Aesculus are small group of small to medium trees and include what we call the ‘Horse chestnut’, ‘Conker Tree’ and ‘Buckeye’, in themselves a useful group of trees.
However with a number of varieties and cultivars available for sale they are well worth a look as a group of garden worthy plants.
The plant that we commonly call Aesculus x carnea is a hybrid, and with very attractive flowers in spring makes a wonderful large feature tree in the garden. Although seen as being new, it has been around since the early 1800s.
All Aesculus are small spreading shrubs or trees that will vary in height. It is the cultivars that have the showy flowers .
These are a low maintenance group of trees, they do require a well drained but fertile soil. Very easy care once established.
Pruning is best carried out from an early age so that the trees develop a good sound structure. As nearly all species develop drooping branches that can reach to the ground, they are sometimes pruned to ‘lift’ the tree of the ground.
All species grow reasonably quickly when first planted, however growth rate slows as they get older.
Popular Aesculus varieties include :
- Aesculus hippocastanum is the ‘Horse Chestnut’
- A. hippocastanum ‘baumannii has double white flowers and does not set seed.
- Aesculus parvifolia is the ‘Bottlebrush Buckeye’, white flowers followed by red berries.
- Aesculus californica is the ‘Californian buckeye’, this is a small multi trunked tree to a small shrub, the more moisture the larger and more upright it becomes. White flowers with pink stamens. Very drought tolerant.
- Aesculus glabra is ‘Ohio Buckeye’ also known as the Sinking Buckeye.
- Aesculus indica is the Indian Horse Chestnut, smaller growing than A.hippocastanum but still a large tree. Pink flushed flowers and good yellow to orange fall tones.
- Aesculus x neglecta erythroblastos, Interesting tree with pink ‘shrimp’ colored new foliage turning to pale green.
Aesculus x carnea also has a number of varieties including :
- Aesculus x carnea ‘Briotii’ with deep red flowers.
- Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’, pink flowers with a yellow centre.
- Aesculus x carnea plantieriensis, large tree with pale pink flowers.
- The species can be propagated from seed.
- Cultivars are interesting in that they can also be propagated from seed. However as many cultivars are close to sterile, plants are usually propagated by grafting from the more desirable forms to a sturdy rootstock.
Aesculus are available for sale from the following specialist nurseries.
CAMELLIA FOREST NURSERY – phone: 919-968-0504 fax: 919-960-7690
9701 Carrie Road Chapel Hill NC 27516
Hardy Camellias, Magnolias Prunus mumes, Cryptomerias, Taxodiums & Primulas. We introduced many plants from Asia that give a distinguished look to the garden. Includes aesculus parviflora and aesculus x splendens.