Callistemon Species, Bottlebrush Tree, Stiff Bottlebrush

Callistemon rigidus

Family: Myrtaceae (mir-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Callistemon (kal-lis-STEE-mon) (Info)
Species: rigidus (RIG-ih-dus) (Info)
Synonym:Metrosideros rigida
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Brewton, Alabama

Gaylesville, Alabama

Opp, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama

Glendale, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona(2 reports)

Sierra Vista, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Yuma, Arizona

Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara, California

Danville, California

Fairfield, California

Irvine, California

Los Angeles, California

Merced, California

Novato, 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

Kissimmee, Florida

Leesburg, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Mary Esther, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Morriston, Florida

Naples, 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

Gulfport, Mississippi

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

East Elmhurst, New York

Bolivia, North Carolina

Brookings, Oregon

Harbor, Oregon

Columbia, South Carolina(2 reports)

Moncks Corner, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Athens, Texas

Austin, Texas(3 reports)

Bryan, Texas

China, 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

Nome, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 15, 2020, Mary94949 from Novato, CA wrote:

Their pollen is horrible and many people are allergic to it. I'm glad it is no longer popular due to this flaw. Please plant something else if you have any allergies.


On Jan 19, 2017, yatyas from Boerne, TX wrote:

Had a beautiful Bottlebrush Tree planted in the sunniest location in our yard about 3 months ago (November) by a local nursery. Had a few blooms on it (about 9ft tall, 2 1/2 inches in diameter) when it was planted. Within a couple of weeks it was covered in beautiful blooms. Was warned by the nursery to wrap the tree trunk to protect it from possible cold weather exposure over the winter. Wrapped it in early December before temperatures got below 40 degrees F. While in El Paso visiting family from 24 Dec through Jan 10, tree was exposed to 19 degree weather. Came home and all the leaves are no longer a dark green, but faded and starting to dry and fall off, no blooms at all. I am hoping the couple of days of cold weather exposure has not killed the tree. I should have done more res... read more


On Jan 28, 2016, joycrazy from Golden Gate, FL wrote:

We live in South Florida and we just lost our 37 year old bottlebrush tree in a storm. It was far and away one of my favorite trees. Small, but not too small, flowers on and off all year, but almost always has some flowers on it, required almost no maintenance, and was the one tree that always attracted hummingbirds and migrating birds.
I can't plant a replacement soon enough.


On May 10, 2015, opal92nwf from Niceville, FL wrote:

In zone 8b along the Northern Gulf Coast, bottlebrush will do well, but apparently only an upright (non weeping) red variety can tolerate the cold this far north. The one I have in my yard is on the northern side of the house and has tolerated temps in the upper teens with only some leaf burning and drop. During these same winters, some other bottlebrush in the area seemingly of the same variety (non-weeping red) burned and were mostly killed. Interestingly, those that suffered worse weren't really in that much different of a location than mine. The only conclusions I have drawn is that maybe there is variation within this species or they could have been of a less cold hardy variety. Just in case though, I would advise trying to find a somewhat protected location for them in zone 8b.
... read more


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 the upper teens. The only BB cold hardy to 10f is Woodlanders Red, a bushy BB which will never grow tall.


On Jun 4, 2014, donnacreation from Sumter, SC wrote:

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


On Jun 4, 2014, donnacreation from Sumter, SC wrote:

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


On Jun 4, 2014, donnacreation from Sumter, SC wrote:

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


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.


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 gav... read more


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.


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....


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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..


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.


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

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


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


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.


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.