Description & Overview

‘Mystic Ruby™’ Buckeye is a co-owned introduction by Mike Yanny of JN Plant Selections LLC and Johnsons Nursery. It’s a red-flowering Buckeye that arose from a crop of Aesculus glabra, the Ohio Buckeye that had hybridized with Aesculus pavia, the Red Buckeye. It was a chance seedling found by our field production manager, Aaron Jambura, who discovered the plant here at Johnsons Nursery in 2003.

What makes this plant unique are its beautiful pinkish-red blossoms on a tree that is considerably more cold-hardy than other red-flowered Aesculus.

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No - Variety of North American Native

USDA Hardiness Zone: to Zone 4

Mature Height: 30-35 feet

Mature Spread: 15-20 feet

Growth Rate: Moderate

Growth Form: Oval

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Adaptable. Well-draining, average soils.

Flower: Dark Green

Bloom Period: April - May

Foliage: Dark Green

Fall Color: Insignificant

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Produces a fair number of nuts.

Suggested Uses

Aesculus x bushii is a hybrid buckeye of Aesculus glabra and Aesculus pavia noted for its showy, pinkish-red flowers and dark green foliage. ‘Mystic Ruby™’ also has better cold hardiness than other red-flowering buckeyes.

This tree will obtain a medium-sized stature, topping off at around 30’-35’ with an oval canopy outline, making it suitable as a small shade tree. Use ‘Mystic Ruby™’ as a landscape specimen or in groupings for a fantastic floral display.

Many other Buckeyes are plagued and defoliated by late-season leaf blotch, giving Buckeyes a bad reputation. However, this selection is much cleaner.

Mystic Ruby™ Buckeye is a red-flowering Buckeye discovered at Johnson’s Nursery. Considerably hardier with pinkish-red, huge flowers, blooming in...

Wildlife Value

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are frequent visitors of the nectar-rich flowers of Aesculus. Several species of bees also frequent the blossoms, such as long-tongued bees, bumblebees, mason bees, long-horned bees, and anthophorine bees. These floral visitors primarily seek nectar, although some bees collect the pollen.

One of the parent plants of ‘Mystic Ruby™,’ Aesculus glabra, the Ohio Buckeye, is sometimes selected as a summer roosting site for the threatened Tricolored Bat.

Maintenance Tips

Pruning is best done during late fall, winter, or early spring when the tree is dormant.

We invite you to check out the Arborist For Hire lookup at the Wisconsin Arborist Association website to find an ISA Certified Arborist near you.

Mystic Ruby™ Buckeye is a red-flowering Buckeye discovered at Johnson’s Nursery. Considerably hardier with pinkish-red, huge flowers, blooming in...
Mystic Ruby™ Buckeye is a red-flowering Buckeye discovered at Johnson’s Nursery. Considerably hardier with pinkish-red, huge flowers, blooming in...

Pests/Problems

Few insects are known to feed on the ‘Mystic Ruby™’ destructively. There are a few insects, such as leafhoppers, mealybugs, and thrips, that will feed on the foliage of Aesculus glabra, half of the parentage that makes up ‘Mystic Ruby™,’ so it is certainly possible they may also feed on this cultivar, although that is just speculation.

While the deer will avoid browsing on your ‘Mystic Ruby™,’ you should have a trunk guard in place throughout winter to prevent damage from buck rub.

Leaf Lore

The word Aesculus was borrowed from an old Latin word meaning “a variety of oak tree” or describes an oak that bears edible acorns. It first appeared in text in 1809. To be clear, Aesculus is not a variety of Quercus, the genus for Oak. The genus Aesculus has approximately 13 species of deciduous trees and shrubby plants from North America, Europe, and Asia. Species growing near other species of Aesculus hybridize readily, providing further variation and, at times, can make identification tricky.

In the United States, our native Aesculus are commonly called “buckeye,” a name derived from their shiny seeds’ resemblance to a deer’s eye. Another common name is “horse chestnut,” which arose from the belief that these trees were closely related to members of the edible chestnut genus Castanea. The leaf scar on Aesculus also resembles a horseshoe, which likely contributed to the origin of the name “horse chestnut.”

Aesculus is a part of the soapberry (Sapindaceae) family. It’s only distantly related to the Castanea genus.

Companion Plants

Use ‘Mystic Ruby™’ as a small shade tree or medium-sized landscape specimen. Consider pairing with ‘Mystic Vision’ for a different color flower and spectacular fall color to compensate for this buckeye’s lack of an autumnal array. If you want to plant directly underneath your buckeye, consider shade-hardy plants that will thrive under its canopy, such as Spikenard, Solomon’s Seal, and Zig Zag Goldenrod.

Mystic Ruby™ Buckeye is a red-flowering Buckeye discovered at Johnson’s Nursery. Considerably hardier with pinkish-red, huge flowers, blooming in...
miles minter avatar

Written by Miles Minter