En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - February 11, 2011

From: Rochester, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Propagation of Aesculus parvifolia from Rochester MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Aesculus parvifolia. I purchased one plant in spring 2010---it's about 3 ft tall. How might I propagate from this one plant, or should I buy another?

ANSWER:

 As you can see from this USDA Plant Profiles map, Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush buckeye) doesn't grow natively in Michigan at all, but rather in 3 southeastern states, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington DC. You say you purchased this plant, did you purchase it locally? We realize that many people assume that if a plant is purchased locally it will grow locally, but this is not always the case. From this article from Floridata, you can get more information, including the fact that it is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8. Since Oakland County appears to be Zone 5b, it could certainly survive there. However, from this University of Connecticut page on the Bottlebrush buckeye, note this comment: "in the northeastern United States, fruit set is rare due to an insufficiently long growing season."

Warning: Seeds and foliage of Aesculus species are poisonous to humans if eaten.

If you follow the plant link above, you can read our webpage on this plant. From the section on Distribution on that page:

"Native Distribution: C. GA to AL & SC
Native Habitat: Rich, mesic woods; moist ravines"

We learned from this webpage that propagation of this plant is not easy under the best circumstances:

"Description: Seeds should be planted as soon as possible after they are collected and never allowed to dry out. Softwood cuttings under mist root in fair percentages. The commercial method of propagating bottlebrush buckeye is root cuttings.
Seed Collection: Seeds dry and shrivel quickly.
Seed Treatment: Minimal cool stratification (30 days) seems beneficial."

Your original question was whether to propagate this plant or buy another. As it appears that propagation could be difficult for you, and you feel that the plant will do well in your garden, purchasing another might be a better choice.

The first three pictures below were taken in Durham NC and Philadelphia PA. The last one was taken in Cass County, TX, which is in northeast Texas and is a wooded area with acidic soil.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Aesculus parviflora


Aesculus parviflora


Aesculus parviflora


Aesculus parviflora

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for Acer leucoderm (chalk maple)
January 19, 2009 - Do you know where I can purchase a chalk maple (Acer leucoderme)?
view the full question and answer

History of plant Poliomintha longiflora
October 01, 2008 - My question is about the known history of a plant Poliomintha longiflora. In the 1930's (according to my grandmother) in any Mexican market in Texas you could buy this dried plant then known as Wild ...
view the full question and answer

Sophora seeds to give away
April 13, 2016 - When we moved to TX years ago we bought a mountain laurel so we could have the beautiful purple flowers and were disappointed when the flowers every year were white (with a few purple ones here and th...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for an April wedding in Baltimore
December 11, 2009 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, Thank you for your help. Our niece wants native wildflowers blooming at her wedding on April 17, 2010 which will be at a family home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland between Ba...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lilacs for wedding bouquet in July in Salt Lake City
May 07, 2010 - My friend's daughter wants to have lilacs in her wedding bouquet, but she is not getting married until July 15th. I realize lilacs are spring flowers, but will there be anywhere in the U.S. that lila...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center