There are several buckeye tree varieties that share common traits but are different in their own way. It's a definite buckeye tree fact that they are very easy to look after and can grow, even in difficult conditions of flood or drought. But which is the best variety for you?
The problem with many Buckeye varieties is that they grow so large it makes it difficult to grow in most gardens, but there are certainly options for many different areas and spaces. There is even a buckeye plant that produces wonderful flowers, proving that you don't need a large area to enjoy a beautiful buckeye.
Buckeye Tree Varieties
Ohio Buckeye Tree - usually grows to a height of 40-60 feet. Produces green/yellow flowers. Prefers shade as a young tree but can handle all conditions as a mature tree. Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aesculus_glabra_tree.jpg
Texas Buckeye Tree - a shrub or small tree growing up to 15 feet. Grows yellow bell shaped flowers in clusters. Leaves are made up of 5-11 leaflets measuring 2.5-5 inches long.
California Buckeye Tree - can grow up to 20 feet tall. Leaves comprise 5 leaflets of around 4-6 inches in length and are very dark green and shiny. 1 inch white or pale pink flowers grow in clusters that can reach 4-8 inches long.
Yellow Buckeye Tree - is a widely adaptable tree that can reach 50-70 feet. In late spring/early summer flowers in 6 inch clusters of cream, yellow or plain pink will appear.
Red Buckeye Tree - Can reach up to 20-30 feet in height. Grows upright clusters of dark red flowers in spring. Leafs contain 5-7 leaflets per leaf that measure 3-5 inches long. There is also a dwarf variety.
Horsechestnut Buckeye - A round headed tree that attracts hummingbirds. Although it can grow up to 75 feet so not ideal for small gardens unless you transplant or heavily prune it. Individual flowers white flowers appear in summer maturing to red.
Bottlebrush Buckeye - more a large shrub than a tree, but can still grow pretty high - 10 feet or so. Produces white flowers in the shape of bottlebrushes, hence its name.
Painted Buckeye - can grow up to 20 feet. Leaves comprise 5 leaflets per leaf, that grow 4-6inches long. Grows upright clusters of bell-shaped flowers that are usually yellow, but can also be cream, pink or red.
There is also a red buckeye plant that has attractive bright red flowers, and is also known as the firecracker plant. This plant is perfect if you want a buckeye in your garden, but have little space to grow a tree.
Growing Buckeye Trees
If you want to try growing your own buckeye trees, then the fact is it will take about two years for you to have a specimen fit for transplanting. It is an easy process though if you follow these simple steps:Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ohio_buckeye_aesculus_glabra.jpg
- Wait until ripe buckeyes naturally drop from the trees in fall.
- Remove the bumpy outer casing - make sure the buckeye inside hasn't dried out.
- Plant your seed about 3 inches down in a lightly shaded position. Plant double the amount of seeds than you need - only around half will germinate.
- Mulch over the planted seeds to protect it through winter. The mulch can be removed in Spring.
- Keep the soil moist, but not wet as the seed is likely to rot.
- Once the seed has germinated water more lightly, in order to keep a steady growth, and use fertilizer once a month.
- Keep your sapling shaded in hot summer days to prevent the leaf scorch.
- Buckeyes get their name from resembling the eyes of the white tailed deer.
- In the UK something similar looking to buckeyes are called conkers that come from the Horse Chestnut tree. Both trees look very similar but are not the same tree, even though to the naked eye buckeyes and conkers look the same.
- The largest Ohio Buckeye tree measures 77 feet high, with a spread of 64 feet, and is located in Huron County. The Buckeye tree has been Ohio's state tree since 1953.
- Buckeyes are considered to be lucky, but not to eat. Buckeyes are toxic and only squirrels can eat them safely.
If you want a buckeye to eat, that doesn't come from a tree, then a sweet variety can be made using peanut butter, powdered sugar and chocolate. For a basic buckeye recipe you just need to combine peanut butter with as much powdered sugar as you think it needs to make it sweet. Roll it into balls and chill. Now you can dip it into chocolate but leave a round area bare - thus resembling a buckeye. Now there's a fact!