Callistemons are true bottle brushes and are very popular garden plants in Australia. Flower spikes are made up of a large number of individual flowers. The coloured fluffy appearance comes from the pollen-bearing stamens, as the petals are so small they are virtually invisible. Like other flowers where the displays are made up of anthers or stamens, vase life is short. Flower colour varies between species; most are red, but some are yellow, green, orange or white. Bottlebrushes are easily recognised by the seed clusters that are produced after flowering. They surround a portion of each stem (where the previous year’s flowers were) with a number of seed capsules. These remain on the plant with the seeds enclosed for many years, until stimulated to open either when the plant dies or by fire.
Callistemon is grown as a field crop. Most are grown in WA, SA, NSW and Victoria.
What to look for
- Buy when at least ½ the flowers in a spike are open and brightly coloured;
- Avoid bunches with wilted tips, yellow leaves or where all flowers are in tight bud.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the lower half of each stem and wash stem ends thoroughly.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem and place in water immediately.
- Do not bash or split stem ends.
- Always use a preservative as this will help keep open flowers looking fresh.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every day.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
Joseph Banks first grew Callistemon at Kew in 1789 and they are still grown in Europe today.
Botanical Name: Callistemon viminalis, C. citrinus
Common Names: Bottlebrush
Stem Length: 30 to 60 cm
Country of Origin: Australia
Available Colours: Green, Orange, Red, Yellow