The bottlebrush shrub is a low-maintenance plant that will reward you with fragrant, colorful flower displays every summer. It is a species of small trees and shrubs, some of which are native to the United States. The plants are referred to as bottlebrushes because the shrubs produce flowering spikes that resemble the scrub brush used to clean bottles and glasses. Pruning the bottlebrush shrub will help give it an attractive shape and encourage blooming. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring, and after the shrub flowers during the summer.
Start pruning in early spring after new growth begins to appear on the bottlebrush shrub. Prune the tips of the branches. Tip pruning helps to develop an attractive shape for the shrub and will also encourage new branching, which creates a thick shrub with healthy flowers.
Prune branches that appear near the base of the bottlebrush shrub. Pruning branches will help create a balanced appearance and prevent the shrub from growing lopsided and uneven. Prune any lower branches that fork to encourage new branches to grow up and out, giving the shrub a weeping appearance.
Prune the ends off the higher branches throughout the growing season. Make sure to prune the inside branches of the shrub to open up and lighten the inside. If the inside of the shrub becomes too dense, sunlight won't be able to reach the inner branches and the plant won't maintain good health.
Prune the shrub again in late August after its flowers have faded. Prune just behind the flower spikes. Deadheading will help keep the shrub lush and full, and will increase flowering during the following summer. Cut back the older branches, leaving younger sprouts and encouraging new growth.
Stop pruning at the end of the growing season. Pruning closer to the arrival of winter will leave the plant vulnerable.