How to Propagate a Bottle Brush


The bottle brush plant is a stiff upright bush that can grow to 15 feet in height. The red flowers cluster on the end of the stems and grow in the shape of a bottle brush. According to the University of Florida, the bottlebrush plant will grow in only the warmest of the temperature zones in North America, zones 9 through 11. Propagation of the plant is by stem cuttings or planting the seeds. Due to the tropical nature of the plant, stem cuttings are routinely used to economically reproduce the warm-weather shrub.

From Cuttings

Step 1

Mix equal amounts of peat moss and sand for the soil medium.

Step 2

Fill the 6-inch pot to within an inch of the upper rim with the soil medium.

Step 3

Add 1 qt. of water to the soil medium. Pour the water in slowly so it does not flow over the top rim of the pot. Allow all excess moisture to drain from the lower holes.

Step 4

Cut a stem from the parent bottlebrush plant that is 6 to 8 inches in length. Take cuttings in the summer season of plant growth. Remove the lower 2 inches of leaves from the cut end.

Step 5

Dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder. Insert the cut end into the soil medium approximately 2 inches deep. Press the soil down around the stem cutting. Keep the cutting and soil medium moist.

Step 6

Set the pot in a well-lit area out of direct sunlight. Pull gently on the stem cutting after six weeks; if you feel resistance, roots are growing on the plant. Allow the plant to establish a firm set of roots in the pot for one year.

Step 7

Transplant the bottlebrush seedling into a new location that has well-drained soil and full exposure to sunlight.

From Seeds

Step 1

Mix the soil and fill the pot as described above.

Step 2

Set three to four seeds evenly spaced on top of the soil.

Step 3

Cover the seeds with a ½ inch of soil. Keep moist. Allow the seedlings to establish in the small pot.

Step 4

Divide and transplant the new seedlings after one year of growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • 6-inch pot with bottom drain holes
  • Parent bottlebrush plant
  • Scissors
  • Rooting hormone
  • Bottlebrush seeds


  • Washington State University: Propagating with Stem Cuttings
  • University of Florida: Bottle Brush - Callistemon Rigidus (PDF)

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: USDA Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: tropical plants, butterflies humingbird plants, grow bottlebrush

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.