Bottlebrush
(Callistemon citrinus)


Plant Description:

The Bottlebrush gets its name from the plant’s bright red flower spikes, which are loved by hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators.  The dense, evergreen foliage also provides shelter for birds.  This large shrub can be trained as a tree and makes a nice screen or specimen plant.  Although hardier than most Bottlebrushes, this species can be damaged in zone 8b during cold winters when temperatures dip into the teens, depending on placement in the landscape.

Mature Size:     10 – 15 feet tall and wide

Growth Rate:     Fast

Plant Habit:     Upright/Rounded

 

Ornamental Characteristics & Uses:

Foliage Color:     Green

Flower Color:     Red

Bloom Time:     Spring – Fall                                            (year-round in mild winter areas)

Attracts Wildlife:     Flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees & other pollinators; dense foliage attracts birds for nesting

Uses:     Hedge, Screen, Specimen, Espalier

 

Growing Requirements:

Cold Hardiness Zone(s):     8b – 11                         

Exposure:     Full Sun to Partial Shade

Water Needs:    Low 

Soil Tolerances:     Very drought tolerant once established; requires well-drained soils

Soil pH:     Slightly Acidic to Slightly Alkaline

Maintenance:     Easy/Low

 

General Care & Growing Tips:

Avoid planting in areas with high alkalinity or poorly-drained soils.  Yellowing of the new leaves indicates an iron deficiency and can be corrected using iron sulfate or iron chelate.  Otherwise, apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer each spring to maintain dark green foliage.  Prune to shape as needed.

 

Common Pests:

Root and crown rot diseases can be a problem if soil stays too moist.  A twig gall caused by a fungus can disfigure the tree. 

 

References: 

Gilman, E. F. and Watson, D. G.  (1993). Callistemon citrinus: Red Bottlebrush.  University of Florida.  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st110

Wichman, T., Knox, G., Gilman, E., Sandrock, D., Schutzman, B., Alvarez, E., Schoellhorn, R., and Larson, B. (2006). Florida-Friendly Plant List.  Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook.  University of Florida.


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