Monday, October 26, 2009

other buckeyes

A lot of people are probably familiar with red buckeye (Aesculus pavia, above), which grows everywhere in our area, but there are a couple of other buckeyes that I'm trying to grow from seed this year. Bottlebrush buckeye (A. parviflora) is one of my favorite shrubs. It gets pretty big, at least 6 feet, and has dramatic white blooms.
The flowers are both delicate and coarse at the same time.
Yellow buckeye (A. flava) is a smallish tree from the western part of the state that doesn't really grow around here naturally, but there is a nice specimen in Colonial Williamsburg. By the way, CW is a great place to gather all kinds of seeds...I hope they don't mind!
You could say the flowers are 'interesting' but there's no way around it...the blooms just aren't as pretty as red buckeye.
So I collected bottlebrush seeds a couple of weeks ago, and yellow buckeye seeds within the last couple of days. The yellow buckeye seeds are quite a bit darker than the bottlebrush seeds.
Last year, I planted seeds outside in pots but none of them came up. I read somewhere that planting them in moist sand was a good way to go, so I tried that this time. I'm also keeping them in the garage (to keep critters away). I've had excellent results, with 100% germination for the bottlebrush seeds. I just planted the yellow buckeyes today so we'll see on those.

This afternoon I moved the bottlebrush seeds to a soil mix to sit for the winter. Here's a seed that I just pulled from the sand about 2 weeks after going in. The roots are emerging from cracks in the sides of the seeds. I'd recommend planting them with the 'eye' of the seed up, though it probably doesn't matter too much.
So now I've got 24 seedlings planted. I doubt that I'll need that many, so I'm sure some of them will turn up in the native plant society plant sale next spring.


Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Thank you for some great tips, I have had no luck with my chestnuts as a matter of fact none germinated.


how it grows said...

That's a shame! There's always next year though.

tina said...

Should be fun growing them. I have a bottlebrush buckeye that a friend gave me. It sprouted off from her mother plants. I am also growing the red buckeye. I like them because they grow fairly well in shade. That is a must for her. Neat roots on these huge nuts-um-buckeyes.

Dawn said...

How wonderful! I wish for some buckeye up here in Maine but no such luck, I agree with my sister, pretty cool roots.

how it grows said...

Dawn and Tina, thanks for taking the time to look at my nut-um-buckeye photos.

Janet said...

Hi Phillip, we tried to plant the Red Buckeye seeds a couple of years ago. To do this we mimic Mother Nature. Only putting the seeds part way in the soil...about half still exposed, seemed to be the best. We also put some screened type cover over them to prevent the squirrels from digging them up. We then left them in the Learning Garden behind the shed. There was 100% success. Two years later we sold them at our plant sale.
I do like the Bottlebrush -- very pretty.

how it grows said...

Thanks for the tips Janet!