What are the Characteristics of a Buckeye Leaf

If you are looking to know What are the characteristics of a buckeye leaf in this article you will find all the answers you’re looking for. 

Our protagonist, known as False Chestnut, Indian Chestnut or Crazy Chestnut, and whose scientific name is Aesculus hippocastanum, is originally from Bulgaria, Albania and Greece, although today it has been naturalized in Western Europe and in some regions of the United States.

It grows to a height of 30m, and may need the same to develop.

Its leaves are webbed, with five finely toothed leaflets, and very large: if you put your hand under it, it will cover you. Its flowers appear grouped into inflorescences in the form of a conical or pyramidal panicle during spring. 

The fruit is a globose capsule and covered with soft spines that measure about 4-5cm. Unfortunately, the chestnut is not edible.

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What are the characteristics of a buckeye leaf

Opposite leaves that are palmately compound, needlelike simple leaves broad compound leaves attached at single points on the branched.

Caring for the buckeye tree

Would you like to have a copy in your garden? Welcome to the club. As soon as I saw it in a documentary, I knew I wanted to have one. 

I love webbed leaves, and if the tree is big … even more, although later I have to figure out how to get it more or less well potted (impossible task, by the way. Sooner or later it will end up on the ground).

So nothing, how do you take care of yourself? Well, to keep it in condition, you must take into account the following:

Location

It has to be placed outside, since you need to feel the passing of the seasons. 

If possible, it should be given the sun all day, but if you live in the Mediterranean, I advise you to put it in semi-shade (as long as it has more light than shade), because it will grow better.

It supports frosts of up to -17ºC, but not temperatures of more than 35ºC.

It prefers slightly acidic soils, with a pH of 6-6.5. Of course, it can grow in alkalis (pH 7) as long as it has very good drainage.

Irrigation

Frequently, does not support drought. During the summer, it will be necessary to water it 3-4 times a week, especially if you live in a climate with very hot summers; the rest of the year 2-3 weeks will suffice.

You have to use rainwater, or acidified water (in this article we explain how to lower the pH of the water).

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During spring and summer it is highly recommended to fertilize it once every 1-2 months with organic fertilizers, whether liquid or powder. Guano, manure from herbivorous animals (horse, sheep, cow) … whichever is easier for you to get.

You should put a layer of about 2cm around the tree, and mix it a little with the most superficial layer of the earth.

Pruning

It’s not necesary. Maybe cut the dry branches, and remove the withered leaves and flowers, but nothing more.

Plagues and diseases

This is a very resistant tree, but it is true that the following can sometimes affect it:

Pests

Mealybugs: if they are few, they can be removed by hand or with a stick soaked in water with pharmacy alcohol. 

In the event that the plague has spread, treat it with paraffin oil, or with Chlorpyrifos.

Red spiders: it is highly recommended to treat it with Neem Oil, but in serious cases you must use an acaricide.

White soil worms: can be treated by dusting with bacteria.

In this article you have more information to eliminate or repel worms.

Defoliating caterpillars: the same as worms.

Diseases

You can be infected by fungi, such as Guignardia aesculin, that enter the plant through wounds or cuts made during pruning. To treat it, you have to use systemic fungicides.

Can it be kept in a pot?

The answer is … no, that is, you can have it for a few years, but you will end up being forced to plant it in the garden. 

In any case, if you live in a climate like the Mediterranean, with very hot summers and rather mild winters, its growth rate will not be the same as it would be in, for example, Galicia. In fact, I can tell you that it grows slowly. 

So, if you want to have it in a pot temporarily, take note of these tips so that it grows without problems:

Substrate: if you live in a mild climate, with frost and snow in winter, you can use a universal cultivation substrate, or one for acidophilic plants; otherwise, I advise you to mix 70% akadama with 30% kyriuzuna. 

Both are substrates imported from Japan, which are normally used for bonsai, so I’m not going to fool you, they are expensive (a 14-liter bag of akadama can cost 18 euros, and one 18l kyriuzuna for 20 euros), but it is very worth it.

Location: outside, in semi-shade.

Irrigation: frequent, two or three times a week, 4 in summer, with water with a low pH (between 4 and 6).

Subscriber: it is not highly recommended if we want to keep it in a pot, but if the weather is not very pleasant, it is important. In these cases, use fertilizer for acidophilic plants.

Transplant: every two years.

How does the Horse Chestnut reproduce?

Horse Chestnut Fruits

How to have one or several copies of Horse Chestnut? Very easy: sowing its seeds.

For them to germinate they need to be cold during the winter months, so if the weather is cool, you can sow them directly in a pot with universal substrate, and let nature take its course. 

Otherwise, you should get a tupperware, vermiculite, a little natural fungicide (copper or sulfur), and of course with the seeds to be able to stratify them in the fridge for three months. You must proceed as follows:

Fill the tupperware with vermiculite.

Bury the seeds.

Sprinkle a little copper or sulfur.

Water.

Put the tupperware in the fridge (where you put the milk, sausages, etc.).

Once a week, open the tuppeware so that the air is renewed.

Once the three months are up, you can sow your seeds in pots using, for example, vermiculite.

Applications

It is mainly used as an ornamental plant, either as an isolated specimen or in alignments, but it can also be used in gel (sold in pharmacies and herbalists) as a medicinal for its interesting properties.

Related Species 

Autumn Splendor Buckeye (Aesculus x arnoldiana ‘Autumn Splendor’) – Excellent, University of Minnesota introduction, semi-glossy, emerald green foliage, red-purple fall color. Good resistance to leaf scorch. Homestead Buckeye (A. x ‘Homestead’) – Superior SDSU hybrid introduction, reddish-orange fall color, dense crown. Yellow Buckeye (A. flava) – Good foliage quality, sufficient winter hardiness. Common Horse-chestnut (A. hippocastanum) – Not hardy in North Dakota.