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How to care for a bottlebrush plant

Updated April 13, 2018

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. The bottlebrush tree is easy to grow and maintain, as it does well in most soils and is relatively resistant to pests. In the UK, plant the bottle brush in a sheltered, sunny location.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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 heavy rainfall.

  3. Fertilise the bottlebrush tree with a low-phosphorous fertiliser in the spring and again in the autumn. Fertilising the bottlebrush tree helps it to maintain the colour of both its bright red flowers and its dark green leaves.

  4. 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.

  5. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

  • Fertiliser, low-phosphorous
  • Pruning shears

About the Author

Drue Tibbits

Drue Tibbits is a writer based in Central Florida, where she attended Florida Southern College. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur and Your Home magazines. She has also been profiled in the Florida Today newspaper and the Writer's Digest magazine. In addition to writing brochure copy for local businesses, she helps new start-up companies develop a local image presence.

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