James H. Schutte
Plant Common Name
Erect Bottlebrush, Rigid Bottlebrush
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
New leaves are light yellow-green and fuzzy but then mature to dark green and stiff on the stiff bottlebrush. It is showiest anytime from very late winter into late summer when branch tips are crimson-red spikes of bristled flowers. This evergreen large shrub is native to east-central Australia in Queensland and New South Wales. Its branches are a ghostly gray-beige with mildly corky dark sandy brown bark.
The dark green leaves are stiff and linear to lance-shaped although when first emerging they are fuzzy and light yellow-green with possible purplish blushing. From stem tips will arise a cluster of crimson flowers that lack petals but have long, whisker-like stamens that collectively resemble a bottlebrush. Blooming can start in late winter and spring, depending on warmth of climate), and continue across the summer. Bees and hummingbirds will visit them. After flowering the blooms become woody capsules that remain on the stem and persist for several years. The branch continues to grow from the old flowers and you can trace back the annual growth to the previous flowers' location. Each woody capsule has hundred of seeds inside and often will not release them until very dry, old or a fire occurs. This is an evergreen plant but chillier winter zones may find it deciduous; it does not tolerate continued subfreezing temperatures.
Grow rigid bottlebrush in full to partial sun in an fertile but well-draining soil. Tolerating drought, it is its best with some moisture. Avoid heavy or soggy soils and ensure the ground is neither extremely alkaline nor very acidic. Use it as a large shrub for an informal hedge, accent in a mixed subtropical border or foundation bed. It can become somewhat rangy as it ages and becomes a small tree. Selection 'Clemson Hardy' is more winter cold tolerant.
AHS Heat Zone
11 - 6
USDA Hardiness Zone
8 - 15
H1, H2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Full Sun, Partial Sun
7'-20' / 2.1m - 6.1m
6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m
Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Late Winter
Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Drought Tolerant, Average Water