Bottlebrush Growing Guide

Callistemon species, Callistemon citrinus and Callistemon viminalis


Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil enriched with compost or other organic matter.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Varies with species.


Boosting soil fertility results in bigger, better flower clusters in heavy-flowering improved bottlebrush cultivars. Apply a balanced organic fertiliser twice yearly, once in spring and again in early summer.


Single Plants: 1.50m (4' 11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 1.50m (4' 11") with 1.50m (4' 11") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Bottlebrush plants can be started from seed, but it is much faster to begin with a purchased plant. Set out in early spring and keep moist until vigorous new growth appears. In early summer, non-blooming stems are easy to root in moist potting mix. Spacing requirements vary according to the type grown. Check plant tags for a cultivar’s mature width or when planting as a hedge. Many new dwarf bottlebrush plants can be grown in 35 cm (14-inch) pots for a year, after which they will require more room.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Native to Australia, bottlebrushes produce lemon-scented flowers throughout the summer, which in turn attract pollinators and hummingbirds. In hospitable climates the largest types can be grown into trees by cutting out suckers that emerge around the base. Bottlebrushes make a wonderful hedge plant where adequate soil moisture can be maintained. Visit local display gardens to learn about the best bottlebrushes for your area. The vigorous plants often must be pruned to help them maintain their shape, with late summer being a good time to cut back overgrown bushes.


Bottlebrush stems are somewhat short and droopy, but they make good filler material for indoor arrangements.


Bottlebrush leaves have aromatic compounds that deter feeding by pests, so they are often trouble-free plants when grown in hospitable climates.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Bottlebrush