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TREES & Plants

Bottlebrush buckeye

Bottlebrush buckeye is a handsome shrub that has memorable long fluffy white flower clusters in early July. It is useful as an understory planting in woodland gardens, as a specimen plant, or in a shrub border. The wonderful, coarse-textured, dark green compound leaves turn rich buttery yellow in the fall. This is a large shrub that tends to sucker and, over time, will grow twice as broad as it is high, so it should only be used in large-scale plantings. 

Botanical name: 
Aesculus parviflora (syn. Aesculus macrostachya)
All Common Names: 
Bottlebrush buckeye
Family (English): 
Soapberry (formerly Horse-chestnut)
Family (Botanic): 
Sapindaceae (formerly Hippocastanaceae)
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial shade (4-6 hrs indirect light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Alkaline soil
  • Clay soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Size Range: 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Spreading
  • Thicket-forming
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Screen
Time of Year: 
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
More Information: 

Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)photo: John Hagstrom

Size and Form

8 to 12 feet high and 12 to 15 feet wide; thicket-forming

Tree & Plant Care

Drought sensitive; water in dry periods.
Use only in large-scale plantings. Ideal for understory planting in native and woodland gardens.
Flowers on old wood, prune after flowering.

Disease, pests and problems

Leaf scorch is possible in sunny locations.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the Southeastern US.

Branching

Wide-spreading suckering shrub with attractive open slender branching.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape and texture

Opposite, leaves compound (5 to 7 leaflets); about 3 to 8 inches long
Medium to dark green, turning buttery yellow in fall. 

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Bottlebrush-shaped clusters of delicate white flowers up to 12 inches long.
Flowers June-July

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Smooth pear-shaped nuts (buckeyes) in fall with bright yellow husk
Buckeyes should not be eaten.