Callistemon citrinus
Common Name: crimson bottlebrush 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Myrtaceae
Native Range: Australia
Zone: 9 to 10
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant, Evergreen


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-10. Best in moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Established plants tolerate some soil dryness. In St. Louis, grow in containers that must be overwintered indoors in a bright cool sun room or greenhouse.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Callistemon citrinus, commonly called scarlet bottlebrush, lemon bottlebrush or red bottlebrush, is native to Australia. It is a large evergreen upright tropical shrub that will grow to 10-15’ tall in its native habitat. It is commonly grown as a specimen or hedge in frost free areas such as southern Florida and parts of southern California. It can also be trained as a tree to 25’ tall. In containers in northern climates, it more commonly is grown as a 3-5’ tall shrub or trained as a small standard. Flowers feature numerous bushy bright red stamens in rounded to cylindrical spikes (to 4” long) that resemble bottlebrushes. Flowers bloom intermittently throughout the year in frost free areas, but more typically in summer in St. Louis. Flowers are attractive to bees. Lance-shaped to narrow-elliptic leaves (to 3” long) emerge coppery before maturing to medium green. Leaves have a lemony scent when bruised, hence the species name.

Genus name comes from the Greek words kalli- meaning beautiful and stemon meaning a stamen for the beauty of the flower.

Specific epithet means resembling citron.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for spider mites and scale, particularly on indoor plants.

Garden Uses

Container plant. Houseplant.