Callistemon citrinus: Bottlebrush tree

Family: Myrtaceae
Common name: Meleleuca citrina, Crimson bottlebrush, Common red bottlebrush, Scarlet bottlebrush, Bottlebrush tree

Who wouldn’t want a garden tree full of glowing red, fuzzy flowers that look like bottle brushes?! Bottlebrush tree, a native of Australia is now grown extensively all over the world. Bottlebrush trees are technically shrubs that grow to a height of about 5 meters with small leathery leaves and distinct cylindrical red inflorescence.

The trees favor moist soil, though some variants are drought-resistant. Water young plants frequently, reducing the frequency once they grow and settle into the new soil. Spreading mulch around the trunk can prevent water evaporating too fast, drying up the roots.

The flowers attract butterflies and small birds because of the sweet nectar. Bottlebrush trees are hardy and adaptable, and can take to light or hard pruning depending on where it’s grown. Though the most common variant has red flowers, there are other variants with yellow, white, orange and green flowers. Once the tree is fully grown, it needs very little maintenance in the form of occasional fertilizers. The roots of Bottlebrush tree is used to in making herbicides.

Propagation is from seeds, suckers growing from the sides of the trees or from stem cuttings.

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