the soil and water to settle,
add the remaining backfill, repeat the process and apply
mulch. This will allow for the quickest root-expansion
and acclimation to your garden.
to keep a good 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch, particularly
in the summer. While they are considered a medium water
user, know that drought conditions usually mean a less
than the ideal specimen. Treat it like an azalea from
the standpoint of mulch and moisture.
buckeyes that I have seen over the years are 10 to
15-feet tall and as wide and are perfect for the edge of
woodland gardens. The red horse chestnut can reach
30-feet tall and the bottlebrush buckeye 10 to 12-feet
or nuts that might be formed are not to be eaten. The
blooms with bees, birds, and butterflies, however, make
these buckeyes all worthy of a prominent place in the