Mexican buckeye

Ungnadia speciosa

Mexican buckeye is a wonderful little Texas native tree that’s a real show-stopper in late winter and early spring. It’s deciduous, and like many spring-flowering trees, it puts on a beautiful floral display for a short few weeks just as it’s putting on new leaves for the year.

The pink flowers are similar to Mexican redbud, another great small tree, but the special thing about Mexican buckeye is that it’s an understory tree that grows in bright shade.

We don’t have a lot of choices for shady yards, and that list is even shorter for plants with blooms as beautiful as these. It can also take a sunny spot in your garden, where it will get a little bigger: up to 30 feet tall.

It has a shrubby, multi-trunked habit, but you can easily tame that to a single trunk if you want it to be more tree-like.

Mexican buckeye doesn’t need too much water, but it needs a little; about as much as other shade-loving plants. It can take slightly heavy soil, but it prefers good drainage, or even soil that’s a little on the porous side. And it doesn’t need much pruning, except to give it a little shape if you want to. It’s not susceptible to cold and even has very attractive fruit, so all-in-all, you just can’t beat it!

Viewer picture goes to Jean Warner for her lovely summer-blooming crape myrtle!