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Growing the Weeping Bottlebrush - Callistemon viminalis

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Picture of a weeping bottlebrush Image by wallygrom via Flickr

Overview of Weeping Bottlebrush:

My Southern Californian childhood was awash with a kaleidoscope of colors in the landscape. Everywhere I looked, no matter what time of year, there were blossoms in many different shades. Weeping bottlebrush provided some of the splashes of red I saw. The poofy flowers were fun to grasp and I loved the way that they hung on the tree. I would also curiously examine the small capsules that came later.

Latin Name:

The scientific name of this member of the Myrtaceae (Myrtle) family is Callistemon viminalis.

Common Names:

Weeping bottlebrush is the name you will see for this plant, which is inspired by the way the stamens are arranged.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones:

This Australian native likes to grow in zones 9-11.

Size & Shape of Weeping Bottlebrush:

This weeping tree will grow to be 15-20' tall and wide. If it's not pruned, it will form into a round shrub.

Exposure:

Plant where it can receive full sun. While it will grow in areas with part shade, you run the risk of having less blossoms.

Foliage/Flowers/Fruit of Weeping Bottlebrush:

The way that the leaves hang off the branches of this tree is reminiscent of the weeping willow. Each will be lance-shaped and up to 4" long.

Strangely enough, the red "flowers" you see are actually a collection of red stamens that are produced during spring and summer, as well as other times throughout the year potentially.

The fruit is a hard brown capsule.

Design Tips:

Some people can be allergic to the pollen, so verify that no one in your household is susceptible before you plant it.

This tree will attract hummingbirds with its scarlet blossoms, as well as other birds and insects like bees.

There won't be much mess from fallen flowers or leaves, so this won't be a problem if it's planted by a pool.

Drought and salt tolerance are features of the weeping bottlebrush.

Growing Tips For Weeping Bottlebrush:

The best soil for a weeping bottlebrush will be well-drained to prevent problems with rot and fungi.

Fertilize during spring and summer to promote growth and health.

Maintenance/Pruning:

You will need to train it to a tree form so it will exhibit the weeping shape. Otherwise it can turn into a shrub that can be used as a hedge.

Pests & Diseases of Weeping Bottlebrush:

You may find that mites show up on the tree. Treat them with a horticultural oil. Witches' brooms may also form in the branches, which can just be pruned away for aesthetics. Make sure there's not a bigger problem such as pests or diseases causing the witches' broom or there may be more serious problems if left untreated.

Don't plant this in wet soil. Too much moisture may cause cankers or root rots. Another problem that the tree can face is the Sphaeropsis gall. Cut off any branches infected with a gall to help stop the spread.

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