Callistemon citrinus, or Bottlebrush, a plant very decorative

Callistemon citrinus

The Callistemon citrinus is a beautiful shrub or small tree ideal for in pots or in gardens. Its characteristic inflorescence reminds a lot of a cleaner of tubes and pipes, by which one of the common nouns is, precisely, bottlebrush.

With minimal care it is very easy to have it perfect all year round, so if you want to know everything about him, you can not miss this special. 🙂

What is their origin and their characteristics?

Vista de un ejemplar adulto de Callistemon citrinus

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Our protagonist is a plant evergreen (stays evergreen) native to Australia, specifically Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Its scientific name is Callistemon citrinus , and the common bottlebrush, tree brush or swab red.

Reaches a height of 2 to 4 meters, and has a cup, rounded shape with leaves that measure 3 to 7 cm long, 5-8mm wide. The flowers, which sprout in spring, are grouped in inflorescences in the form of a spike and its stamens are red, purplish-red or lilac.

Its rate of growth is very fast, which will allow you to monitor your development more easily. In addition, as you do not have a root system invasive you’ll be able to plant it even in small gardens or in pots.

How do you care for?

If you want to get a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:


It is important that you place it on the outside, in full sun. Not suited to live indoors or in shady places.


Turba negra, ideal para tu Callistemon citrinus

  • Garden: it is indifferent. It grows well even in calcareous soils poor in nutrients.
  • Potting: substrate culture universal (you can get it here) mixed with 30% perlite (you can buy it here).


There are watering every 2-3 days in summer, and somewhat less often the rest of the year. If you have potted, I recommend putting a plate underneath during the warmer months of the year so that the substrate remains moist longer.


From spring until autumn you can fertilizing with organic fertilizers, such as guano, the dung of herbivorous animals, the vegetables that they can no longer eat, tea bags, wood ashes or compost.

Time of planting or transplant

In the spring when the risk of frost has passed. Can also be in the fall if you live in a mild climate.


You can prune your Callistemon citrinus after flowering, cutting back the stems that have grown in excess and those that look weak, sick or dry.


Vista de los frutos del Callistemon, donde se encuentran las semillas

Is multiplied by seeds and by cuttings with the leaves of the wood. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:


To multiply the bottlebrush from seed , follow this step-by-step:

  1. First, fill a pot of 10.5 cm diameter, with a culture substrate universal mixed with 20-30% perlite.
  2. Second, is watered so that it is well soaked.
  3. Third, are placed a maximum of two seeds, and sprinkle a bit of copper or sulfur. Thus, it avoids the appearance of fungi.
  4. Fourth, are covered with a thin layer of substrate and watered, this time with a sprayer.
  5. Fifth, put the pot outside in full sun.

Then only you will be watering each time it is needed, avoiding that the substrate remains dry. If all goes well, will germinate in 2-4 weeks.


To multiply it by cuttings, cut a branch of about 30-40cm, to impregnate the base with enraizantes home and plant it in a pot with vermiculite. By placing it then in partial shade and keeping the substrate moist, it will emit its own roots in about 1 month.


La araña roja es una plaga que puede afectar al Callistemon citrinus

Can be affected by the following pests:

  • Red spider mite: a mite of red color that clings to the leaves, from where it feeds on their cells. Fight with acaricides.
  • Aphid: are parasites which measure less than 0.5 cm that can be yellow, green or brown. Stick to the leaves and green stems, although can be controlled with traps, sticky yellow (you can get them here).
  • Cochineal algodonosa: it is a parasite of cottony appearance, which feeds on the cells of the leaves. Can be removed by hand or with an insecticide anti-lice.


The Callistemon citrinus supports the cold and frost of up to -7ºC.

What uses does it have?


This plant is very decorative, which can be used both as exemplary of more or less isolated as in groups giving them the shape of a hedge. It is also very interesting to get the pot, for example on a balcony or terrace.


Surely you’ve ever seen a bonsai Callistemon, right? If it is not bought for fear of losing it, you can now overcome that fear with our care guide:

  • Location: outside, in full sun.
  • Substrate: 70% akadama + 30% kiryuzuna.
  • Irrigation: very common. Every 1-2 days in summer and every 3-4 days the rest of the year.
  • Transplantation: every 2 years, in spring.
  • Pruning: trim branches that have grown in excess, and remove those that look sick, weak or dry.
  • Subscriber: with a fertilizer specific to bonsai by following the indications specified in the package.
  • Hardiness: it can survive to -5ºC.

What did you like the Callistemon citrinus?

The article Callistemon citrinus, or Bottlebrush, plant is very decorative has been originally published in Gardening On.

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