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How to Care for a Bottlebrush Plant

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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 Will Need

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

About the Author


M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.