Callistemon ‘Firebrand’


Family: Myrtaceae

Callistemon ‘Firebrand’ is a low spreading, dense groundcovering shrub that reaches a height of 0.5 metres with a spread of over 1 metre. It can become larger in some areas.

Callistemon ‘Firebrand’ originated from a seedling raised by Austraflora Nursery, Melbourne and registered in 1980. It is thought to be a cultivar of C. citrinus.

Callistemon spp. have simple and alternate to spiral leaves. In this cultivar, the lanceolate leaves are about 40 mm long by about 5 mm wide. Adult leaves are stiff and shiny with oil dots while new growth is soft and pink.

In Callistemon species, flowers are usually arranged in spikes (the “bottlebrush”) which are produced at the terminals but which the stem then grows past, into a leafy shoot. Flowers have five small circular sepals and five circular petals which persist on the flowers. Like many other Myrtaceae genera, the flowers are conspicuously staminate with each flower having many stamens surrounding one carpel. The stamens are typically free although may be fused at the basal parts (a generally useful identifying feature for the genus to distinguish it from Melaleuca). The pedicels of the flowers are very short. In this cultivar, flower spikes are dark red and about 5 centimetres long by the same width. Flowering is prolific in spring with flowering also possible in autumn and winter. In this cultivar, the inflorescences are a rich crimson-pink, to 9 cm long by about 4 cm wide, and appear in profusion from spring to autumn.

In the garden

Author’s notes: Callistemon ‘Firebrand’ could be grown on embankments or as a foreground plant in garden beds. In our cold climate garden, plants have proved to be drought and frost tolerant.

Prune spent inflorescences to encourage new growth and improve density and flowering. Useful for rockeries and open areas as a groundcovering-shrub.

Hardy once established. Plant in full sun for best results.


All cultivars must be propagated from cuttings to maintain “true-to-type” form.

Other information

Regenerates after fire from epicormic and basal shoots as well as from the seedbank.

Note: Some herbaria are calling all Callistemon species, Melaleuca species based on a reclassification by the Late Lynley Craven (1945-2014) where all species of Callistemon were re-classified as Melaleuca spp. The National Herbarium of NSW currently still retains the former classification.

Callistemon is a genus of about 30 species, occurring in Australia and New Caledonia. Australia has about 26 species endemic, occurring in all states. NSW currently has 24 species. Some new ones have been formally described in the last 20 years.

Callistemon – From the Ancient Greek – Callos (κάλλος) – meaning “beautiful” (which is changed to κάλλη to describe a noun) and and stêma (στῆμα) meaning “stamen”, referring to the very showy staminate flowers of the bottle-brush inflorescences.

‘Firebrand’ – likley named for the colour of the inflorescences.

Gardening with Angus – Callistemon ‘Firebrand’ Bottlebrush profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/callistemon-firebrand-bottlebrush/

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.