Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: March 23, 2006

Red Buckeye

Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

Without a doubt, this is my favorite small tree. Perhaps it's because it blooms on my birthday, perhaps it's because the deer don't bother it or because the flowers are so showy. During the first two weeks of April, this small tree will produce 10-12 inch spikes of showy red tubular flowers that draw a crowd of hummingbirds every year. Bold, palmately compound leaves add a tropical flair the rest of the season. By late summer, the tree is covered in chestnut-sized buckeyes which are often stolen by squirrels. Thus, the area around this tree is now beginning to produce a small colony. Red Buckeyes are native to the southern part of Georgia, but are hardy throughout the state. The foliage emerges red in very early spring and changes over to green as the flowers appear. They thrive best in morning sun with afternoon shade and soil that is moist, but well-drained. I prefer to plant this tree as a specimen with other partial shade plants.

Please note that all parts, including the buckeye nuts are poisonous to people and pets.

For more information on red buckeyes, visit this website.

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