Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bottlebrush Tree
Callistemon rigidus

Family: Myrtaceae (mir-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Callistemon (kal-lis-STEE-mon) (Info)
Species: rigidus (RIG-ih-dus) (Info)

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 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)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

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

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 40 photos.
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15 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative donnacreation On Jun 4, 2014, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Although this plant is marketed in the SC midlands as cold hardy to 10f, it's really only cold hardy to a few upper teens. The only BBcold hardy to 10f is Woodlanders red, a weeping BB which will never grow tall.

Positive thistledome On Jun 8, 2013, thistledome from near Brisbane
Australia wrote:

I am lucky enough to live in sub-tropical Australia and have some 200 plus callistemons in my garden. These range in colour from red, pink,green,purple, mauve, white and orange. They do present a world of colour from spring through summer. Callistemons like a lot of water as some grow naturally in streams and along river banks. Apart from some fertiliser in early spring and some trimming to keep shape, they are a hardy plant to have in the garden.

Positive djvdfl On Feb 1, 2013, djvdfl from DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, FL wrote:

I have about 12 Bottle Brush planted on my property, beginning approx 8 yrs ago. I love this tree, and mine here in the NW part of Florida bloom at least 3 times a year and sometimes 4 times. Mine are about 18' - 20' tall, and about 25' - 30' wide. I contribute its size to "bottom up pruning". This makes a beautiful canopy type of landscaping and doesn't block our views of the property or lake. I never water my trees and they are growing in "tough soil" and on a slight hill side. Once established, my bottle brush (s) require very little care except to prune any low lying branches sprouting out from the bottom. They are pruned up to about 8 - 9 feet. I began pruning when my trees were about eight feet tall and well filled out to begin with. I also planted them in groups of 2 or 3 which gave me several main "stems" to work from. Put several groups in for a statement as they are beautiful, evergreen, attracts lots of humming birds, butterflies and birds love to nest in their branches.

Positive bluemoon1948 On Jan 9, 2012, bluemoon1948 from Opp, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I live in zone 8a - Alabama. These trees seem to do well here and in Florida which is only about 30 miles south of me. They are beautiful and also useful as their branches make excellent bird perches...I have 5 parrots. I bought a small potted bush today and my question is ....can anyone tell me how fast they grow? this is a small bush in a 3 qt container. I have moved to a rental house with zero landscaping and am trying to get some stuff in the ground! Thanks.

Positive beachgardner On May 8, 2011, beachgardner from Bolivia, NC wrote:

I really was not sure what the plant was,,,we just moved into this house, so I have inheirited a new yard that had been sadly neglected..I love this plant...some advice as to when and if to prune would be helpful...I cut it back about 4 weeks ago to shape it up, not knowing it was a blooming plant and now it is full of flowers....

Neutral sunkissed On Jan 11, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

When we moved into our house in 93' this tree was already a part of the landscape. It is in full sun all day long, it does get irrigation once a week half year due to water restrictions and twice a week in summer. I've never done anything to it, except prune it, loves to send shooters from the base. It is about 15 ft tall by 12 ft wide. It looks great in the spring when new growth and lots of blooms and hummers just love it, along with bees. Unfortunately I can only see it when driving up to my house, so dont get to enjoy it as much as my neighbors do. It is certainly a very drought tolerant tree. I see some huge thick ones in an abandoned shopping center parking lot where they are in full sun and only rain for water, so these trees do well with neglect. Oh I gave a neutral because except for when it is in bloom it really isn't a very attractive tree.

Positive SusanG13 On Apr 16, 2010, SusanG13 from Pooler, GA wrote:

I bought my BB tree from a local nursury about three years ago. It has done very well and is a beautiful tree. It was about five foot tall and has grown about three feet.

Positive TTENTELH On Dec 6, 2009, TTENTELH from East Elmhurst, NY wrote:

I brought the plant from Greece in my luggage, about 1 foot tall. I planted in my yard in fall, in an area where gets a lot of sun during the day. I live in NYC, Queens area and am worried if I should cover the plant during the winter or leave it as is. I read from others that has no problem in cold winters of about 10F but for how long can last the cold winter, a couple of days or the entire winter. I will appreciate you responses.

Positive will335 On Jun 24, 2009, will335 from San Antonio, TX wrote:

This is a great looking shrub, it has bloomed twice this year. This spring it was covered with red bottlebrushes. Mine has been in the ground for 1 year and spent 1 year in a pot. It is already 6 feet tall and is quite drought tolerant, loves the south Texas heat.

Positive Loneta On Apr 14, 2008, Loneta from Morriston, FL wrote:

I have one BB bush and one BB tree,the bush is doing great the tree is trying to die the trunk is in two sections. Both are in full sun and fairly dry soil. They attract Humming birds as well as Butterflies. They are very beautiful plants and normally easy to care for. I am thrilled with the bush.

Positive Opoetree On Jun 9, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

Australian plants seem to do very well in Ventura County, California. We have these bottle brush trees and shrubs, as well as eucalyptus trees of many varieties. Our bottle brush just turned up growing -- probably seeds came floating down through our barranca and the plant just sprouted on its own. Very nice, like the red blooms.

Positive ShelleyME On Jan 2, 2007, ShelleyME from League City, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I had 2 of these growing on either side of the front door at our old house. They had grown as tall as the 2nd story windows. One plant grew in front of the 2nd story window where there was an alcove that had our computer desk. I could look out and see many hummingbirds feeding. Our cats loved to sit and watch the birds while perched on the windowsill.

Positive Kylie2x On Nov 25, 2006, Kylie2x from Millsap, TX wrote:

This has been a wonderful shrub.It has bloomed twice this yr and put on good growth.. I'll be keeping it inside for the winter..

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

I wasn't too crazy about its looks at first - soft, pale green, fuzzy leaves...but they are now darker, shiny & stiff. Starting to bloom now (1 flower in bloom...6 others about to). I have 3 other varieties of Callistemon of semi-unknown origins...they have overwintered well, and make great evergreen shrubs.

Positive mariavonw On Jul 17, 2006, mariavonw from San Francisco, CA wrote:

quite common to see in San Francisco...very beautiful

Positive wallaby1 On Dec 6, 2005, wallaby1 from Lincoln
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bought as a small starter plant 6+ years ago, it has been in it's present postion for 5 years and has quickly grown to a quite large, weeping shrub. It is in a fairly shaded but sheltered location, and gets little sun but does very well. Soil is acidic and sandy. The last two years it has had many flowers, and attracts many bumblebees, with a white hairy body and black stripes, a type I have not seen before.

It has withstood prolonged frost and to -9C with no damage, this species has smaller narrow leaves and is hardier than the larger leaved types. zone 8a UK

Positive AustinBarbie On Jun 9, 2002, AustinBarbie from Harker Heights, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

My Callistemon is growing rapidly and is beautiful. To 5 meters (15 feet), it has light green foliage and bronze new growth. Red flowers in spring. Hardy, will adapt to most soils.
Good points: flowers, hardy, long-lived, good in damp soils
Downside: dislikes extreme heat and extreme cold.
Please note that this is an Australian native, and as such will probably not do at all well in areas that freeze.
This large bottlebrush is widely cultivated. Plants produce bright red flower spikes which are very rich in nectar and attract many birds. Plants grow in a variety of soils, but can be frost tender, especially when young. Weeping Bottlebrush grows 5 to 7 m tall.

Neutral Floridian On Nov 19, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A native to Australia this is a small, upright tree or large shrub. It grows easily in tropical and semi-tropical climates. Once established this plant is drought tolerant.
The leaves are narrow, lance shaped, and leathery. Bright red, plump, bottle-brush shaped flowers are composed mostly of stamens and bloom off and on throughout hot weather.
The Bottlebrush tree likes well drained soil, preferably sandy loam, but is quite adaptable. Avoid heavy, damp ground. If grown in the northern part of range, expect winter kills. Protect with mulch around roots and the plant usually comes back.


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

, (4 reports)
Brewton, Alabama
Gaylesville, Alabama
Opp, Alabama
Orange Beach, Alabama
Glendale, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Yuma, Arizona
Blackhawk-camino Tassajara, California
Fairfield, California
Irvine, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Oak View, California
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Clarita, California
Vallejo, California
Whittier, California
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Baker, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Debary, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Gainesville, Florida (2 reports)
Hampton, Florida
Indian Lake Estates, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Leesburg, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Mary Esther, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Morriston, Florida
Navarre, Florida
Niceville, Florida
North Port, Florida
Odessa, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida
Raiford, Florida
Saint Augustine, Florida
Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)
Stuart, Florida
Summerfield, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Pooler, Georgia
Winterville, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)
Hammond, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Lake Charles, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Schriever, Louisiana
Scott, Louisiana
Slidell, Louisiana
Springfield, Louisiana
Florence, Mississippi
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
East Elmhurst, New York
Bolivia, North Carolina
Brookings, Oregon
Columbia, South Carolina (2 reports)
Moncks Corner, South Carolina
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Athens, Texas
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Bryan, Texas
Del Valle, Texas
El Paso, Texas (2 reports)
Fort Worth, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Johnson City, Texas
League City, Texas
Lindale, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spring, Texas

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