Nah, it won’t spread

No way it’ll spread. Several Bottlebrush buckeyes have been in the garden for years, with no evidence that the shrubby, small tree would become a suckering, wide spreading clump. Until this week, when I showed my wife what I first thought were the many seedlings surrounding the clumped stems.

New foliage of bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

I then looked closer to see if the roots were substantial enough to dig and share, only to discover that each “seedling” was, in fact, connected by stems running along the ground (above). Each had several points where it was rooted, so I’ll be able to snip and pot as many as I’d like. But, I’d like the buckeye to spread out a bit, so many or maybe all will be left undisturbed. Surprises in the garden never end.

The bottlebrush is a delightful shrub, with superb foliage and white blooms (above) that swallowtails adore. Of course, I’m overjoyed to have at least a few tiny trees that can be planted along this wooded border to further enclose the garden, but I’ll let the roots develop a bit more.

Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

The bottlebrushes and horse chestnuts (Aesculus) have not progressed far enough into leaf to be one of my everchanging, weekly favorites, but the emerging flower stalks and deeply veined leaves are quite interesting. And now, I can verify that the buckeye will sucker to form a spreading clump, just not in a hurry.

Red horse chestnut (Aesculus x carnea)
Variegated European horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum ‘Memmingeri’)

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Lucy says:

    Thanks for this! It was interesting.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Gee, that is news to me. I sort of expect all species of the genus to be complaisant, . . . like our native species is. Well, I should know that ours is very distinct from the others. I always thought that red horsechestnut had potential as a street tree because of its cooperative roots, which should not sucker, and its lack of big seeds. I suspect that there are reasons for its lack of popularity, but I do not know what they are.

    1. Dave says:

      I expected the bottlebrush buckeye to spread, but in 5+ years it did not. Now, I’m happy it is and possibly I’ll chop a couple to spread around.

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