Pruning a bottlebrush shrub

Written by kathryn hatter
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Pruning a bottlebrush shrub
Prune a bottlebrush shrub after it finishes blossoming. (yellow bottlebrush image by Vanessa Pike-Russell from

Gardeners desiring a tall and distinctive flowering plant might choose a bottlebrush plant for their landscape. The bottlebrush shrub, named for its blossoms that resemble a bottlebrush, can grow energetically in any sunny growing area. Not only are the blossoms attractive, the leaves also add an ornamental touch to your growing area. As you grow a bottlebrush shrub, it will require light pruning to keep the plant healthy and attractive. Prune a bottlebrush plant after it finishes blossoming for best results.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pruning shears
  • Bucket
  • Balanced water-soluble fertiliser (8-8-8)

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  1. 1

    Remove the blossoms from the bottlebrush plant when they began to fade. Use the pruning shears to clip the blossoms immediately under the blossoms where they connect with the stems. Place the blossoms you remove into the bucket for collection and discard them.

  2. 2

    Examine the bottlebrush plant when it finishes blossoming. Shape the shrub at this time to avoid removing future blossoms. Use the pruning shears to remove the newest growth at the ends of the stems around the entire outer edge of the shrub. You can control how wide and how tall a bottlebrush shrub becomes by removing this outer growth. Remove only the green and tender growth and avoid removing the woody growth because this may damage the plant and reduce future blossoms.

  3. 3

    Check the base of the bottlebrush shrub looking for suckers. Suckers are the new tender stems that will appear around the base of the plant. Clip these suckers off at the soil line with the pruning shears to control the spread of the bottlebrush shrub if you desire. If you want the shrub to spread, allow some suckers to grow.

  4. 4

    Fertilise the bottlebrush shrub after pruning by mixing the balanced fertiliser with water according to package recommendations. Pour the fertiliser carefully onto the soil around the shrub, taking care not to splash fertiliser onto the plant foliage.

  5. 5

    Rejuvenate an overgrown bottlebrush shrub by trimming it back to the soil level. Perform rejuvenation pruning while the plant is dormant in the winter before new growth begins. Cut every stem back to just above the soil level with the pruning shears.

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