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Member of :

GWAA

The Garden Writers Association


Last Update 03/20/11

Plant of the Month

Callistemon

Callistemon or Bottlebrush

Bottlebrush is a small but spectacular evergreen tree or shrub.  Of the family Myrtaceae it is well known as Callistemon or Bottlebrush Tree. It is easy to grow and loves warmth, moisture and sun. Bottlebrush is native to Australia mostly growing in moist soil in open or woodland sites.

 

Calistemon inflorescence
Bottlebrush tree inflorescence

Bottlebrush tree. Click image to enlarge.
Bottlebrush tree. Click image to enlarge.

Bottlebrush tree leaves. Click image to enlarge.
Bottlebrush tree leaves. Click image to enlarge.

Bottlebrush tree bark. Click image to enlarge.
Bottlebrush tree bark. Click image to enlarge.

Plant Facts:

Common Name:  Callistemon or Bottlebrush

Botanical Name:  Callistemon

Family:  Myrtaceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen Tree or Shrub

Origin: Australia

Zones: 9 - 11, Sub-tropical -- withstands light frost or short cold spells down to 32 if kept fairly dry in winter.

Height:  6-15'

Rate of Growth: Medium

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements:  Moderately fertile, moist, but well-drained, neutral to acidic soil

Water Requirements: Water freely spring to autumn, keep fairly dry in winter

Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly, Top-dress in spring

Light Requirements: Full sun

Form:  Shrub or tree

Leaves:  Sharp pointed mid-green

Flowers:  Grown for their colorful, terminal or axillary, bottlebrush-like spikes of numerous, long-stamened flowers in red, purple, pink, white, green or yellow.

Fruits: Small woody seed case

Pests:  Spider mites, thornbugs, scale insects, fungal stem galls and cankers, witches broom and leaf spots.

Uses:  Shrub border, water accent

Bad Habits: Pollen is an Allergen

Cost:  $$ to $$$ -- reasonable to expensive

Propagation:   Semi-ripe cuttings in late summer, surface sown seeds onto moist soil mix at 61-64F in spring.

Sources: American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, The Subtropical Garden, see also Callistemon 'Little John'

 

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