Often referred to as Little John or red bottlebrush, this plant is a hardy, low-maintenance, and drought-resistant plant. It belongs to the Myrtaceae family and the binomial name for this plant is Callistemon citrinus. Native to Australia, the plant is also perfect for warm places such as Florida.
The plant grows to a height of about 3 to 6 feet. It has a maximum spread of about 2-3 feet. It flowers in the months of spring and summer. However, it continues to flower sporadically all year round. It is an evergreen shrub that is a bit of a slow grower. It is a perfect choice for container gardening. Once it has taken soil, it needs minimum care and only requires occasional watering.
How to Raise the Plant
The plant cannot withstand cold climate for long and, therefore, you need to find a location that receives full sun. Make sure the area offers the plant some protection from wind and choose a location near a wall, fence, or beside your house. Also, make sure the area is protected from freezing winter winds. This plant is good to grow in zones 8 to 11. The soil should be fertile and well drained. The pH of the soil should be about neutral to acidic. Place the plant in the ground at soil level. Water the plant thoroughly and carry out mulching with about 2" of organic mulch. Continue to water the plant everyday for the next 2 to 4 weeks.
Once the roots are established, you need to reduce the number of times you water the plant. You should now water the plant only 2 or 3 times a week. Keep the soil dry during winter, but moist in summer and spring. Fertilize the plant 2 to 4 times a year. Just add 1 to 3 pounds of the fertilizer over the root area. Pruning dwarf bottlebrush will help in promoting branching. You need to pinch the stem tips and thin the branches down near the trunk. This will help in air circulation.
The plant is ideal for container gardens, hedges, mixed border plants, rock gardens, and near house walls. Even when the plant is not flowering, the dark green narrow foliage will keep your garden vibrant and make it a pleasure to look at. As you can see, caring for the plant is very easy and simple. Once the plant is established, you need not fuss over it. Just watch it produce attractive bright red flowers and find hummingbirds and butterflies sipping its sweet nectar.