Red Cluster
Bottlebrush Tree

Callistemon rigidus

Red Cluster bottlebrush in tree form makes a showy specimen, with its bushy, upright growth habit and bright red blooms.

Red Cluster bottlebrush tree

This bottlebrush shrub variety can be grown as a large bush or a small single-trunk or multi-trunk tree.

A Red Cluster bottlebrush works very well as a specimen tree for a yard with limited space.

Its upright rounded crown can be easily kept in check for a manicured look.

The flower spikes shaped like a bottle brush appear on and off all year - more in warmer months - and attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

A great landscape accent plant, this bottlebrush tree is perfect for the corner of the house or near the entry - though not too near, honeybees love the red flowers.

Other varieties of bottlebrush include the Red Cluster in full-to-the-ground bush form, weeping bottlebrush tree, and dwarf 'Little John' bottlebrush bush.

Plant specs

Fast growing to 10 feet or more, Red Clusters are cold hardy, doing well anywhere in South Florida. A full sun location is best.

The soft-textured foliage is evergreen and the plant is moderately salt-tolerant.

It's also said to be deer-resistant, though nothing is deer-proof.

If you prefer the look of a single trunk Red cluster bottlebrush, buy it already trained this way from a nursery. For multi-trunk, however, you can buy it in bush-form and train it to tree-form by trimming off new shoots at the base.

Red Cluster flowers

Plant care

Add top soil to the hole when you plant.

Bottlebrushes prefer regular waterings.

Fertilize in spring, summer and fall with a top quality granular fertilizer, and supplement feedings with bone meal and/or liquid fertilizer to promote heavy blooming.

Red Clusters tend to stay full to the ground, so clean up the trunks on a regular basis to keep the tree shape.

Although this plant has a nice, naturally rounded shape, you'll need to cut off stray shoots occasionally for a cleaner look.

Cut back hard in spring (late March) - take off up to 1/3 of the plant to encourage the dense and bushy growth. Give it a good drink at least an hour prior to doing any hard pruning.

Plant spacing

Plant 5 feet from the house to allow the wide, rounded crown of the tree plenty of room the fill out.

If you're planting more than one, such as a row of trees along the property line, space them about 8 feet apart so each one can stand out.

Red Clusters do best in the ground rather than in containers.

Landscape uses for Red Cluster bottlebrush tree

  • large corner-of-the-house accent
  • anchor for a garden bed
  • in pairs flanking the gate of a large driveway
  • center of a bed in a circular drive
  • focal point near the entry
  • single yard specimen
  • along a fence or property border


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Underplantings should be kept low to show off the Red Cluster's pretty tree form. Try small shrubs such as Mammy croton, Indian hawthorne and dwarf allamanda, and/or groundcovers such as sweet potato vine, coral creeper, jasmine minima (Asiatic jasmine), and dwarf ruella.

Other flowering trees you might like: Weeping Bottlebrush Tree, Jatropha Tree

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