How to Grow Aesculus hippocastanum Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Baumanns Horse Chestnut Tree

Aesculus hippocastanum is also known as the Horse chestnut tree.

It is a stately flowering tree that produces delicate white flowers in the spring and spiny green seedpods in the summer.

Aesculus hippocastanum tree in bloom

Aesculus hippocastanum tree in bloom, photograph by Svetlana Lisova; CC.

Its nuts are beloved by kids who tie the 'conkers' to string and use them for 'conker fights'. For any chance in a fight the conkers must first be hardened. This can be done by keeping in a dark place for about a year. Many escalate the hardening process by soaking in vinegar and baking in an oven.

Horse Chestnut Conkers

Horse Chestnut, also known as Conkers, photograph by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

Horse chestnut trees are usually planted in the front yard as an eye-catching centrepiece, or in the backyard as a source of shade for those working in the garden all day and to create areas for shade-loving plants.

The tree does drop seed pods in the autumn, so those who don't want to go through the trouble of picking them up might prefer a different tree.

Unlike regular chestnuts, the fruit of the horse chestnut tree is inedible to humans. The pollen from this tree may cause allergic reactions.

Horse Chestnut Leaves

Common Horse Chestnut Leaves, photograph by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

Aesculus hippocastanum Growing Guide

Like most trees, Aesculus hippocastanum needs plenty of room to grow. Choose an empty area in your garden so the tree has plenty of space to spread out its roots.

The horse chestnut tree should be place in an area of direct sunlight where it can get at least six hours of sunlight daily.

Horse chestnut trees do well in moist areas, so this tree is ideal for people who live in areas that get a reasonable amount of rainfall.

To plant a horse chestnut tree, first dig a hole that's three times the size of the tree itself. Place the sapling in the ground, and then add soil to keep it steady. Fill the rest of the hole with water. Once the water has absorbed, add some compost and the rest of the soil.

Aesculus hippocastanum tree Autumn

Aesculus hippocastanum tree in the autumn showing Fall colour, Image by Andreas Rockstein; CC.

Aesculus hippocastanum Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Aesculus hippocastanum
  • Common Name: Baumanns horse chestnut, horse Chestnut, Common Horse Chestnut, Conker tree
  • Growing Zone: USA: 4 to 7, UK Zone H7 – Hardy in extreme winters.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Tree

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 600 to 900
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 420 to 600
  • Time of Bloom: Spring
  • Flower Details: White
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Oval, Pyramidal

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Grows slowly
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Medium
  • Propagation: Seed or grafting
  • How to Prune: Requires little to no pruning. In some cases hard pruning can be disruptive.
  • Pests: horse chestnut scale and leaf-mining moths
  • Diseases: A canker,Coral spot, leaf spot

Further Information

  • Can Attract:
  • Tolerant of: Rabbit
  • Best Garden Use: Firewood, Pollard, Specimen, Large Garden and Street Tree

  • Family: Sapindaceae (lychee and Soapberry)
  • Closely Related Species: Other family members include Xanthoceras sorbifoliu, Japanese Maple, and Acer Griseum.
    • Miscellaneous: Attractive foliage, Non-native to North America, Naturalizing, Blooms are very showy
    • Genus Detail: Aesculus
    • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

    Baumanns horse chestnut

    Aesculus hippocastanum photograph by Nacho.

    I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Aesculus hippocastanum. You may also enjoy the following tree growing guides:

    How to grow Dragon tree, Holly Oak, and Chinese Pistaches.