Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Finding woolly butterfly bush from Johnson City TX
July 28, 2011 - Where can I find woolly butterfly bush? They are difficult to locate in the nurseries
view the full question and answer

Need source for garlic to plant in garden in Fort Worth, TX.
September 30, 2011 - Where can I get or purchase a native Texas garlic to plant in my garden?
view the full question and answer

Seeds of Pinus engelmanii for the Netherlands
January 30, 2010 - I am living in the Netherlands Europe, I hope that you can help me. A friend of mine has a beautiful Pinus Engelmannii and I am looking for seeds of this pine. Have you any idea where i can buy them? ...
view the full question and answer

Where plants can be purchased in Jennings, FL
June 07, 2008 - I would like to know where I can buy some plants to plant on my property to grow?
view the full question and answer

Endangered plants of Maryland
March 06, 2009 - My high school would like to plant endangered plant species of Maryland in our wetlands, but we do not know where we can acquire these plants. Do you know of a place where we could buy endangered plan...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.