Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Lemon Bottlebrush, Crimson Bottlebrush
Callistemon citrinus

Family: Myrtaceae (mir-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Callistemon (kal-lis-STEE-mon) (Info)
Species: citrinus (sit-REE-nus) (Info)

Synonym:Callistemon laevis
Synonym:Melaleuca citrina
Synonym:Metrosideros citrina

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 42 photos.
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5 positives
5 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive cinemike On Mar 2, 2012, cinemike from CREZIERES
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

This very attractive shrub is surprisingly hardy.
It (with some damage) survived the winter of 2010/11 in Belfast Northern Ireland which was the coldest on record with temperatures plummeting to -16 C and staying firmly below zero for about two weeks. Tolerates poor (acid) soil as well.

Neutral donnacreation On Oct 30, 2009, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Fully cold hardy in central SC, but hard to find at local nurseries. Often bottlebrush around here is only cold hardy to 9a, although purportedly otherwise. Buyer beware!

Update April, 2011
I lost 4 bottlebrushes to ground voles winter 2011. I'm no longer certain that my cold hardy BB was callistemon citrinus. It was sold w/o tag ID and info. When I moved down here 5 years ago, I bought several BB's that died on me the first winter. They came back from the roots, which was disappointing - I wanted a BB tree, not a struggling, perennial shrub. I just bought 2 more c citrinus trees because I can't find anything else. They were Monrovia plants - beautiful and overpriced. I'm tempted to return them for a garden center credit. If they die back to ground this winter, I will provide another update. There's a lot of confusion out there concerning the cold hardiness of callistemons. I'm very hopeful that DG plantfile info is correct, and my trees remain trees.

Positive stephenp On Jun 6, 2008, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Beautiful plant, grows especially well here in western UK where it is very hardy. It loves our high humidity as long as it is given good sandy drainage.

I can only say good things about this plant, it is my favourite shrub by a long way.

Edit: following the past above (which is correct), the hardiness issue needs clearing up.

Callistemon citrinus is hardy in leaf to -6C, it will lose its leaves with lower temperatures but come back up to about -9C

It is only hardy to zone 9a. If anyones survived lower than -10C then it is most likely a different type like C. pallidus, C. rigidus, or C.sibieri.

The plants in the photos on tthe right here are C. rigidus!

Positive QCHammy On Mar 29, 2008, QCHammy from San Tan Valley, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

Grows like crazy here in Arizona with only twice weekly irrigation in the hottest part of summer. Other times requires very little supplemental irrigation. Extremely drought tolerant.

Neutral htop On Mar 6, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant. Lemon Bottlebrush, Crimson Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus) is an introduced plant that has naturalized in Louisiana and Puerto Rico.

Positive dstrick7 On Oct 26, 2006, dstrick7 from Winterville, GA wrote:

I have one (maybe never was labeled) of these - nice shrub!...especially since we can't seem to grow azaleas with any success (though I'm told some of the evergreen varieties are heat-tolerant).

Positive mungoj On Oct 27, 2003, mungoj from Murfreesboro, TN wrote:

Grows well in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with protection and a lot of mulch.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 28, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant is virtually pest-free and grows with no special care. It can flower off and on throughout the year.

Neutral eltel On Sep 2, 2001, eltel from Macclesfield, CHESHIRE (Zone 8a) wrote:

Native to Australia and New Zealand, there are about 25 species of Callistemon, which are closely related to the Melaleucas from the same part of the world. The young shoots of C. citrinus are pink or red and silky. The flower spike (the so-called bottle brush) is like a giant pipe cleaner and bright crimson.

Listed as Zone 9, C. citrinus (aka "Crimson Bottlebrush") will tolerate short periods of down to 10C. C. sieberi is the hardiest of all the species; having been recorded as surviving occasional lows of 17 C.

Neutral Terry On Aug 31, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Raising from seed will yield variable results; some will be scented, others will not.

The foliage smells lemony when crushed or bruised. Bright red flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Île De Sein,
Mobile, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Queen Creek, Arizona
Chowchilla, California
Fallbrook, California
Long Beach, California
Manteca, California
Mission Viejo, California
North Auburn, California
Redondo Beach, California
Sacramento, California
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
Deltona, Florida
Homosassa, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida
Ruskin, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Venice, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Hazlehurst, Georgia
Winterville, Georgia
Kurtistown, Hawaii
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Monroe, Louisiana
Pahrump, Nevada
Dallas, Oregon
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Beaufort, South Carolina
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina (2 reports)
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Belton, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Liberty Hill, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Spring, Texas
Timpson, Texas
White Center, Washington

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