Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dwarf Bottlebrush
Callistemon viminalis 'Little John'

Family: Myrtaceae (mir-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Callistemon (kal-lis-STEE-mon) (Info)
Species: viminalis (vim-in-AY-liss) (Info)
Cultivar: Little John

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

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

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

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

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By palmbob
Thumbnail #1 of Callistemon viminalis by palmbob

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Callistemon viminalis by palmbob

By palmbob
Thumbnail #3 of Callistemon viminalis by palmbob

By htop
Thumbnail #4 of Callistemon viminalis by htop

By htop
Thumbnail #5 of Callistemon viminalis by htop

By htop
Thumbnail #6 of Callistemon viminalis by htop

By htop
Thumbnail #7 of Callistemon viminalis by htop

There are a total of 18 photos.
Click here to view them all!


8 positives
6 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Owlman22 On May 13, 2014, Owlman22 from San Diego, CA wrote:

I know that the Dwarf Bottlebrushes take a lot of sun, but what do they do if they don't have full sun all the time? I have a spot that receives ample late spring and summer sun, but in fall and winter, they are often in the shadows. I have one bush now that is close to the area I'd like to plant in, but it receives quite a bit more sun. I live in San Diego, CA about 10 miles from the coast.

Thanks for your help!

Positive gondwanan On Apr 22, 2014, gondwanan from Lake Wales, FL wrote:

I have grown 'Little John' over several years in multiple client garden settings. Here in Central Florida (9b), in enriched, fast draining sandy soil, it is definitely NOT drought tolerant when establishing but thereafter thrives on average water, sun and light fertilization. This last mild winter (low mid-30's F) kept plants steadily growing and 'Little John' has bloomed off and on over a very extended season. Past winters have shown foliar damage when exposed to high 20's but with complete recovery. It appears quite hardy and does not seem susceptible to pest problems. High marks!

Positive thistledome On Jun 12, 2013, thistledome from near Brisbane
Australia wrote:

I live in sub-tropical Australia ( but still have to put up with winter temperatures of up to -5C) and have about 15 Little Johns in my garden. Once established they are drought resistant but all callistemons love water (some grow naturally along river banks and some in the streams themselves). They can be a bit slow to establish but given fertiliser 2 times a year (they will tollerate higher phosphorous fertiliser) they will give a wonderfull display in spring and summer.Trim after flowering (behind old flowers).

If these plants are expensive then they are easily grown from seed. Take the finished seed pods from the plant, put in a paper bag and wait for the small seeds to come out of the pods and plant.

Neutral palebo7 On Apr 25, 2013, palebo7 from Dallas, TX wrote:

Ive grow regular Bottlebrush in Dallas, TX and it's fine

I just bought 3 of these dwarf ones at Jackson's on Lemmon, for $8.00 for 1 gal. plants - great price !

I hope by getting them established in the spring, they'll be fine by winter - I'll let yall know !

Positive vossner On Feb 1, 2013, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've been wanting to add this shrub to my garden for a long time but the prices were so high, I just couldn't see forking out $25+ for a 2-3 gal. pot. I finally found 2 at bargain prices and planted them in full sun. I had read that they were drought tolerant but mine are very thirsty plants. Lucky for me, they are what I call "good communicators", meaning, they droop when thirsty, thus giving me a chance to correct the situation. Planted Fall 2012, I have been watering by rain or hose every couple of days to keep this plant happy. It could be that plenty of moisture is required in the begining while it gets established; time will tell. It is for sure a much misunderstood plant in my area as I see some spectacular specimens in some gardens and some quite pitiful ones as well. 2012 is proving to be a very mild winter so there is no foliage damage whatsoever. I am glad I was able to add this plant to my garden.

PS: Years ago I had spent good money in one plant, which quickly died. Thinking that is was low water, I believe it died due to insufficient moisture . After that experience, I was unwilling to spend so much money on a plant I didn't know how to care for. Hopefully, I've learned how to keep it happy.

Neutral marasri On Sep 19, 2012, marasri from Dripping Springs, TX wrote:

I found Average Gardener's comment very helpful in deciding where to place my plant. I gamble with cold hardiness and am willing to accept some dieback on cold winters. I am 30 miles west of Austin and Central Austin is FULL of viable lush examples of this plant. It is on the a marginal range and this means that placement by a thermal mass in sun on fast draining soil will be preferable over clay in the open. I also know from reading where people are having a problem with this plant that this plant is a gamble for me. I find the negativity and self centeredness that Fire in Motion displayed very distateful. This person was not saying it was a bad plant for everyone, but was communicating to others in a similar situation that , yes, there are difficulties in growing it so take precautions. I also have heard that alkalinity is a problem., so I guess I will use some ground sulfur and think about warm micro climates.

Neutral dulceh On May 18, 2012, dulceh from Del Rio, TX wrote:

I have a question not a comment but couldn't find where to post so please forgive me-
I was wondering if dwarf bottle brush is deer resistant?

Negative donnacreation On Mar 27, 2011, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I've tried this growing this bottlebrush for several years with no sucess. In my zone 8a backyard, it dies all the way to base, even with protection. It may be viable in a desert zone 8, but not in the interior SE.

Positive tropicdude On Mar 26, 2010, tropicdude from Aledo, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I bought this plant last spring. It had beautiful blue-green foliage. This winter I left it in the ground and infrequently covered it. All of its leaves turned brown. It got down to twelve degrees this winter but it is surprisingly coming back now, from the bottom of the stem.

Neutral thebestmissy On Mar 14, 2010, thebestmissy from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I'm still waiting to see if my plant is going to come back. We did have one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record in this area also. No signs of life yet. I hope it comes back. UPDATE: I HAVE TRIED THIS PLANT TWICE, BUT IT DOESN'T SEEM TO LIKE OUR CLIMATE.

Negative AverageGardener On Mar 1, 2010, AverageGardener from Georgetown, TX wrote:

We are 40 miles north of Austin, TX, and had a very cold winter. Night temperatures were in the teens for a number of days. Our dwarf bottlebrushes turned brown. The stems break with no green showing. Advice ranges from they are dead to cut them back to the main branches. Does anyone know if they will come back?

Neutral elares On Feb 5, 2010, elares from Spring, TX wrote:

I bought a "callisternon citrinus" little john bottlebrush plant recently. It's planted in a large pot. How much subdued outdoor light will the plant tolerate? Reply please.

Positive marino760 On Apr 17, 2008, marino760 from Victorville, CA wrote:

This plant is indeed more cold tolerant than zone 9. It has survived temperatures into the mid to low teens for several nights in a row here in the high desert of Southern California. The plant did loose it's leaves but came back in the spring looking better than ever.

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

Although the plant tags and websites state that this plant is not hardy in Zone 8b, I have observed several of them growing in my area which is the colder portion of 8b for the past 3 years or more. Also, my neighbor across the street bought 3 last year after I had shown him the other plants. We have experienced temperatures in the middle 20s (nights and early mornings) each winter as well as an ice storm. The plants have not suffered any damage; however in the past, we have had colder winters. I had been hesitant to purchase any because they are expensive and I did not want to waste my money if they can't handle the cold weather here. I examined the plants I have been watching and they are fine. So, today I bought 3 one gallon-size plants. I sure hope that I did not make a mistake. 'Little John' is a beautiful plant even when not in bloom.

Positive smiln32 On Aug 25, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This shrub is also attractive to hummingbirds. It is a native of Australia. It prefers warm and humid environments. Prune in autumn after flowering. The pollen of this shrub can pose allergen problems for folks who are sensitive.

Positive palmbob On Aug 19, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great small shrub excellent for landscaping (and pretty commonly used in southern California)- has flowers much of the warmer parts of the year- seems to have a flowering burst in the spring, and then later summer. Profuse flowers of dark red. and densely foliated.


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

Bullhead City, Arizona
Chandler, Arizona
Goodyear, Arizona
Green Valley, Arizona
Maricopa, Arizona
Peoria, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Acton, California
Aliso Viejo, California
Concord, California
Fairfield, California
Knights Landing, California
Martinez, California
Mountain View Acres, California
Oildale, California
San Clemente, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
Stockton, California
Wildomar, California
Delray Beach, Florida
Lake Wales, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Savannah, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Slidell, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Las Vegas, Nevada
Conway, South Carolina
College Station, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Elgin, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Georgetown, Texas
Harlingen, Texas
High Island, Texas
Houston, Texas
Humble, Texas
Huntsville, Texas
Irving, Texas
Katy, Texas
Kyle, Texas
League City, Texas
Lindale, Texas
Lockhart, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spring, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Bremerton, Washington

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America