How to grow Bottlebrush


'Hot Pink'. Photo - Linda Ross

You can use bottlebrush as a feature tree to attract birds and bees; in a regularly spaced row to screen neighbourly views; as a groundcover over an embankment; or as a low hedge at hip-height. 

Encourage an autumn flush of bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.) with a little native plant food. Trim the finished flowers 5cm behind the brushes to keep them compact and long-living.


Graham’s favourite is ‘Harkness’ which is also known as ‘Gawler hybrid’ (5m). He says it has ‘the best and longest red brushes, is a great street tree and because it’s a hybrid has no ugly seed capsules’. 

The best deep-pink varieties are ‘All Aglow’ (2.5m) and ‘Hot Pink’ (2m). 

A recent purple-flowering release, ‘Purple Splendour’ (2m) is on trial in Linda’s coastal garden.


Red bottle-brush (Callistemon) flower. Photo - somyot pattana/

There's a huge range available, why not spend half a day at a wildflower nursery near you to help. We like The Wildflower Place, Erina; Sydney Wildflower West Nursery, Healthcote and Newcastle Wildflower Nursery. They'll help you choose the native plant that thrive in heavy clay soils.

And don't forget eco-flo gypsum will improve drainage in clays soils


Text: Linda Ross


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Anonymous commented on 12 Jun 15

Hi Edwena,
Callistemon will thrive in Narrabeen, as will banksias. Your local nursery will be of great assistance. One of your local native nurseries is Wirreander Nursery - details at

Also Kulgoa Nursery -

Or head to - for more information on bottlebrush

Kind regards, The Garden Clinic

Edwena Pedersen commented on 11 Jun 15

Thanks for the photos.... I need to replant in a sandy Narrabeen soil in a bed along the fence and love the look of HOT PINK. Do they look as beautiful and bushy as your picture? Can I plant now? Where can I buy? I have been told that Root Stock is best to plant ..... is that correct? I would like 1.5 - 2 metres.
Thanks, Edwena

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Author: Linda Ross