Hillier Trees | Castanea sativa | Sweet Chestnut/ ‘‘Spanish Chestnut
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Royal Horticultural Society

World Record Holder for Gold Medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Castanea sativa

"Sweet Chestnut/ ‘‘Spanish Chestnut"

Common Name

"Sweet Chestnut/ ‘‘Spanish Chestnut"


12m high x 6m wide after 25 years.


Not tolerant of lime conditions, it excels on light soils that drain freely. It is well suited for shade or open locations and doesn’t become strained in dry spells. Will grow steadily in maritime positions. Its root system is deep and strongly widespread capitalising on its available space.


Long deeply serrated leaves are a profound glossy emerald green. In the autumn these bronze into golden yellows before falling.

The Sweet Chestnut is a large, ornamental tree ideal for parklands or avenues. Its dense heavy trunk twists as it develops, creating deep fissures which spiral into the bark. Its shaggy canopy can grow very wide, and if space allows up to 25m. It is particularly strong rooted, establishing a deep and far reaching network of taper roots.

It flowers both male and female in July, with the male being creamy white which strike against the glossy green leaves. The leaves are elongated at 25cm long, shining a dense glossy green with ridged serrated edges. In the autumn they melt in shades of butter yellow and golden bronze before they fall.

The female catkins develop through the summer, growing into edible sweet chestnuts cased in vibrant green spikey jackets.

A Castanea grown from seed can take 20 years before it bears its edible chestnuts. Grafted cultivars will reduce this, showing sweet chestnuts on its branches as little as 3 years after planting. The Latin sativa means cultivated by humans.

A stunning tree whether planted as a specimen on its own, or lining an avenue with its glossy green leaves of vitality. A great alternative choice to Horse Chestnut with increases of leaf miner, leaf blotch and bleeding canker ever more present.