How do you plant bottlebrush plants?

plant bottlebrush plants

How do you plant bottlebrush plants?

Are you looking to give your garden a new lease on life by planting bottlebrush plants?

In this short article, I’ll give you simple step-by-step instructions on how to successfully plant bottlebrush plants, also known as callistemons.

The first step to planting bottlebrush plants is to choose a good variety. Slim™ Callistemon viminalis ‘CV01’ PBR tolerates both flooding and drought, and it has a columnar growth habit perfect for small spaces and fenceline hedging. https://www.ozbreed.com.au/plant-ranges/native-shrubs-groundcovers/slim-callistemon-is-a-great-hedge-for-tight-planting-areas-native-shrubs-ground-covers/

 plant bottlebrush

Step-By-Step Guide to Planting Bottlebrush Plants

  1. Choosing Quality Plants:

Spend time researching which variety will thrive in your garden, and perform as you wish. Not all callistemons are equal, with a variety of different sizes, shapes, colours, and environmental tolerances such as soil type, moisture availability, and so forth. Consider investing more in quality breeding to save money and heartache replacing failed plants in the future.

  1. Selecting a Location:

Consider your needs, and where the plants will go – are they for fenceline screening, are they for defining borders, or are they a feature within the landscape? Choose a sunny spot in your garden, preferably with well-draining soil. Bottlebrush plants generally thrive in full sun, and can tolerate partial shade with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Some callistemons can tolerate heavier soils, with a few cultivars even tolerating both drought and periodic flooding. You can find which varieties here: https://www.ozbreed.com.au/summary-plants-in-various-wet-feet-conditions/

planting callistemons

  1. Preparing the Soil:

Identify your soil type (sand/silt/clay/loam), and whether you need to improve it. When planting into freshly landscaped garden beds, sometimes it’s a good idea to till the soil and add amendments like compost, soil wetters, hydrogels, kaolin clays, or clay breakers.

  1. Digging the Hole:

If you’re only planting one or two bottlebrush plants, you can dig each hole separately. Dig a hole twice as wide and exactly as deep as the root ball of the bottlebrush plant.

  1. Planting the Bottlebrush:

Gently remove the plant from its container and have a look at the roots. If they’re pot-bound, you can gently tease them or even prune a few roots to encourage them to spread out when establishing. Place the root ball in the centre of the hole. Ensure that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Add in organics such as compost, manure and/or biochar.

  1. Backfilling the Hole:

Fill the hole with the soil mixture, gently pressing down as you go to remove air pockets. Use a light touch, because it’s easy to compact soils after digging, especially clay-dominant soils.

  1. Watering:

Water the plant thoroughly after planting to help settle the soil around the roots. Continue to water early each morning for up to 13 weeks while the plant establishes, without over-watering. If the soil is still soggy by the afternoon, or leaves start to turn yellow, you may be over-watering.

  1. Mulching:

Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Leave a small gap between the mulch and the stem to prevent rot. Generally, chunky mulch is best to allow water and air to penetrate into the soil, and a depth of 100mm is ideal.

  1. Maintenance:

Water the plant regularly, especially during dry spells, but avoid overwatering (unless your bottlebrush can tolerate wet feet). Prune lightly after flowering to create a bushy shape and encourage new growth.

  1. Fertilising:

Feed the plant with a balanced, organic fertiliser in spring to promote soil quality, healthy growth and flowering. You can also fertilise again in autumn. Contrary to popular belief, bottlebrush plants do not require a specialist “native” fertiliser and can thrive with regular fertilisers.

  1. Protection:

Protect young plants from frost by covering them with horticultural fleece during cold weather. You can also provide some shade for the first couple of days after planting if you must plant during summer.

When to Plant Bottlebrushes

Generally, the “best” time to plant callistemons is during spring or autumn, when it’s not too hot and not too cold. This helps the plants establish quickly.

However, professional Australian landscapers will plant at any time of the year; spring, summer, autumn or winter. With the right care, your plants should still establish nicely even if they take a little bit longer.

Consider the size of the plants. Would you rather invest more in larger plants which will provide an immediate impact, or would you rather save money by purchasing smaller specimens and waiting for them to grow? Keep in mind that tubestock plants often overtake larger plants of the same variety in a few years, because they just seem to establish better on average. Slim™ Callistemon viminalis ‘CV01’ PBR.

Best Bottlebrush Plant Varieties

Now that you know how to plant a bottlebrush, you’ll need to choose the best variety. This is potentially the most important step of all, because quality plants will flower more vigorously, look more beautiful, and generally be more healthy than weaker specimens.

Here are four of the best bottlebrush plants on the market.

Macarthur™ Callistemon viminalis ‘LC01’ PBR: Best All-Rounder Bottlebrush

Description: Macarthur™ Callistemon combines traits from the popular varieties Little John and Captain Cook, featuring a more compact growth habit and improved flower presentation. It boasts fresh green toned foliage with dense and neat growth, responding well to pruning post-flowering. It tolerates both wet feet and drought.

Size: This variety typically grows to a height of 1.8 meters and a width of 1.5 meters, making it suitable for medium-sized shrubbery, hedging and screening.

Planting Density: Recommended planting density ranges from 1-2 plants per square meter or 1-1.5 plants per linear meter.

Position and Care: Macarthur™ Callistemon thrives in full sun to partial shade and adapts well to various soil conditions. It’s resilient to frost, flooding and drought. Initial watering is necessary until established, followed by mulching and occasional slow-release fertilisation.

Pruning: Regular pruning, typically 1-3 times a year after flowering, helps maintain desired shape, especially for hedge purposes.

Suitable Regions: This bottlebrush variety is suitable for Queensland (QLD), New South Wales (NSW), Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria (VIC), Tasmania (TAS), South Australia (SA), and Western Australia (WA).

Macarthur Callistemon thrives even in poor soils.

Best Native Plants for Tall Hedges

Slim™ Callistemon viminalis ‘CV01’ PBR: Best Columnar Bottlebrush

Description: Slim™ Callistemon is uniquely characterised by its narrow, columnar growth habit, making it an excellent choice for tight planting areas such as courtyard gardens or fenceline hedges. It produces a large number of flower buds which bloom into classic, red bottlebrush flowers throughout spring, summer, and again in autumn. It’s tolerant of both wet feet and drought.

Size: Typically, this variety grows to a height of 3 meters and a width of 1.3 meters, allowing it to fit well in small spaces and serve as a compact screening or hedging option.

Planting Density: Recommended planting density ranges from 1-3 plants per square meter or 1-1.5 plants per linear meter.

Position and Care: Slim™ Callistemon thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions and adapts to various soil types. It exhibits tolerance to drought and frost, making it resilient in challenging environments. Initial watering is essential until establishment, along with mulching and occasional slow-release fertilisation.

Pruning: Regular shaping through pruning, typically 1-3 times a year after flowering, can help maintain the desired form, especially for hedging purposes.

Suitable Regions: This bottlebrush variety is recommended for planting in Queensland (QLD), New South Wales (NSW), Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria (VIC), Tasmania (TAS), South Australia (SA), and Western Australia (WA).

Slim Callistemon is a columnar bottlebrush perfect for tight spaces and along fencelines.

Better John™ Callistemon viminalis ‘LJ1’ PBR

Description: Better John™ Callistemon features blue-green mature foliage with silver tones on new growth leaves due to a soft hairy texture. It blooms with small red flowers starting mid-spring and continuing into late spring, adding vibrant colour to the landscape. It tolerates drought, wet feet, and is an improvement upon the breeding of Little John Callistemon.

Size: Typically grows to a height range of 60cm to 1.2m and a width of 60cm to 90cm, making it suitable for compact spaces and contrast planting.

Planting Density: Recommended planting density ranges from 3-5 plants per square meter or 1.5-2 plants per linear meter.

Position and Care: Thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions and prefers sandy to well-drained soils. Exhibits tolerance to drought and cold temperatures. Initial watering is necessary until established, along with mulching using chunky mulch and periodic slow-release fertilization in spring.

Pruning: Prune every 3-4 years for a natural shape or every 2 years for a neat hedge appearance, ensuring consistent growth and maintenance.

Suitable Regions: The Better John™ Callistemon is recommended for planting in Queensland (QLD), New South Wales (NSW), Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria (VIC), Tasmania (TAS), South Australia (SA), and Western Australia (WA).

Better John Callistemon is a compact variety, perfect for understory planting as long as it gets part sun.

better john callistemons

Icy Burst™ Callistemon spp ‘CNU01’ PBR: Narrow-Growing, Low Maintenance with White Flowers

Description: Icy Burst™ Callistemon is a naturally narrow-growing fine-leafed bottlebrush with an upright growth habit, making it another ideal choice for tight planting areas. It produces vibrant white bottlebrush flowers in spring that contrast beautifully with its dark green foliage.

Size: Typically grows to a height range of 1.3-1.5 meters and a width of 70-80 centimeters, suitable for hedges, mass planting, feature plants, specimens, and contrast planting.

Planting Density: Recommended planting density ranges from 1-3 plants per square meter or 1-2 plants per linear meter.

Position and Care: Thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions and adapts well to most soil types. Exhibits good drought and frost tolerance once established. Requires minimal pruning to maintain its narrow upright form, with occasional pruning every 3-4 years for a natural shape or every 2 years for a tidy hedge appearance.

Suitable Regions: Icy Burst™ Callistemon is recommended for planting in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC), South Australia (SA), Western Australia (WA), and South Queensland (Sth QLD), with further testing required for North Queensland (Nth QLD) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Icy Burst Callistemon has branches that grow upward. It’s ideal for border definition and small screens.

callistemons

Conclusion

So there you have it, your go-to guide for planting bottlebrushes. Realistically, this guide also applies to most plant types, although there may be a few nuanced differences for some species.

Now it’s time to choose your favourite callistemon and get planting! Don’t forget to send this guide to somebody else who needs to read it.

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