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Red Buckeye Is a Fine Small Tree for Gardens

Virtues: Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is a tree that fits into small gardens, where it adds spring color with its bright red flowers. It is a favorite of hummingbirds.


Common name: Red buckeye, scarlet buckeye

Botanical name: Aesculus pavia

Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Season: Spring for flowers; summer for shade and coarse foliage

Flowers: Bright pink-red flowers open in loose, upright clusters that can reach 10 inches long in the spring. These draw hummingbirds to the garden. There is a variety that occurs naturally in central Texas that has yellow flowers.

Foliage: The green leaves emerge early in the spring and grow between three and six inches long, with a narrow oval shape. The leaves tend to drop off in late summer.

Habit: Red buckeye grows between 10 and 20 feet tall with a similar spread. It may have multiple trunks.

Origins: Aesculus pavia is native to woods and stream banks of the southeastern United States.

How to grow red buckeye: Site in full sun or part shade, in consistently moist but well-drained soil. In hot climates it needs some protection from the afternoon sun. It prefer acidic soil with good fertility. USDA Zones 4–8.

Image credit: Melissa McMasters/CC BY 2.0