Home » Gardening » Trees and shrubs » Callistemon, the flower may look like a toilet-bowl brush, but it smells so nice!

Callistemon, the flower may look like a toilet-bowl brush, but it smells so nice!

Callistemon is a fabulous shrub that also does great in cities

Callistemon is a little shrub that’s both original and very ornamental.

Key facts to remember

Name – Callistemon citrinus
Family – Myrtaceae
Type – Shrub

Height – 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m)
Exposure – full sun and part sun
Soil – ordinary

Foliage: Evergreen
Blooming – summer

Care, from planting to pruning and watering, are the basic steps that will help your callistemon grow lush.

Planting Callistemon

It’s only possible to grow callistemon in areas with mild climates in winter.

Different options for planting callistemon: seeds, saplings and cuttingsIt’s recommended to plant callistemon after the last frost spells, preferably during the month of May.

  • Callistemon loves being in the sun!
  • When growing in partly shaded spots, the blooming isn’t as generous.
  • It appreciates well drained soil and, most of all, cannot survive when the soil is soggy and wet in winter.

Potted callistemon with other plants nearbyIn Northernmost regions, favor growing callistemon in pots so you can bring the pot inside, away from the freezing winter.

Callistemon is easily propagated through cuttings.

Pruning and caring for callistemon

Pruning callistemon:

Callistemon pruning will give a better shape and nice bloomingIt’s possible for you to balance growth on the shrub in spring, but without removing too much of it.

To keep a compact appearance, prune the year’s new shoots back to half their length after the blooming.

In summer, eliminate fruits as they form because this uselessly tires the plant, and cut wilted stems.

Watering callistemon:

Watering your callistemon will ensure bloomingCallistemon needs water at the beginning to trigger root growth and settling in after transplanting.

Once it has settled in properly, callistemon can tolerate drought, but you can still go ahead and water from time to time to promote blooming.

Potted callistemon needs to be watered regularly, as soon as the surface soil is dry.

Callistemon diseases and pests:

Disease on callistemon leavesMost garden pests and diseases will find their way to your callistemon, but they’ll rarely endanger the plant gravely.

Learn more about Callistemon citrinus

The bearing of this shrub with abundant and original blooming is magnificent. Another name for it is bottle-brush, due to the fact that the flowers look uncannily like that kitchen utensil!

Native to Asia and to South-East Australia, it is inclined towards rather warm climates when grown directly in the garden, but will adapt well to lean-ins and other greenhouses when potted or in containers.

Fabulous flower with a close-up on the stamensYou can trigger more blooming by often adding liquid organic fertilizer, especially as an indoor plant when the soil tends to quickly lose its nutrients.

The name itself, “Callistemon citrinus”, comes from ancient Greek, and refers to the beauty of its stamens and to the fragrant lemon-like scent of its flowers.

Smart tip about callistemon

You must water regularly in summer but not too much, taking care to water in the evening to reduce evaporation.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: Jacqueline Macou, Alexandra Stockmar, Tony
CC BY 2.0: John Tann, Maja Dumat
CC BY-SA 2.0: Doug Beckers
CC BY 4.0: Kim & Forest Starr
A comment ?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *