Content Detail

Red buckeye is quite lovely in spring, with its tall clusters of red flowers. It is a small tree, able to be planted under power lines. May be difficult to find in nursery trade

  • Family (English) Soapberry (formerly Horse-chestnut)
  • Family (botanic) Sapindaceae (formerly Hippocastanaceae)
  • Planting site Residential and parks, Under utility lines
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Mature height 15-20 feet
  • Mature width 15-30 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Road salt
  • Season of interest late spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Red
  • Shape or form Oval, Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Transplants well No
  • Planting considerations Messy fruit/plant parts
  • Wildlife Browsers, Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Small mammals
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Native to the southern United States, up into the southern tip of Illinois.

Bark color and texture: 

Bark is dark brown, relatively smooth, and flaking off with age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

The opposite leaves are palmately compound with five leaflets and 3 to 6 inches long. Leaves are handsome, dark green in summer with minimal fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Terminal clusters of carmine-red flowers are 4 to 8 inches long.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Shiny, brown nuts (buckeyes) form in a smooth, oval husk. Buckeyes should not be eaten.

Plant care:

Red buckeye is best sited in part shade. Supply adequate moisture in full sun situations.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Powdery mildew and leaf blotch are potential problems.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift