Red Cluster
Bottlebrush Bush

Callistemon rigidus

For a tall and pretty hedge, Red Cluster bottlebrush bush is made to order - with dense foliage, fast growth habit, and bright scarlet blooms.

These red flowering shrubs are among the best in hedge shrubs for South Florida.

They grow fast, and their dense foliage  stays full to the ground.

They're also versatile enough to work as accents or even as small flowering trees.

This attractive plant blooms on and off all year, more in warmer months.

Each fuzzy red flower resembling (what else) a bottle brush attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, making this plant a good choice for a butterfly garden.

Honeybees love the blossoms as well. Though the bees are busy doing their job, many people are afraid of them so don't place this plant right next to a door or too close to a walkway.

Another form of bottlebrush is the dwarf shrub "Little John" which can be kept about 3 feet. And the beautiful weeping bottlebrush tree is a popular small landscape tree.

You can encourage the Red Cluster bottlebrush to grow into a handsome multi-trunk tree by keeping the base of the plant free of new shoots.

Plant specs

This shrub is a fast grower you can keep 6 to 8 feet, or let it grow 10 feet tall if you prefer.

It's evergreen, moderately salt-tolerant, and cold hardy anywhere in South Florida. A full to part sun location is best.

Bottlebrush is considered deer-resistant, though nothing is deer-proof.

Plant care

Add top soil or organic peat humus to the hole when you plant. You might also add in composted cow manure to enrich the soil around the plant's rootball.

Although the bottlebrush bush has a nice, rounded shape, the top shoots can grow a bit wayward so trim the plant occasionally to keep things shapely.

Prune back in spring (late March or early April) to keep the plant the size you want and to promote full, lush foliage.

Water on a regular basis. A bottlebrush shrub requires consistent water to look its best, and can even take "wet feet" (areas that stay somewhat moist after a hard rain).

Fertilize 3 times a year - in spring, summer, and autumn - with a good granular fertilizer. Supplement feedings with bloom boosters like bone meal and/or liquid fertilizer to promote heavier flowering.

Plant spacing

If planting in a row, situate these shrubs 3 to 4 feet apart.

Come out from the house about 4 feet.

Along a walkway or drive, come in about 5 feet to keep the honeybees from annoying people.

Red flowers

Landscape uses for bottlebrush bush

  • hedge
  • privacy screen
  • large shrub for the corner of the house
  • lining a drive or fence
  • anchor for a garden bed 
  • single yard specimen
  • small tree


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Copper plant, 'Plum' loropetalum, hibiscus, muhly grass, thryallis, Super King ixora, and bush daisy.

Other plants you might like: Jatropha, Powderpuff

  1. Home
  2. Large Shrubs
  3. Bottlebrush Bush

Take a break!

cover Lazy Gardener's Guide

The ultimate guide to low-maintenance plants
and landscaping!

An ebook by
Chase Landre

author of

Learn more!

Get a greener thumb!

Want to learn more about South Florida planting, watering, fertilizing and dealing with weeds and pests?

See our Gardening How-To section for answers!

Get instant curb appeal!

cover Landscape in a Hurry

An ebook by
Chase Landre

author of

Learn how to get instant curb appeal with fast growing plants and landscaping techniques!

Learn more...