Callistemon pallidus ‘Eleanor’

More than 25 years ago I raised some Callistemon from seed. This seedling with vivid magenta purple flowers has survived temperatures below 10ºF for all that time but requires a protected spot inland to thrive. Amazing performance at the Oregon Coast where the bright brushes may appear several times a year. To 6′ x 6′ and arching this willowy evergreen accepts light summer water and requires as much sun as possible. Best against a south facing wall in Portland. It may freeze back below about 12ºF, but recovery from the base is rapid. Virtually any soil. Moderate deer resistance. This seedling was planted at our then neighbor Eleanor’s house so it received that name.

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Callistemon subulatus ‘Dark Red’

There are several hardy red flowered bottlebrushes on the market but if you really like red this is the one. Small gray thin leaves densely clothe the arching stems of this clumping multi branched low shrub. In spring and then sporadically all summer deep red 2″ long and wide bottlebrush flowers appear. Happiness and hummingbirds ensue. To 3′ x 3′ in 5 years and strongly arching. Full sun and a protected location- against a south or west facing wall is ideal. Light summer water. Excellent performance in containers- hardy Callistemon often are shy to bloom in containers but this girl is not shy at all. Brilliant, Brilliant red. Freezes to the ground below about 10ºF- returns vigorously from the base in spring. Excellent performance at the Oregon Coast. Moderately deer resistant.

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Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Shamrock’

Our selection of a very compact, dense and tidy growing Mountain Bottlebrush. Moderately slow growing shrub to 5′ x 3′ in 7 years. In May-July 3″ acid green bottlebrush flowers decorate all the branch tips. A thrill for hummingbirds. In winter the small pointed deep green leaves take on dramatic maroon tints- great contrast with the white, cork-like bark. Very tidy compared to the species which can be somewhat wild and unkempt. If you don’t want that try ‘Shamrock’. It fits in small sites well and is adaptable to all types of soil, including heavy clay. Great cold hardiness- suffering no injury at 5ºF. Excellent landscape shrub or foundation plant. Tidy and dense. Moderate deer resistance.  Low water requirements.

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Callistemon (sieberi) pityoides

I got this form of alpine bottlebrush almost 30 years ago. From a municipal bus driver from Vancouver, BC. He grew hardy exotics and I actually had to go that far to source this cold hardy bottlebrush. Fine ochre-green needle like foliage on curiously winding stems. Eventually forms an upright rounded shrub but can be wonky too. In late spring 2″ condensed soft but luminous bottlebrush flowers. And in most years again in autumn. Rich to average soil Tolerates heavy clay and drought. Moderate deer resistance. Fun little shrub that provides both a foliar and flower texture that is unusual in our landscapes. 3′ x 3′ in 7 years. Best with occasional summer water. Full sun. Mountains of Australia.

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Callistemon ‘Woodlander’s Hardy Red’

This has become the standard cold hardy red flowering bottlebrush in our climate. 4″ brushes of raspberry red occur en mass in May/June and sporadically there after on established plants. Low, spreading arching habit. Give it horizontal space to grow. Virtually any soil type and incredibly drought adapted when established. Accepts regular irrigation as well. Must have full, all day sun to perform. Avoid exposure to subfreezing east winds, err on the side of protection. Cold hardy to a little below 10ºF but has vigorously recovered from subzero lows returning from the base. If damaged by cold cut back in spring- then supply regular irrigation and recovery is rapid. Moderate deer resistance. To 3′ x 5′ wide in 6 years.

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Callistemon viridiflorus ‘Xera Compact’

One of our very best selections of the cold hardy Mountain Bottlebrush from Tasmania. This unusual variant has smaller leaves held closer together on a compact and dense growing shrub. To 4′ tall and 3′ wide in 7 years. In May-June every branch tip is decked in 3″ chartreuse green bottlebrush flowers. An incredibly heavy bloomer – even when very young. Full sun and virtually any soil with REGULAR summer water. Definitely not as drought tolerant as other hardy Callistemons. Slow growth. Moderate deer resistance. Cold hardy to 5ºF. (Syn. Melaleuca virens)

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Callistemon pityoides ‘Mt. Kozuisko’

Dwarf alpine Bottlebrush that we like most as a clipped hedge. Dense rounded shrub composed of fine olive green needles. To 3′ x 3′ in time. Full sun and very little water when established. It can also tolerate regular summer irrigation. Sporadically, in spring starry cream colored bottlebrush flowers appear. Extremely hardy to cold and very deer resistant evergreen. Alpine Australia. This durable shrub with a fine texture makes a fantastic clipped hedge. It can be trained as one solid shrub or separated into spheres. Pruning is done just once a year in early summer. This can sacrifice blooms but the effect is striking for a small cold hardy, drought tolerant, low prune hedge.

 

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Callistemon ‘Wetland’s Challenged Mutant’

A great great introduction from the Sequim, WA nursery Desert Northwest. Incredibly showy in bloom this easy to grow shrub produces 4″ long 1″ thick moonlight colored brushes in late spring and early summer. Moderately fast growing shrub to 7′ tall and 3′ wide in 6 years. The pretty, fine foliage is an execptional ochre green and contrasts beautifully with the light taupe colored bark. Full sun and average to rich soil with light but consistent summer water. Drought adapted. Considering the size of the brushes this is an exceptionally hardy Callistemon taking 5ºF when established. If there is any confusion about which species this appears to be- the foliage is unlike C. pityoides. but the large brushes are dense and fragrant just like that species. A hybrid is likely. Great shrub, thanks Ian.

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Callistemon viridiflorus

One of our very favorite shrubs that combines unusual foliage, beautiful bark, and a great flower color. Upright growing with small scimitar shaped forest green leaves that  line the wand-like stems. In cold weather this unusual shrub takes on maroon and purple tones, a great foil to the very light tan stems and trunk. In May 4” long by 1” wide chartreuse/yellow bottlebrushes protrude from the tips of the branches shoot out at every angle. In Tasmania where it is native it follows cold air drainages, proving that it requires at least some cold for good flower set. This clone is from a specimen that survived 0ºF in 1989. FULL sun and any soil with occasional summer water. My own receives no irrigation and performs beautifully. Hardier to cold in full sun. Unusual shrub that seems to bridge the aesthetic gap between broad-leaved evergreen and conifer. (Syn. Melaleuca virens)

 

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Callistemon pityoides 'Excellent' xera plants

Callistemon pityoides ‘Excellent’

This form of alpine bottlebrush has flowers that truly are excellent. Fine grass green needle like foliage on a spreading shrub to 5’ tall and 6’ wide. In early summer to early autumn 3” yellow bottlebrush flowers decorate the stems. Woody seed capsules that follow persist on the branches. Blooms on wood from the previous year and then sporadically on new growth. May be damaged below 10ºF but has recovered fully from much lower and has actually bloomed fantastically the following spring. Full sun and adaptable to many kinds of soil including heavy clay. Occasional summer water encourages growth. Wonky twisting habit is fascinating. Like nothing you’ve ever seen.

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