Saturday, July 12, 2014

Callistemon – The True Bottlebrushes

Looking for Bottlebrush?  Lately, we’ve had numerous requests for those colorful fluffy-like flowers that bear a striking resemblance to the well known kitchen tool.  However, the first question that comes to mind is - Exactly which bottlebrush are you referring to?  The name bottlebrush has been used to identify several Australian native plants including Banksia, Melaleuca , Calothamnus and even Grevillea.

Did you know the Callistemon are the true Bottlebrushes?  This Australian genus of about 38 species is a member of the myrtle (myrtaceae) family.  The soft flower spikes are made up of a large number of individual flowers.  Bloom color varies between species; most are red, but some are pink, mauve, yellow, green, orange or cream, and many species have two or more flowering periods a year.  In addition, bottlebrushes are also easily recognized by the textural seed clusters that are produced after each flowering period.

The nectar rich flowers are an absolute feast for insects and birds of all varieties with many also choosing the bottlebrush as a safe home for nesting.

Calistemon Reeves Pink is a relatively new addition to our list of summer flowers. Its dainty light pink bristles and delicate mint green foliage adds wonderful color and texture to bouquets and arrangements and it even looks lovely when displayed in a vase all alone.

What to look for:
  • Buy when at least half the flowers in a spike are open and brightly colored.
  • Avoid bunches with drooping tips, yellow leaves or where all flowers are in a tight bud stage.
Flower Care:
  1. Keep in a cool location.
  2. Strip leaves from the bottom half of each stem and wash stems thoroughly.
  3. Re-cut at least 1/2" off each stem and place in cold water.
  4. Always use a preservative as this will help keep open flowers looking fresh.
  5. Replace vase water every day.

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