HORSE CHESTNUT Aesculus hippocastanum
Aesculus hippocastanum is a large tree, growing to about 39 metres (128 ft) tall. The flowers are large and very attractive! It produces nut-like seeds called conkers or horse-chestnuts. Each conker is 2–4 cm (3⁄4–1+1⁄2 in) in diameter, glossy nut-brown with a whitish scar at the base.
It is widely cultivated in streets and parks throughout the temperate world, and has been particularly successful in places like Ireland, Great Britain and New Zealand, where they are commonly found in parks, streets and avenues. Cultivation for its spectacular spring flowers is successful in a wide range of temperate climatic conditions provided summers are not too hot, with trees being grown as far north as Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Reykjavík, Iceland and Harstad, Norway.
The horse-chestnut is a favourite subject for bonsai.
Hardiness zones: 3-9
Seeds per pack: 3 large fresh seeds
Germination: These seeds are best planted in the garden in the fall, to receive the natural cold of winter. They will grow in the spring. To deter squirrels and other animals from digging up the seeds, bloodmeal can be sprinkled on the surface of the soil, which also acts as a fertilizer. Re-apply a light sprinkling after heavy rains, and in the spring.