The buckeye tree is an easily grown tree that is popular with adults and children. Buckeye trees are most famous for their seeds, which are large and brown, and are contained in seedpods which are larger than golf balls. These seedpods are also spiky and hard, but the nut inside is eagerly collected by children during the fall months.
Adults also favor the buckeye tree due to its attractive leafage and height: the buckeye tree can grow to more than 80 feet, and for this reason it is often used as an accent tree, or a background tree at the edge of a landscape.
Growing Buckeye Trees in Containers
The buckeye tree is not really suitable for growing in containers, as it has complex root systems, and is a heavy tree. However, in the early years of its life, the buckeye tree can be grown in container tubs by the side of patios, or in conservatories, before being planted in soil once it becomes big.
Seedlings can be planted in 5-gallon containers. Before planting the tree, ensure that there are plenty of drainage holes on the bottom of the container. Soil should be loose and mixed with compost or mulch before the tree is planted. Plant the seedling to a depth of around 3 inches, and mulch the ground thoroughly.
Young buckeye trees need to be grown in large, sturdy containers, as the tree has large taproots that need a lot of space in which to grow. If the tree seems to wilt or is otherwise having problems growing, you should remove the buckeye tree from the container and check the root system for diseases or lack of proper establishment.
Water the buckeye tree container regularly, and provide it with fertilizer on a frequent basis. Don't forget that it cannot grow the roots out to investigate the soil, so it is up to you to provide food and water for the buckeye tree in a container.
There may come a time when the buckeye tree starts to grow roots out of the container, either downwards through the drainage holes or upwards through the top of the soil. At this point, it is time to start looking for a place in the ground to put the buckeye tree; it can cause damage to the container if left to grow out of the pot like this. Other signs might be a large crack appearing in the container, or bulges. This is of concern, as it may prevent the buckeye tree from retaining water.
Buckeye Tree Bonsai
Although it has been stated that the buckeye tree needs a lot of space in which to grow, it can be trained as a bonsai simply by limiting that growth. If you have an already tall buckeye tree that you feel could be converted into a bonsai, start large and make small by trimming the taproot over several months. Prune vigorously, and encourage the tree to be smaller. This is one way of keeping the buckeye tree in a container.