The bottlebrush plant is a weeping tropical shrub that grows up to a height of 20 feet and produces bright red blossoms that resemble brushes used to clean bottles. Bottlebrush shrubs grow best in USDA growing zones 9 through 11 where there is no risk of frost. The shrub grows well as a hedge or privacy block around pools and garden patios as the foliage and flowers do not leave debris. Bottlebrush shrubs require minimal pruning as they produce a strong structure that can withstand the weeping weight.
Tip prune new growth as it appears on the bottlebrush plant in spring. The tips are located at the end of each branch not attached to the tree. Removing new growth tips will create shape in the shrub. Waiting to tip prune until the growth has hardened will cause a reduction in flower growth.
Prune to remove bottlebrush blooms at the point just behind the flowers once their blooming period is complete. Removing spent blooms prevents them from drying out and becoming unsightly.
Prune the shrub to remove drooping branches that block sidewalk and driveway clearance. Cut the branches to a length where they will do not brush against cars or pedestrians using the passage ways. Lower branches can be trimmed to create a tree like structure instead of weeping structure.
Basal prune the bottlebrush in the autumn season by cutting off all branches to the ground level so the above ground portion of the plant is completely removed. Basal pruning is required in cases where the plant becomes overgrown or loses its shape. Fertilize the tree the spring after basal pruning to stimulate new growth.
Take cuttings from the tree in the winter dormant season to collect semi-mature hardwood for use in propagating new plants.Take cutttings that are at least 6 inches in length and place them in warm, moist rooting medium to stimulate root growth.