Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Here is a Buckeye with a bit more home landscape value than the Ohio Buckeye. Also known as Scarlet Buckeye, this tree is native to the southeastern United States from North Carolina south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to southern Illinois and northern Kentucky. More in scale with the size of most yards it grows to a height of 10 to 20 feet with a width of 10 to 20 feet. Happy in zones 4 to 8, the leaves show up in the very early spring, sometimes as early as February. Unlike the other Buckeyes, the Red Buckeye will flower well in rather dense shade, but takes on its best form when grown in full sun with some afternoon shade. The flowers are 6 inch panicles of salmon to medium red. It will start blooming when just three feet tall. When in bloom this tree attracts hummingbirds and bees. In fact, it is an important source of food for hummingbirds in the months before most other plants are in flower.
The coarse, open structure and the light brown, flaky bark of the Red Buckeye is quite attractive and offers great winter landscape interest. This tree is good to plant at the edge of a woodland garden, near a patio, or as the focal point at the curve of a path. It is especially pretty when under-planted with early spring wildflowers. The lower branches can be removed to allow for clearance beneath the crown, but the tree looks its best planted in the open to allow branches to fully develop to the ground.
Red Buckeye Choices
Humilis is a low or prostrate shrub with small panicles of red flowers. Atrosanguinea has deeper red flowers