#4 Bottle Brush

inkneedeepMay 27, 2008

#4 I have planted 3 Bottle Brush and would like to add some companions as I will be trining them to small trees. I was thinking some of those Kangeroo Paw Plants (anigozanthus) would be an interesting companion, but not sure. Maybe there is a CA Native that would be a better choice. The area gets morning shade and afternoon sun. I have it mulched. As for the anigozanthus species...I seem to get mixed info as to their watering needs. I see some growing in full sun, that look beautiful massed together. I just thought that they would be dramatic combined with the Bottle Brush..Any input or opinions are welcome!

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were you planning on planting them underneath the bottlebrush or just in the general area? It will depend on which ones you grow, for example the red and green (A. manglesii) can be very temperamental and horribly prone to a blank ink fungus here in it's native home of west aus. It grows on very poor sandy soil and does much better in full sun but is fairly short lived usually. The flavidus are easier to grow but still like good drainage and full sun.

now we get to the hybrids :). over the last number of years so many hybrids have been developed to suit heavier soils and more humid conditions, I've never grown those but have heard mixed reviews, but if you have fast draining soil then your choices will be a bit wider to the types you can grow and you shouldnt be limited to the hybrids.

Just so you know they are generally a short lived plant, you may get about 5 or 6 years out of them at best, but only if they like the conditions but even here where they grow naturally in my area, they dont live all that long (often only 2 or 3 years).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 11:59AM
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davissue_zone9(z9 Sunset 14)

How about some correas? They do great in the sacramento valley heat. They are tidy evergreen shrubs, covered by bells the same color range as the kangaroo paws in winter and spring. Mine are partially shaded and get some irrigation, but I have read they are not fussy, except they need decent drainage.

Here is a link that might be useful: info on correas

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 1:04PM
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davisue...looked up the Correas...they look like a much better choice! My drainage seems OK

trancegemini... we are pretty dry here. My neighbor actually has a burgundy one growing that is huge and looks great, but I haven't seen him yeat to ask details. Would rather have something with a longer life span I think.

Thanks for your input!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 9:31AM
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debbysunshine(san diego)

You're so funny about planting companions for that tree because since we only planted one and in a years time it was well over our two story house and suckers equalling three the little companions got lost immediately in the shade of those huge trees that need constant cutting away from the house even though they are about eight feet away..

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 9:17PM
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debby are you sure it was a bottlebrush? (callistemon). I have never seen a bottle brush get that tall although I suppose the willow bottlebrush could get to about 10 or so metres but often doesnt. Ive also never heard of them growing that quickly. most of them are very small trees to only a few metres tall, others are no more than shrubs and I have never heard of them suckering either. They are commonly grown here because they make nice little shade trees in smaller gardens, I never prune mine to size and they are only about 3 or 4 metres tall as fully grown trees.

what type of bottlebrush was it?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 3:56AM
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Interesting about the sizes. There is a house in the neighborhood where one is easily 2 stories high and they are that large around San Diego area. I have Lemon Bottle bush and don't think they get that big...I know there are differant varieties. I have seen them from very small trees, pruned and tidy, to large wild looking specimans.
I have planted 3 in a triangle (I am pretty sure all lemon) and am hoping it will make a nice hummingbird haven.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:12PM
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Im sure your hummingbirds will be in love with them kneedeep, our honeyeaters (which are mainly nectar feeding birds) fight over them and they do produce a lot of nectar. grevilleas are another favourite of the nectar eaters but with those you really need to match the variety to your soil ph or they don't do as well but I'll bet your hummingbirds would also go ga ga over them.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 4:29AM
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Maybe it depends on the area as well as far as the water and temps it gets. Here in the bay area I've seen bottle-brush get very, very large as well. My neighbor has one and I get volunteers in my yard all the time. I thought it would be fun to plant one where I wanted it last fall and it has grown very fast and is now about waist high and that is over the winter months, I'm sure by this fall it will be pretty big. I'm wondering if that was a good idea for me. Hopefully it won't be hard to remove if I don't want it, I heard the roots are pretty shallow. But I've also heard that the roots are poisonous to other plants and it temds to be hard to get things to grown underneath bottle brush, so you might want to research that aspect before you put a lot of time, effort, and money into planting something too close. They sure are easy and pretty and smell nice when my neighbor trims it and the branches fall in my yard.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:51PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

We have one here planted by my Dad 50 years ago. It is about 15 feet high and stays about that size. In December 1990 we had 4 days of 12 degree nights that killed it to the ground. It is growing in a planting of Algerian Ivy that requires my cutting the ivy down once a year when it starts to climb the tree. After the frost it was over a year before the Callistemon reappeared above the ivy that had not suffered much from the frost here although along the highway all the way to Napa is was burned black. Neither the Ivy nor the bottle brush get any summer water and show no signs of stress. Al

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 5:23PM
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Both the Callistemon phoenicus and the related melaleuca are farily tall trees or shrubs. Our neighbor had a melaleuca that was at least 20 feet tall. While evergreen it shed leaves and like euclayptus, the oils in the leaeves inhibited plants from growing beneath it. The tree sent spent flower stamens that were a nuissance.
I frankly hated the tree and asked if they would trim it back because it was causing a problem in my yard. They cut the tree down instead.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 7:08AM
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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

You can try hesperaloe parviflora, or some type of ornamental Aloe. Aloe striata, aloe polyphylla... the list goes on and on.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 6:23PM
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"Both the Callistemon phoenicus and the related melaleuca are farily tall trees or shrubs. Our neighbor had a melaleuca that was at least 20 feet tall. While evergreen it shed leaves and like euclayptus, the oils in the leaeves inhibited plants from growing beneath it.''

not all melaleuca are trees or tall shrubs and the two I mentioned above are good sizes for a smaller garden. as far as plants growing beneath them, I think you'll find it's more a problem of dry soil and root competition from an established tree, so getting the plants established while the tree is still small will definitely give them a head start. I've never had any problems growing plants beneath bottlebrush or melaleucas but I tend to use plants that don't need a lot of root space like the native dianella, south african hostas and also succulents but this is with well established trees that have a lot of roots in the area already and these plants dont need a lot of soil to grow in.

catankgirl you make a good point that it could be because of better soil (ours are dreadful) and a milder climate than ours. It's also a good idea for people to research the species or variety they are planting too because there are lots of smaller ones available which won't turn into monsters.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I like the idea of hesperaloe parviflora (red Yucca and some Aloes... I think that would be a great look and I had been trying to find a place to plant an aloe I have in a pot. I did add a 3rd Bottle brush, so they are in a kind of elongated triangle... I mulched around them with shredded bark, but thinking that that might not be best with the Yuccas and aloes??? I can remove it and then maybe mulch with rock? I had also thought some grasses or flax might look good, but that would be a totally dif. look. I did some more research and also read that it is important to water Bottlebrush deeply til established and then they are drought tollrant and only need occaisional deep watering. Not watering deeply to establish and allow development of deep roots, causes shallow root development, which could account for some negative experiences. I guess this watering process is true for alot of plants.

I had forgotten that www.monrovia.com is a good place to get care info and companion plant suggestions, although I didn't care for there companion choices in this situation.

Thanks again! You all have been very helpful.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 9:17PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

No one has mentioned it but there is a dwarf bottle brush that only gets to about four feet. I have one about five years old that is well shaped, with no pruning and blooms just like the regular one. Al

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:36PM
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