Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees
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—the 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 viminalis
Shrub or small tree with pendulous branches. Fast growing to 20–30 ft. tall, with 15-ft. spread. Leaves narrow, light green, 6 in. long. Bright red brushes appear from late spring into summer, scattered bloom rest of the year. Not for windy, dry areas. As a tree, needs staking, thinning to prevent tangled, top-heavy growth. Leaves tend to grow toward the ends of long, hanging branches.
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