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Last Update 06/03/08

Plant of the Month

Callistemon 'Little John'

Dwarf Callistemon or Dwarf Bottlebrush

Callistemon 'Little John' is a small but spectacular evergreen shrub which is great for attracting hummingbirds. Of the family Myrtaceae it is well known as Dwarf Callistemon or Dwarf Bottlebrush. It is easy to grow and loves warmth, moisture and sun. Callistemon 'Little John' is native to Australia mostly growing in moist soil in open or woodland sites.

Calistemon "Little John", Dwarf Bottle Brush. Image shot at Vila & Son booth TPIE 2004. Click to enlarge.
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Calistemon "Little John", Dwarf Bottle Brush.Close-up of flowers shot at Vila & Son booth TPIE 2004.
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Plant Facts:

Common Name:  Callistemon  'Little John' or Dwarf Bottlebrush

Botanical Name:  Callistemon

Family:  Myrtaceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen Shrub

Origin: Australia

Zones: 9 - 11, Sub-tropical, hardy to 20F

Height:  3' with 5' spread

Rate of Growth: Slow

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Requirements:  Moderately fertile, moist, but well-drained, neutral to acidic soil

Water Requirements: Water freely spring to autumn, keep fairly dry in winter. Can withstand drought once established.

Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly, Top-dress in spring

Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade

Form:  Low Mounding Shrub, prune in autumn after flowering, head back to control size and form

Leaves:  Sharp pointed mid-green

Flowers:  Grown for their colorful, terminal or axillary, bottlebrush-like spikes of numerous, long-stamened flowers in deep red

Fruits: Small woody seed case

Pests:  Mostly worry-free

Uses:  Shrub border, water accent

Bad Habits: Pollen is an Allergen

Cost:  $$ - reasonable

Propagation:   Semi-ripe cuttings in late summer, surface sown seeds onto moist soil mix at 61-64F in spring.

Sources: American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, The Subtropical Garden, Vila & Son


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