Native to Australia, this broadleaf evergreen shrub is a member of the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that also includes clove, allspice, and eucalyptus. Plants grow up to 18′ tall and have lanceolate  leaves that are 1-3″ long, have a lemony scent when crushed, and emerge coppery before turning medium green. From spring to early summer, or periodically during the growing season, terminal clusters of crimson flowers appear.  The clusters are up to 4-5″ long, cylindrical, and consist of up to 40 flowers with 30-45 prominent stamens that give the inflorescence the appearance of a bottlebrush. The fruit that follows is a woody cup-shaped capsule about 1/3″ long. Crimson bottlebrush is very useful pruned into a hedge or planted in a container.The genus name, Callistemon, comes from the Greek words, κάλλος(kallis) meaning beautiful and στῆμα (stem) meaning stamen, referring to the dominant role of stamens in the flowers.  The specific name, citrinus, comes from the Latin word citrus, meaning citrus tree, and refers to the lemony scent of the leaves. 

Type: Flowering broadleaf evergreen shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Rounded

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Clusters of crimson flowers from spring to early summer or periodically during the growing season in warm climates

Size: 10-18′ H x 10-15′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained, neutral to acid; drought tolerant

Hardiness: Zones 9-10

Care: Prune immediately after flowering to maintain shape

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, Semi-ripe cuttings in late summer

Outstanding Selection:

‘Austraflora Firebrand’ (sprawling habit)

‘Burgundy’ (purple red flowers)

‘Endeavour; (red flowers)

‘Mauve Mist’ (mauve flowers)

‘Reeves Pink’ (pink flowers)

‘White Anzac’ (white flowers)

Photo Credit: JJ Harison, Wikimedia Commons

By Karen