How to Care for a Bottlebrush Plant


The bottlebrush tree (Callistemon) is a low-growing tropical tree that blooms with bright red, bottlebrush-shaped flowers. The bottlebrush tree is closely related to the melaleuca tree. Bees, butterflies and birds all love the bottlebrush tree's flowers. There is a variety of bottlebrush tree that resembles a weeping willow. This is a popular tree in Florida, and is hardy to the warmer sections of Zone 8. The bottlebrush tree is easy to grow and maintain, as it does well in most soils and is relatively resistant to pests.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer, low-phosphorous
  • Pruning shears
  • Plant the bottlebrush tree in a sunny location. It can survive in some shade, but it will not develop its full flowering potential unless it has full sun exposure.

  • Water a recently planted bottlebrush tree frequently. Once the plant is established, it will not need regular watering. An established bottlebrush tree is tolerant of both drought conditions and the rainy season.

  • Fertilize the bottlebrush tree with a low-phosphorous fertilizer in the spring and again in the autumn. Fertilizing the bottlebrush tree helps it to maintain the color of both its bright red flowers and its dark green leaves.

  • Prune the lower branches of the bottlebrush tree to help it maintain its shape. This is especially true with the weeping varieties of bottlebrush. Try to prune only the branches that have already flowered. The bottlebrush tree's flowers only form on hardened growth, and if the branches are trimmed too early, you will be cutting off some of the flower production.

Tips & Warnings

  • The weeping varieties of the bottlebrush tree do very well if planted along the edge of a pond or lake. The extra water available to their root systems helps them develop into a striking, overhanging tree that will be covered in blooms in the spring and summer.
  • Bees are very attracted to the Bottlebrush tree's flowers. Be careful of bees when standing near a Bottlebrush tree in bloom.

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