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Callistemon citrinus - (Curtis.)Skeels.

Common Name Crimson Bottlebrush, Red Bottlebrush, Lemon Bottlebrush
Family Myrtaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Swamps and along the sides of rocky streams[260].
Range Australia - New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Callistemon citrinus Crimson Bottlebrush, Red Bottlebrush, Lemon Bottlebrush

Callistemon citrinus Crimson Bottlebrush, Red Bottlebrush, Lemon Bottlebrush


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Bloom Color: Red. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early spring, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Callistemon citrinus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4.5 m (14ft) by 2.5 m (8ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. lanceolatus.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Bog Garden; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Tea

The leaves are a tea substitute and have a delightfully refreshing flavour[144].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Dye  Wood

A tan dye is obtained from the flowers, it does not require a mordant, and is green when mordanted[168]. Other members of this genus can also be used[168]. A cinnamon dye is obtained from the leaves[168]. Other members of this genus can also be used[168]. Wood - hard, heavy, tough, close grained, but too small for economic use. Used for tool handles etc[154]. It is also used for fuel[272].

Special Uses

Espalier  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Espalier, Pollard, Screen, Standard, Specimen. Succeeds in any soil, tolerating both water-logging and drought[260]. Requires a fertile well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun[200]. Succeeds in a hot position in dry soils. Accepts very wet conditions in Australian gardens[157]. Prefers an acid soil, not doing very well on chalk[182]. This species requires cold greenhouse treatment in most of Britain but it is possibly hardy in the milder areas of the country although even there it is best grown against a wall[1, 11]. Plants are hardy to at least -7°c in Australian gardens[157]. Another report says that it tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c in Britain[184] and grows well in warm positions in southern gardens. Small-leaves forms of the plant are hardier than the type and can tolerate temperatures down to about -10°c[260]. The cultivar 'Splendens' is said to be particularly good in Britain and is possibly more hardy than the type[202]. Plants are very tolerant of pruning, even old plants will regenerate if pruned back hard into the old wood[K]. The species C. linearis, C. rigidus and C. subulatus are all closely allied to this species and are somewhat hardier[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. The leaves vary considerably in shape and are lemon scented[182, 184]. The leaves, when pressed, emit a refreshing scent of lemon[245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:Attracts birds, Not North American native, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - surface sow in February in a shaded part of the greenhouse[78]. Cover with paper and stand the pots in a few centimetres of water until germination takes place[200]. Remove from the water tray as soon as the seed germinates. Seedlings are prone to damp off and must be watered with care and kept well ventilated[200]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood,7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Poor results[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

lisa   Sat Jul 29 2006

it is very good but i was just wondering if their was any information on the mechanisms used for pollination for this plant (bottlebrush)??? thankyou

plants for a future

lilaclady   Thu Apr 26 2007

I am new to gardening and don't know if I should dead head this bush. No one seems to say on the sites I've searched. I love it sao I want as many flowers as poss. Lilaclady

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Wed May 9 2007

Pruning this plant is very simple. We have grown it for a number of years here in Cornwall and have had good flowering even when we haven't pruned it. The books say that tip pruning young plants will help to produce a better branched shrub. Mature plants can be pruned after flowering if needed to maintain a compact habit. This pruning consists of taking out any badly placed branches, cutting back strong growth by about a half and weaker shoots by two thirds. You can also cut back plants quite severely into the wood and they will resprout successfully. Callistemons are interesting in as much as the growing point does not abort after flowering, but grows on beyond the inflorescence to produce further stem, leaf and, eventually, flowers. By leaving the plant unpruned you can have lots of flowers and still see the interesting seed capsules clustering around the lower parts of the stems.

Amanda Johnson   Mon Apr 9 2007

Hi - I have a large red bottle brush growing in my garden. I have lived here for about 3 years now, and it has only ever produced a few red "brushes". The garden was totally overgrown when I moved in, and I have never pruned this lovely plant and I am wondering whether I should trim it now or wait until later in the year? If I prune it now will I be removing any potential new brushes that it might produce this summer? I am a very amateur gardener and any useful advice would be appreciated. Many thanks Amanda

Linda Anderson   Wed Apr 25 2007

I would like to know how to look after this plant ie: how do I prune it or do I at all

e.m   Mon May 21 2007

i would just like to no what the bottlebrushes wood is used for, and make it is made in to.


shaun   Wed Jun 6 2007

it is very good but i was just wondering if their was any information on the mechanisms (adaptations) for pollination for this plant (bottlebrush)??? thankyou

aaron   Fri Feb 1 2008

i would like to add that all spcies of callistemon and their sister genus grevillea can be used as a sweet tea by immersing their flowers in warm (not hot water) and were used by australian aboriginals as a refreshing bushtucker treat

Frances Liloia   Tue Dec 16 2008

I just bought 3 bottle brush plants. I live in florida. Two were dead. But the guy said they would come back. Will they?

jenny millburn   Wed Mar 25 2009

it is very good but i was just wondering if their was any information on the mechanisms (adaptations) for pollination for this plant (bottlebrush)??? thankyou

A.R Wadoo   Thu Jan 14 2010

The plant has been introduced in the valley of Kashmir India successfully.I have seen it flowering in the lawns of my friend Mr G.H.Rather. It has been growing in my lawn for the last 4 years but has not flowered as yet. AR Wadoo

Nadia   Sun Jan 24 2010

I have brought the plant in before the big frost and snow in December but it does not like it it has lost lots of leaves and looks very bare!! and suggestions for indore care?, Thanks Nadia

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