Callistemon rugulosus

Scarlet Bottlebrush

Family: Myrtaceae

Callistemon rugulosus is known as the Scarlet Bottlebrush and in the wild will develop into a straggly shrub up to four metres tall. In our cold climate garden annual pruning has kept this species to a compact two metres.

The bark is grey and peels. The leaves are thick and rigid, up to 50 millimetres long, seven millimetres wide and crowned with a pungent point. Large oil glands are clearly visible on the lower surface.

The compact flower spikes are up to 80 millimetres long, 50 millimetres wide and dark crimson with prominent, bright yellow anthers.

The species occurs in South Australia and Victoria.


In the garden

The lengthy flowering period extends from late spring to autumn. Cut off each brush as it fades. This encourages fresh shoots and more blooms.

Callistemon rugulosus survives and thrives in dry, well drained situations in our cold climate garden.


Propagate from seed and cuttings.

We prefer cutting propagation as plants mature faster than seed-grown specimens.

Other information

The Scarlet Bottlebrush was first exported to Europe by early French expeditions in 1811. This was during the Napoleonic War between Britain and France.

The species name means rather wrinkled and refers the leaves rough surface due to the prominent oil dots.

By Warren and Gloria Sheather