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Photo: Bottlebrush

Photo: Bottlebrush

General description

Callistemon is a genus of 34 species of shrubs in the family Myrtaceae, all of which are endemic to Australia. It is sometimes considered a synonym of Melaleuca, and four Callistemon species from New Caledonia were moved to that genus by Lyndley Craven and John Dawson in 1998. Callistemon species are commonly referred to as bottlebrushes because of their cylindrical, brush like flowers resembling a traditional bottle brush. They are found in the more temperate regions of Australia, mostly along the east coast and south-west, and typically favour moist conditions so when planted in gardens thrive on regular watering. However, at least some of the species are drought-resistant.

As a frost tolerant and woody plant, bottlebrushes are attractive options for home gardeners. Since they also tolerate drought and damp conditions well, they are showcased throughout landscaped lawns and gardens all over the world. The flower spikes are colorful and full of texture, and the leaves of some bottlebrush varieties are ornamental as well. Since the average lifespan for bottlebrushes is twenty to forty years, they promise beauty and blooms for many years. Although the woody shrub is low maintenance, proper care can help to ensure it continues blooming to its fullest each year.


Arrange to plant a bottlebrush shrub in full sun to maximize the amount of blooms and growth of the plant. Find a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day for best results.

Choose a well-draining soil to plant the bottlebrush. Although bottlebrushes do well in a variety of soil types, they do not take kindly to alkaline type environments. Plant the seeds during spring or summer. Cuttings from mature bottlebrushes may also be used. Do not plant other flowers or plants within five feet of sowing the seed into the soil. Since bottlebrushes tend to expand and grow quite easily, give them room and resist planting other varieties of flowers too close.


1 - 276 cm