Aesculus pavia, commonly called red buckeye, is a deciduous clump-forming shrub or small tree with an irregular rounded crown. It typically grows 10-20’ tall. Showy, erect, 4-10” long panicles of red to orange-red, narrow-tubular flowers appear in spring. Palmately compound, shiny, dark green leaves are attractive in spring and summer. Smooth, light brown, globular (1-2” diameter) seed capsules encase 1-3 shiny seeds called buckeyes that ripen in the fall. Seeds are poisonous and are avoided by most wildlife. Red buckeye is native to the eastern and southern United States. It can be found in low rich wooded valleys, bluff bases, on wooded slopes, along streams and in hammocks and swamps. Flowers are attractive to ruby-throated hummingbirds. It is easily grown from seed and it may flower as early as the second or third year. Hardiness zones 4-9.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite.
- Put the soil in a pot. The seeds produce a long taproot so use a deep pot that can accommodate the taproot.
- Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Sow the seeds 1 inch deep.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. The seeds take 1-4 weeks to germinate.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.