How to Care for a Bottlebrush Plant


Although its name may be ordinary, the bottlebrush is actually a spectacularly beautiful and unique plant. Bottlebrush is a medium-sized evergreen shrub with leaves that are spiky and bright green with a citrusy aroma. However, it's the bottle brush-shaped blooms in shades of pink, red, purple, yellow, green and white that make the plant truly distinctive. Although the bottlebrush is native to Australia, it's often grown in the warm Southern region of the United States.

Step 1

Plant bottlebrush in well-drained soil where water doesn't tend to pool. Be sure the location is in full sunlight all day.

Step 2

Water bottlebrush generously during the growing season, but don't over-water. Keep the soil evenly moist, and don't allow the roots to stand in water. Keep bottlebrush fairly dry during the winter months, watering only occasionally.

Step 3

Feed bottlebrush a good, all-purpose fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Decrease the amount of fertilizer gradually during the autumn months, and don't fertilize at all in January and February.

Step 4

Prune the tips of bottlebrush branches as needed to maintain the desired shape. Prune after the shrub has finished blooming for the season.

Step 5

Spread an organic mulch such as dry grass clippings or small bark chips around the plant every spring, which will keep moisture in and will help to keep weeds under control. Leave a 6-inch margin between the mulch and the trunk. If the mulch piles up against the trunk, it can overheat and damage the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottlebrush plant
  • Water
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Organic mulch


  • Florida Gardener: Callistemon or Bottlebrush
  • "Australian National Botanic Gardens: Callistemon (Bottlebrushes)"
  • "Mississippi State University: Bottlebrush Is an Unusual and Colorful Shrub"
Keywords: bottlebrush plant, all-purpose fertilizer, evergreen shrub

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.