Pretty in Pink: The Red Horse Chestnut, Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’ …

Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’

Dodging raindrops between appointments yesterday as I ran up the entryway walk, I couldn’t help but stop when I noticed the loud hum of bumble bees, hard at work in the pretty, pink blossoms of my horse chestnut tree (Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’). Rainy, cool weather has prolonged the bloom period of this lovely new addition to my garden, giving us all more time to enjoy her late-spring beauty. Planted a year and a half  ago —with Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’ to back up her gorgeous yellow-throated rose flowers— this young tree has already begun to develop the lush, rounded canopy for which she’s known. Bumble bees love this flowering tree and —if I’m standing still long enough— I can also catch hummingbirds darting between branches as they sample fresh, sweet nectar from her enormous (7-10 inch panicle size) blossoms…

Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’ (that tall dark and handsome fella in the background is  Fagus sylvatica ‘Riversii’)

Hardy in USDA zones 4 – 7, Aesculus x carnea cultivars grow slowly; eventually reaching 30 – 35 ‘ in height, with a similar spread. Because of its smaller size, red horse chestnut makes an excellent and adaptable shade tree for smaller landscapes. Although it isn’t fussy about soil type, horse chestnuts do prefer to be sited in full sun, with even moisture and deep, well-drained soil.

Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’

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9 Replies to “Pretty in Pink: The Red Horse Chestnut, Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’ …”

  1. Laurrie

    Wow, what a showy tree. Do the leaves scorch in late summer the way the big horse chestnuts do?

    This is a really pretty tree in bloom!

  2. Michaela

    @ Laurie, The red horsechestnuts are also prone to the same blight. However, this particular cultivar is known for fungal resistant foliage (one of the reasons I chose it). The other issue with this tree is aphids and ant-farming of aphids. I solve that problem with sticky tape at the bottom of the tree. Once lady bug larvae emerge in spring, they take care of the aphids.
    I love this cultivar and think the leaves are lovely throughout summer. Planting in a well-drained but moist site also helps. I am quite fond of horsechestnut trees in general.
    ;) Nice to hear from you. M

  3. Debbie

    Lovely plant! Wish it would grow here! Our water here has killed every tree I’ve tried to plant!

    Also, wish I could read your posts better! Light gray text on white is nearly invisible to some of us!!


  4. Michaela

    @ Debbie, Yes it is a beautiful tree. I’m sorry to hear about your water troubles.
    I’m also sorry to hear that you are having trouble reading the text. I switched to gray because a few people complained about the black being to harsh against the white! Various browsers read the colored fonts differently. I’m experimenting with what works best in Safari, Firefox and Chrome and the range is surprising to me. I thank you for your feedback! Hopefully, I’ll end up with something that the majority of people can comfortably read. I don’t want to strain your eyes!

  5. Michaela

    Hey there Zeke. You know, I believe that there are some little horsechestnuts forming out there! I thought this cultivar was fruitless as well, but it looks like the tree has proven me wrong. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I’ll let you know what develops (unless the squirrels beat me to the evidence). Hope your horsechestnut is equally lovely. Did you get the same cultivar, or did you choose another? M

  6. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Wow a little colour sure goes a long way to showing off the blossom’s form, doesn’t it? Can’t say that I’ve ever really LOOKED at a Chestnut in bloom before, but now I wonder if they’re perhaps related to the Catalpa?

  7. Ingrid Hafner-Sievers

    I have just recently fallen in love with this tree after traveling to Columbus, OH where there is an abundance of red horsechestnuts! I would like to purchase one for my yard. Any ideas where I could find one? I live in Chittenden County and have not yet found a nursery that carries them. Would love to buy local if possible.

  8. Michaela

    @ Ingrid – I share your love! I purchased my Red Horse Chestnut at Walker Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. I believe they had some in stock when I last checked. You may want to call ahead to be certain, before making the drive.
    Good luck! xo M

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