When we were at Grinnell College a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I collected buckeyes from a huge tree on campus (you can read about it here). After reading as much as we could find online about planting buckeyes, we decided to give it a try. The most important advice was an admonition: do not let the buckeyes dry out before planting them–we hope we didn’t wait too long. Because buckeye trees have long tap roots, we used the deepest pots we could find in the shed. They need well-drained soil, so I mixed about 3 parts topsoil and 1 part sand. Their germination rate is only about 50%–kind of long odds for this gardener!–and the guidelines regarding planting depth were inconsistent. We decided to plant three buckeyes per pot at about 2 to 3 inches depth.
Several websites mentioned how rodents like to dig up buckeyes. Since the squirrels are fond of doing their own landscape designs in my pots, we cut chicken wire and put it over the top–that ought to do the trick.
I am unsure now where to keep the pots: by the back door, which faces northeast and is in shade most of the day? Or by the front door, which faces south and gets several hours of sun? I plan to throw some leaf mulch on top to protect them. In the spring we will see if our efforts were fruitful.