Several types of the plant genus Callistemon, or bottlebrush, are common sights in many local grounds. In fact, there are several species well-adapted to Southwest Florida that have been grown here successfully for many years. This article will highlight the Weeping Bottlebrush, Callistemon viminalis – a tree sure to add interest to any landscape.
The mature Weeping Bottlebrush in full bloom is a spectacular sight! This is a small to medium-sized tree that can grow to about twenty feet in height and width. This tree is best used in full sun and needs a moist, but still well drained soil, as the roots will rot in a wet location. While a good yard tree, the weeping habit and pendulous branches should be kept in mind if cars are parked nearby or if people must pass by the planting site. It is this weeping habit, however, that makes this tree so spectacular. Just like many other “weeping” trees, the branches hang downward with limber twigs displayed in an almost umbrella-like fashion. Weeping trees are normally mutations that were discovered and cultivated – some may even be grafted to accentuate the weeping appearance. One particularly excellent cultivar of weeping bottlebrush is 'Red Cascade' which has large red flowers from March through July with lesser blossoming the rest of the year. Even without flowers, this parasol-like tree is amazing.
This bottlebrush is an excellent hummingbird plant with very bright red flower spikes that are a natural attractant to these birds. The flowers make a real show in season and are followed by long-lasting, interesting fruit capsules. The plant is evergreen and does not produce a litter problem. This bottlebrush is also very drought tolerant once established. The weeping bottlebrush, like other bottlebrush trees, does not tolerate soil that is too alkaline, however.
Take a closer look at this eye-catching woody plant. Once you have seen the brilliant flower display and graceful weeping nature, you will be convinced that this bottlebrush, a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ plant, will make your landscape complete! For more information on all types of flowering trees, please call our Master Gardener volunteers on the Plant Lifeline on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer. Don't forget to visit our other County Plant Clinics in the area. Please check this link for a complete list of site locations, dates and times - http://charlotte.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/Plant%20Clinics%20Schedule.pdf.
Gilman, E. F. & Watson, D. G. (2014) Callistemon viminalis 'Red Cascade' Weeping Bottlebrush, The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design (2010) the University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Christman, S. (2007) Callistemon viminalis. Floridata.com, Tallahassee, FL.