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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.

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Tree Project.

Callistemon Bottle Brush.
Not really a tree, but more of a tall bush the Callistemon, or Bottle Brush is a member of the myrtle family that comes from Australia and has recently had a name change to Melaleuca. The variety Citrinus is the most reliable here in the UK, but even so they are not very hardy and will succumb to the cold in all but the most sheltered of city centre gardens. Growing to only between 6 and 15 feet these naturally compact and slow growing plants can make a good hedge under the right conditions. Not only do Callistemons need to be warm, but they need to be sheltered from the wind and planted in a well drained spot as too much wet, especially in the winter, can kill them. Perhaps they are best grown in full sun along with other drought tolerant plants such as Lavender and Salvias to make the best of their spectacular, bright red flowers that look like Bottle Brushes, hence their common name.

Here in the UK Callistemenon are probably best grown in Conservatories, or in large tubs on a sunny yard where they can be taken inside for the winter. Having said that, I have a small bush that I planted in my garden several years ago, and although the frost has cut it back occasionally, it is still growing quite happily.
Not being a native plant, Callistemenons do not have many problems here, but they are prone to iron deficiency, or Iron Chlorosis that causes a yellowing of the leaves. Surprisingly, young plants can suffer from being too dry and need to be kept moist in summer until they get older, but you must be very careful with their watering.



 

 

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