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CALLISTEMON rigidus

Image of Callistemon rigidus

James H. Schutte

Family

Myrtaceae

Botanical Name

CALLISTEMON rigidus

Plant Common Name

Erect Bottlebrush, Rigid Bottlebrush

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

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.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    7'-20' / 2.1m - 6.1m

  • Width

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Red, Crimson, Dark Red

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Corky

  • Usage

    Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes