Bottlebrush (Callistemon) is a popular evergreen shrub in thirsty, drought-stricken California. It needs almost no water once established. I have two small bottlebrush trees in my immediate neighborhood. They can tolerate our alkaline soil. They should be planted in full sun.
|Bottlebrush in Bloom, © B. Radisavljevic|
Although the bottlebrush flowers are a welcome touch of brightness to cheer the colder months when few other flowers are blooming, I would not advise planting them near a clothesline, if you still have one. I had a large bottlebrush bush about four feet from my clothesline in my first home, and on windy days those long red stamens would blow onto my clothes and stick to them.
I walk my neighborhood photographing plants all through the year, so I can record their stages of growth. The photo below shows a budding bottlebrush shrub (or is it a tree?) in the middle of December. The bottlebrush buds at this stage almost look like the buds of my apple or almond tree blossoms.
|Budding Bottlebrush, © B. Radisavljevic|
On the same December day I photographed another part of the plant beginning to transform from flowers to seed capsules. Since I'm not sure which species this is, I don't know how long the seed capsules will stay on the plant. In some species they remain fastened to the stem until the tree dies or is burned. In others the seeds are released each year. I'll have to remember to check on these to see if any seed capsules have opened.
|Bottlebrush Flowers Producing Seed Capsules, © B. Radisavljevic|
I just learned you can make tea from some species. Green Deane, who writes "Eat the Weeds" wrote more about the bottlebrush here. He includes information on making tea. When I saw the seed capsules of the plant, I was sure it must be related to the eucalyptus tree, another Australian native. I was right.
I captured the beauty of the bottlebrush plant against sky in the Zazzle print-on-demand products below. This is just a sample. The other bottlebrush products are here. If you want to grow your own bottlebrush bush or tree, Amazon carries many species of bottlebrush plants they can ship to you.
Bottlebrush Tree in Bloom Canvas PrintBottlebrush Tree in Bloom PuzzleBottlebrush Tree in Bloom Rectangular Photo MagnetBottlebrush Tree in Bloom PlaqueBottlebrush Tree in Bloom StationeryBottlebrush Tree in Bloom Mouse Pad