A Dramatic Shrub for Shade

Jul 28, 2018 | Love This!

Imagine: Sometimes we can get into a rut when it comes to shade plants. Hosta and ferns, hosta and ferns. Yet there are many plants that we overlook because they aren’t used as frequently. Enter the bottlebrush buckeye…

Name: Aesculus parviflora aka blottlebrush buckeye

Type of Plant: A large shrub that’s native to the southeastern United States and is hardy from Zone 4 to 8.

Why I Love this plant: First of all, high drama. Big and bold is the way this plant grows. Secondly, the bottlebrush buckeye thrives in part to full shade. Bunnies and deer don’t bother it, and it grows so thickly that weeds are seldom a problem underneath. Add to all of these assets the fact that this plant has tall, white flowers in July and no insect or disease problems and you have a great shrub for the shady landscape.

A Word to the Wise: When I say that this plant is large, I mean really big, so don’t plant this in a small spot. Count on 6 to 10 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide. Plus it spreads. So plant this in the back of the property where you need a beautiful screening shrub in full shade…and don’t even think about trying to prune the plant to keep it smaller.

Bottlebrush buckeye is a big plant with flowers that are 10″ tall. A great shade shrub!

Since this shrub is has big leaves and dense growth, it shades out weeds and invasive vines such as bittersweet.


  1. Catherine Logan

    I am definitely going to give this a try. I have dense woods that make up the perimeter of my property. I would really like to add some screening between the trees that border the one neighbor’s back yard that I can see from my yard.

    • CL Fornari

      Just know that this plant grows WIDE. Worth the space, if you have it.

  2. Arline

    This sounds perfect for planting in front of our new deck. It’s 24 feet wide and about 8 feet above ground level. Would I plant them 8 feet apart?

    • CL Fornari

      These would probably be too big for next to a deck as they will grow 60′ tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. You would feel claustrophobic on a deck surrounded by these plants. Don’t do it.


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