Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Zone
Zones 8, 9, 12-31, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Callistemon citrinus

Lemon Bottlebrush
Myrtaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

CALLISTEMON

Fast growing, with colorful flowers carried in dense spikes or round clusters consisting mainly of long, bristle-like stamens—hence the common name “bottlebrush.” Attractive to hummingbirds. Flowers are followed by woody capsules that can last for years and may resemble rows of beads pressed into bark.

Some bottlebrushes are naturally dense and compact (making good informal hedges); others are sparse and open (can be pruned up to become small trees). Those with pliant branches can be grown as informal espaliers. Very little routine pruning is needed—just remove any weak or dead branches after bloom or before spring growth flush. Don't cut into bare wood beyond leaves—plant may not send out new growth. Generally found in moist ground in their native Australia, they withstand waterlogged soil. Normally tolerant of saline or alkaline soils, they sometimes suffer from chlorosis. Often severely damaged at 20°F/–7°C.

Callistemon citrinus

From Australia. Most commonly grown bottlebrush; most tolerant of heat, cold, and poor soils. Massive shrub to 10–15 ft. tall and wide, but with staking and pruning in youth easily trained into narrowish, round-headed, 20–25-ft. tree. Nurseries offer it as shrub, espalier, or tree. Narrow, 3-in.-long leaves are coppery when new, maturing to vivid green. Bruised leaves smell lemony. Bright red, 6-in.-long brushes appear in waves throughout the year. There are also reddish purple forms that fade to lavender, and a pink variety.

You Might Also Like...

Agapanthus africanus ‘Albus’

Similar to species, but with lovely blooms of pure white.

Crinum and x Amarcrinum

Native to many warm and tropical parts of the world. Lush foliage and lilylike flowers of impressive s...

Citrus (Calamondin) 'Variegata'

Fruit looks like tiny (3/4—1 1/2-in.) orange. Hundreds hang from this tall, columnar plant (8&mdash

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement