How to Trim Bottlebrush Plants


Bottlebrush (Callistemon) plants are part of the Myrtaceae family and are available in 34 different species, according to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Native to Australia, the bottlebrush plant can thrive in the United States in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11 as both shrubs and trees, depending on pruning techniques used. Trim bottlebrush plants to keep the desired form and to maintain their health. Use the right tools for the job and keep them sharpened.

Step 1

Use hand shears to trim any branches up to a quarter-inch in diameter and lopping shears for branches up to 1 1/2 inches diameter. Prune larger bottlebrush branches with pruning saws, if needed.

Step 2

Prune damaged, weak, broken or dead branches on the bottlebrush. Remove any diseased cuttings from the area to prevent spreading. Plan to do all other bottlebrush trimming after the bloom period.

Step 3

Trim lightly, removing only this season's wood, to maintain the size and shape desired. Make cuts at an angle just above buds or lateral branches.

Step 4

Cut branches on the lower area of trunk to maintain a tree form. Remove any suckers that emerge around the trunk of the bottlebrush plant.

Step 5

Prune any branches rubbing or crossing through the center of the bottlebrush tree. This allows better air circulation around the foliage.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand shears
  • Lobbing shears


  • Australian National Botanic Gardens: Callistemon (Bottlebrushes)
  • Purdue University: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
  • University of Florida: Callistemon citrinus: Red Bottlebrush

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Callistemon rigidus
  • Floridata: Callistemon viminalis: Weeping Bottlebrush
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: Callistemon, bottlebrush trimming, prune bottlebrush

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.