How can I germinate buckeye seeds?
Gather the fruit (capsules) of the buckeyes as soon as they fall to the ground. Dry the fruit for 1 or 2 days at room temperature until the capsules split, then remove the shiny, brown seeds.
The seeds of buckeyes and many tree species will not germinate until they are exposed to cool temperatures and moist conditions for 3 to 4 months. Outdoors, winter weather provides the necessary conditions to break dormancy. Gardeners can accomplish the same result by a process called stratification. Buckeyes can be stratified by placing the seeds in a moist 50:50 mixture of sand and shagnum peat moss. Suitable containers include coffee cans or large plastic jars. Punch holes in the lid of the container to provide air circulation. Stratify the seeds by placing them in the refrigerator at a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit for 120 days.
Plant buckeye seeds directly outdoors in fall or stratify seeds indoors and plant in spring. When planting, place seeds 1 to 2 inches deep.