How are bottlebrush plants properly planted and what needs to be considered when caring for them? All information about the so-called lamp cleaning bush can be found here.
Bottlebrush plants (Callistemon) are very popular evergreen container plants. With their exotic inflorescences, they transform your terrace or balcony into a beautiful tropical oasis in summer.
Bottlebrush plants: origin and properties
The approximately 35 known bottlebrush plant species belong to the myrtle family ( Myrtaceae ) and originally come from Australia. In 1789 the Callistemon came to Europe and in 1814 the genus Callistemon was first described taxonomically. One of the best-known and most popular Callistemon species is the carmine Callistemon citrinus.
The evergreen plant in Australia reaches heights of up to seven meters in its natural habitat. In the Mediterranean region, too, Bottlebrush plants grow into stately bushes. In the temperate climate, however, it can be up to three meters high. The Bottlebrush plant grows as an upright shrub or small tree with overhanging branches, at the tips of which striking flowers repeatedly from between May and September in up to four flowering times.
The cylindrical inflorescences are composed of single flowers arranged in the shape of a spike, the numerous long stamens of which protrude almost vertically outwards. This is how the eponymous shape of a bottle brush, as the English name is, is created. The flowers of the carmine Callistemon appear in a strong red. The flowers of other species bloom in different shades of red, orange, and yellow as well as white. The leaves of Callistemon citrinus are lanceolate, gray-green in color, and have a hard surface, which protects the plant in its home from excessive water loss through evaporation. The leaves also contain essential oils that smell pleasantly lemony when rubbed between the fingers.
Because the Bottlebrush plants are not hardy, we can only grow them in planters. So it can be brought into the house in winter and overwintered in a suitable place. From April, when no more frosts are to be expected, the plant can finally leave its winter quarters and be put outside. Depending on the site conditions of its natural habitat, the Bottlebrush plants need a lot of suns.
So choose a sunny, warm, and sheltered location on your balcony, terrace, or in the garden. In October the Callistemon should then be brought back to a frost-proof place. The Bottlebrush plants can also be kept all year round as a houseplant in the winter garden or in a light-flooded room. Then, however, a lower abundance of flowers is to be expected, as the plant does not have a proper resting phase.
Choose a sufficiently large container in which to plant the Bottlebrush so that its roots can develop well. Young Bottlebrush plants should also be repotted in a larger container every spring. As far as the soil conditions are concerned, good permeability, a not too high lime content, and a weakly acidic pH value of the substrate are important. In order to increase the proportion of coarse pores and thus the drainage capacity, expanded clay or lava chippings can also be added.
Maintaining bottlebrush plants: This must be taken into account when caring for them
If you take proper care of the Bottlebrush plants, you will be rewarded with a lush abundance of flowers. In addition to the supply of water, occasional fertilizers are necessary during the growing season in summer. Young Bottlebrush plants should also be cut back regularly so that flower formation is stimulated and the Callistemon develops into a compact shrub.
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Pouring Bottlebrush plants: our tips
Young plants in particular must be watered generously and cannot tolerate drought. If the root ball dries out, the plant reacts with little flower formation and leaf shedding. To avoid this, you should check the soil moisture daily. If the substrate feels dry in the upper two centimeters, it should be poured. The planter must have a hole in the bottom so that excess water can drain into a saucer. Waterlogging can ultimately lead to root rot, which is seriously damaging to the plant. Pottery shards at the bottom of the pot also improve the drainage of water.
This is how you fertilize Bottlebrush plants
So that the Bottlebrush plants produce many beautiful flowers, again and again, they should be fertilized regularly during the growth period. Our purely organic Plantura organic flower and balcony fertilizer is very suitable for this. It reliably supplies the Callistemon with all the important nutrients. From April to September, the Bottlebrush plants should be fertilized every one to two weeks with a little liquid fertilizer over the irrigation water. For example, you can add three to five milliliters of liquid fertilizer per liter of water to the irrigation water from our Plantura organic flower and balcony fertilizer.
Cutting Bottlebrush plants
With a targeted cut, you keep the Bottlebrush plants in shape and stimulate them to form lush flowers. The shoots, at the tips of which the flowers are located, continue to grow in long branches after flowering. The Callistemon quickly loses its compact shape due to the expansive shots. Therefore, you should cut off the faded inflorescences. Further branches with new flower buds form below the interfaces. The Bottlebrush plants can be cut in spring and late summer. In addition to the topiary, you should always remove damaged or dead shoots.
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Brown shoots in the central area of the plant often indicate a lack of light. Here it helps to thin out the plant a little so that all areas are adequately supplied with the light. If you want to raise the bottlebrush plant tree with a trunk and a crown, you should take the pruning measures in early spring so as not to disturb the budding and flower formation.
Hibernate bottlebrush plant properly
The Callistemon is not hardy and must be moved to a frost-proof place in autumn. The winter quarters should be as bright as possible and the temperatures should be between 5 and 10 ° C. The Bottlebrush plants can also be overwintered in a warmer place in the house. However, the cold stimulus is then missing. The lack of resting phase is reflected in the following year in a lower flowering rate. The substrate must also be kept moist throughout the winter, but the Bottlebrush plants should not be fertilized during this time.
Increase bottlebrush plant
The propagation of the Bottlebrush plants can be carried out in two different ways. On the one hand, it can be propagated by seeds. The Bottlebrush plant is a pyrophyte, which means that its seed pods can last for years and only burst and release the seeds when exposed to strong heat. In its natural home, Australia, the Bottlebrush plants, like other pyrophytes, pursues the strategy of dropping their seeds on fertile soil in bush fires if their own existence is endangered by the fire.
To get to the seeds, you have to heat the fruit capsules of the Bottlebrush plants either over a flame or in the oven. At the same time, the heat stimulus breaks the dormancy of the seeds and makes them germinable. You can then sow them in seed trays filled with substrate. Choose a nutrient-poor potting soil such as our peat-free Plantura organic herb and seed soil. Since the Bottlebrush plant is a light germinator, you should not cover the delicate seeds or only cover them with a very thin layer of the substrate. The optimal germination temperature is 15 ° C. Always keep the soil moist.
As an alternative to propagation via seeds, bottlebrush plants can also be propagated via cuttings. To do this, cut about ten centimeters long, ideally flowerless and as little lignified as possible head cuttings from the shoots. Remove the lower leaves and leave only the top pair of leaves. The cuttings should be cut diagonally with a sharp knife so that the area on which new roots are to form is as large as possible. In addition, rooting powder can be used to stimulate root formation. Put the cuttings in containers filled with seed compost and place them in a bright place out of direct sunlight.
The optimal temperature for development is between 18 and 20 ° C. Always keep the soil moist with a spray bottle. In addition to moistening, plastic hoods are suitable to keep the moisture in. However, these must be opened or removed for a few minutes every day so that the cuttings are adequately ventilated. You can recognize successful rooting by the fact that new leaves are forming. Then the young plants can be planted in normal soil for the Callistemon and initially placed in a protected, sunny to partially shaded place.
Perhaps you still have one question unanswered: is the Bottlebrush plants poisonous? Here we have good news for you: The Bottlebrush plants is not known to have any toxic effects. Nevertheless, it is an ornamental plant that is supposed to please our senses with its beauty and fragrance and is not suitable for consumption.