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. Also known as Aesculus macrostachya.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- North America
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Acid soil,
- Alkaline soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest:
- Early summer,
- Mid summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
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.
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.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Smooth pear-shaped nuts (buckeyes) in fall with bright yellow husk.
Buckeyes should not be eaten.
Cultivars and their differences
Roger's Late Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parvilfora var. serotina 'Rogers'): Typically flowers two weeks later than the species. Flower panicles can reach 18 to 30 inches long. May be difficult to find in nurseries.