541 Callistemon viminalisCommon Names: weeping bottlebrush Family: Myrtaceae (myrtle Family)
Weeping bottlebrush is a beautiful flowering tropical tree (or large shrub) that boasts a springtime explosion of scarlet blossoms. An attractive tree even when not in bloom, this bottlebrush grows to a height of about 20 ft (6 m), forming a wide rounded crown if the lower branches are pruned off. Brilliant red stamens are arranged into 6 in (15 cm) cylinders that resemble the brushes used to clean bottles. These hang from the tips of pendulous branches and wave seductively in the breeze. Weeping bottlebrush flowers mature into woody capsules that are distinctive of this genus. Leaves are narrow and lance shaped growing up to 4 in (10 cm) in length. The leaves are a very attractive bronze-green when they emerge in spring, gradually turning dull green as they mature.
Weeping bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis) is native to New South Wales, Australia. It is a common landscape item in South Florida and is also popular in Southern California.
CultureBottlebrushes do well in Florida's sandy soils. Apply slow release 8-8-8 fertilizer in spring and summer. Light: Bottlebrush grows best in full sun. Moisture: Water frequently after planting. Once established this tree is tolerant of short periods of drought. Bottlebrush does well on dry or wet soils. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. Weeping bottlebrush is occasionally damaged by frost in central Florida. Similar but hardier species are probably better for central and north Florida, these include C. citrinus (lemon bottlebrush) and C. rigidus. Propagation: Propagate by hardwood cuttings. This bottlebrush can also be grown from seed. The Hortus Third reference recommends that the very small seeds be captured in summer by placing the distinctive capsules in boxes or on sheets of paper. These are then planted the following spring. Sow the seeds on top of the soil - don't bury them.
Without pruning, weeping bottlebrush becomes shrubby, making it an ideal candidate for creating high hedges or screens to hide unsightly views. But to best enjoy its distinctive weeping form, trim the lower branches to maintain it as a tree. Plant a bottlebrush at the edge of a lake or pond where it resembles a small but much flashier weeping willow. Bottlebrush is a non-messy tree for use at poolside and patio.
This is a well behaved tree with a beautiful form that puts on a spectacular floral display each spring followed by brief encore flushes of color throughout the year. Drought tolerance and relative freedom from pests and disease only add to this bottlebrush's attractiveness.
Gardeners in Zone 8B may be interested in growing the hardier lemon bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus).