Callistemon ‘Packers Selection’ is a small shrub reaching a height of 1.5 metres with a pendulous growth habit.
It is a variant of C. subulatus and arose in a tray of seedlings in a Sydney nursery.
The narrow leaves are 4 cm long by 0.4 cm wide.
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, inflorescences are about 10 cm long by 3 cm wide; deep/dark red and fading as they age. The main flowering period is during the warmer months with sporadic flowering at other times.
A hardy cultivar that has been around since the 1980s. The flower colou is very attractive and the small form lends to its attraction.
Author’s note: Plants, in our cold climate garden, have flowered in February, March, and December. Remove spent brushes to promote dense growth and bounteous blooming. It has proved to be hardy.
Callistemon ‘Packers Selection’ could be cultivated as a foreground shrub in native garden beds.
Best grown in full sun. Can tolerate a range of soils and will tolerate poor drainage. Prune after flowering and apply a suitable fertiliser to promote dense flowering plants every year.
All cultivars must be propagated by cuttings to maintain ‘true-to-type’ form.
‘Packers Selection’ may be distinguished by its pendulous growth habit and longer bottle-brushes when compared to C. subulatus.
The genus Callistemon has been subject to recent taxonomic revision with early and recent botanists including Ferdinand von Mueller and Lyndley Craven (deceased in 2014) proposing to ‘lump’ the genus into Melaleuca and others. Craven et al. (2014) published new species combinations which included the renaming of all Callistemon species to Melaleuca, based on evolutionary relationships and DNA evidence and other features.
Currently, the NSW Herbarium advises that the Callistemon genus can still be used. There are currently about 30 species of Callistemon, which are found in all states of Australia as well as New Caledonia. About 28 are endemic to Australia. NSW currently recognises 24 species. New species have been 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.
‘Packers Selection’ – named for Mr Eric Packer who first raised the cultivar in Bankstown, NSW.
Australian National Botanic Gardens – Australian Cultivar Registration Authority – Callistemon ‘Packers Selection’ profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/acra/descriptions/acc229.html
Plantmark Wholesale Nurseries – Callistemon ‘Packers Selection’ profile page https://www.plantmark.com.au/callistemon-subulatus-packers-selection