aesculus parviflora, my 4th of july fireworks

I DON”T THINK THERE’S A SHRUB that I love more than bottlebrush buckeye, or Aesculus parviflora, and even in a year when everything else has been off schedule, it remembers to shoot off its own form of fireworks right around the Fourth of July. Read more about this massive, summer-blooming Southeast native and its even bigger, later-blooming cousin ‘Roger’s Strain’. As if the summertime pyrotechnics were not enough, their gold fall color is similarly astounding, all 20-by-15 feet of it. Pow!

Categoriestrees & shrubs
    1. margaret says:

      Good choice, Kara. Keep it well watered this summer and into fall, and again next spring so it doesn’t scorch, and don’t expect wild growth right away. It often sits a moment and gets its bearings before taking off.

  1. Linda Smith says:

    Hi Margaret
    After seeing and hearing you talk about this plant, I had shrub envy. Planted a small one last month and have my heart set on another. So excited to see how they grow and hope one day to see the fireworks!!
    Happy 4th to all

  2. Burndett Andres says:

    Thanks for this post, Margaret. (I LOVE your blog!) We’re just now looking for a shrub to shield the entrance of our back garden from the street and this baby will be PERFECT…plus our local nursery has it in their catalog. Thanks again.

  3. ellen says:

    planted 12 last year and they are asking for water, every day but flowering away…..can’t wait to see them grow!

  4. Ann says:

    Oh MAN… every time this shrub comes up on your blog, I think “I want that!” But its size definitely makes it a commitment and I just haven’t found the perfect spot for it yet. But my day is *definitely* coming – thank you for bringing it back around. So gorgeous… I’m a little green myself right no. ;-)

  5. I think this would be beautiful as an understory in my new side garden as I have several smaller trees planted that will grow to be large. Thank you for the suggestion!

  6. ann says:

    As we are from Blacksmith heritage love Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree. Have heard of red flowered buckeye and would like to learn more..

  7. Chris Nicholson says:

    It is very dry here in Eastern Indiana–8 inches behind normal on the year. Fortunately we have one of the two wells on the 3rd largest aquifer in our township and don’t have to worry about water quantity. Just about the first of July I noticed the Bottlebrush Buckeye was beginning to have a few yellow leaves. I watered it slowly for about half a day and we have had a glorious explosion of flowers.

    In 1997? our daughter and husband built a new home near Columbus, Ohio and they chose a bottlebrush buckeye as part of their landscaping. Their landscape
    architect friend was delighted that they were choosing a native. He was a good
    friend of theirs who was ill and subsequently died. Fast forward to 1999–Said
    daughter was planning a change, to a “tech city” of course and she chose Seattle.
    She was emotionally attached to her shrub and since it could not go to Seattle, she offered it to us. It was brought in the back of my stationwagon, with the hatch
    opened and warning signs on the back of the car, across the West half of Ohio and 10 miles into Indiana. It took us three tries to find the proper place for it. It
    was practically destroyed by deer twice, but it survived. In 2004, at the time of
    our Golden Anniversary we had professional help designing a shade garden
    under a very old Larch and a some-what one sided pine of some strange sort
    and the bottle buckeye was incorporated. It is the star of the site!. It doesn’t
    color up in the fall as much as it would with more light but it’s lovely. In this very
    dry 2112 it has been a much appreciated performer.

    Chris N.

  8. Joyce J. says:

    I wonder if I could grow that Bottlneck Buckeye on my south-facing hill. ( It is semi-wild up there) and if it would be possible to keep it sufficiently hydrated on a steep slope.
    I have a red-flowering buckeye tree that was positively gorgeous in the spring and early summer, but is now suffering from the heat, no matter how much water it gets.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Joyce. I do have them in the sun (I am up north in Zone 5B) but I wouldn’t say it was super-dry usually. They are inclined to some leaf burn if they are toasted. I don’t know where you are or how much rain you get and so on, and how dry the spot you are considering is…

  9. Marilyn says:

    I love my bottlebrush buckeye for its large palmate leaves — a wonderful contrast to all the smaller leaved and needled shrubs in my garden. I am in zone 7B, Raleigh, NC, and mine blooms about a month before yours, early June. That would be fun if it bloomed around July 4th! Someone put up a post that deer had eaten her young buckeye to the ground. I have VORACIOUS deer who have never read the books about what they do and do not prefer, but mine have never touched any of my buckeyes. Of course, I always do put a small wire cage around young shrubs until they are about 4 feet high, and the effects of over-fertilization from the nursery are worn off. Deer love to eat things within a certain height range, and seem to prefer heavily fertilized plants. If you don’t have space for your bottlebrush buckeye to get as large as Margaret’s do, plant yours under a maple tree, with some afternoon sun. That has kept mine smaller. It has been in the ground for 4 years, and shows no signs of wanting to grow any larger than about 6 x 6 feet. It is vigorous, but I think the competition with the shallow maple roots is keeping it within bounds. Others that I have planted away from maple roots are growing much faster. I am also a fan of the red buckeye shrub, which has similar large palmate leaves, but coral-red blooms.

  10. Joyce says:

    Thanks, Margaret. I think I will try putting the buckeye on my hill, which isn’t too dry most of the time because of the runoff from the vast above! (I’m in central Maryland)

  11. Matt Mattus says:

    Thanks Margaret, We just planted one this year too. Each year, I see large specimens in other gardeners gardens, and finally, I decided that I need wait no more.

  12. margaret says:

    I love my bottlebrush. It is my absolute favorite shrub. It is in my shaded woodland and this time of year I can see it from yards away! A real showstopper.

  13. Linda Grandstaff says:

    Hi Margaret, I love your blog and have shared with my gardening sisters, biological and spiritual. I just planted a bottlebrush (or my bottle nose as my neighbor laughing calls it) after admiring a beautiful stand in our wonderful Cleveland Botanical Garden and reading about it here in the past. Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration.

  14. Linda Grandstaff says:

    I love your blog and the inspiration it provides. Just planted a bottlebrush after admiring a stand at the beautiful Cleveland Botanical Garden. Thanks,

    1. margaret says:

      You are welcome, Linda. These are great plants for gardeners and for beneficial insects/pollinators, so I am loving mine more all the time.

  15. Julie says:

    I loved this plant when I visited during your open garden days. The question I haven’t seen answered is, do the deer love it, too?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.