How Do You Care for the Bottlebrush Tree?

care-bottlebrush-tree Credit: adinham/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

The bottlebrush plant forms flowers with spikes that resemble a round brush. Most of the flowers are red, with the exception of one species that produces yellow flowers. Once established, the plants require little care.

  1. Select the appropriate location

    Bottlebrush plants are hearty in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. If you live outside these zones, plant the bottlebrush in a pot so you can move it inside to protect it from colder weather. If planting outdoors, select a well-drained location providing full sun at least 5 feet from any buildings. If planting more than one bottlebrush, space the plants at least 8 feet apart.

  2. Water the trees until they are established

    While bottlebrush trees are drought resistant, it's important to water them the first year to help establish a well-developed root system. Saturate the surrounding soil, and apply mulch to retain the water. After the first season, the tree requires little water.

  3. Feed the trees annually

    Do not fertilize these trees when planting. During the second growing season, apply compost or commercial fertilizer around the base of the tree. Fertilize annually until the tree reaches maturity.

  4. Prune the tree

    Prune the bottlebrush tree to the desired shape. Remove lower growth to create a plant with a treelike look. Leave the lower growth to create a plant with a shrub-like appearance. Remove any suckers the plant forms immediately.