Growing Dwarf Bottlebrush Little John / Better John in the Northeast Florida
Jacksonville and St. Augustine Area Landscape
Callistemon citrinus ‘Little John’
Callistemon citrinus ‘Better John’
Origins of Bottlebrush ‘Little John’ / Bottlebrush ‘Better John’:
– Bottlebrush Little John is a dwarf selection of Callistemon citrinus that is native to Australlia. Bottlebrush Better John is a new selection of the Bottlebrush Little John and so far after a few years of growing both, I can not see any difference in the selections so I have grouped them together here on this information page. 🙂
An Easy care garden shrub and has long been a favored garden plant for attracting butterfly, hummingbird and other pollinators to the garden for the Northeast Florida Landscape.
Preferred Exposure for Bottlebrush ‘Little John’ / Bottlebrush ‘Better John’ :
– Bottlebrush ‘Little John’ / Bottlebrush ‘Better John’ can be planted into full sun situations here in the Northeast Florida, Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape.
– If planted into a partial shade location that gets only indirect light all day, plants may not bloom as well and foliage can become a bit thinner or not as lush and full. Morning shade with afternoon sun would still be an ideal garden setting but just keep in mind in order to get good blooms on these plants they will need 6 or more hours of sun.
Foliage of the Bottlebrush ‘Little John’ / Bottlebrush ‘Better John’:
– Evergreen foliage is a dull blue green to medium green color, with red tinged new growth at the tips of branches. Hardy in zones 8-11 but has been known to take some foliar damage to the new growth in years where we experience a harsh winter seasons, foliage replaces itself quickly in spring if winter damaged. Usually a non issue.
Adds excellent texture to the garden and contrasts well with larger foliage plants.
Soil Preference and Salt tolerance of Bottlebrush ‘ Little John’ / Bottlebrush ‘Better John’:
– Bottlebrush will grow best with moist well drained soils but is quite drought tolerant when established into the landscape..
– Bottlebrush are tolerant of moist soils for short periods, but avoid planting in areas that remain water logged after rains for prolonged periods.
- not particular about soil components and grow equally as well in sandy soils as they do in clay.
– Bottlebrush shrubs have a moderate salt tolerance and can be utilized for coastal
Size Variance of Bottlebrush Little John / Better John :
– Dwarf Bottlebrush Little John / Dwarf Bottlebrush Better John can reach sizes of 2-3+ feet High | 3-5feet Wide and area easily managed at desired height and width with annual pruning.
Space plants at a minimum of 2-3 ft from the center of one plant to the center of another for foundation plantings.
Growth Habit of ‘ Little John’ / Bottlebrush ‘Better John’:
- Rounded habit
Growth Rate of the Bottlebrush Little John / Better John:
– Slow growing shrub slowly establishes itself into the landscape.
Blooms of the Dwarf Bottlebrush Little John / Better John Callistemon citrinus dwarf:
– The blooms on these plants are spectacular in late spring early summer and attract butterflies and other pollinators to the garden!
Water Requirements of Bottlebrush Little John / Better John:
– Dwarf Bottlebrush are fairly low water and drought tolerant once they are established into the landscape. Remember to check their water needs daily after planting to get them rooted and established into the landscape quickly before allowing them to grow on their own in non irrigated spaces. Click the link below for how to properly water your newly planted Dwarf Bottlebrush shrubs.
– Watering your newly planted smaller shrubs and flowers
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
– Attracts butterflies hummingbirds and other pollinators to the garden. Blooms provide and excellent nectar source.
Best Uses For Dwarf Bottlebrush Callistemon citrinus ‘Better John’ | ‘Little John’:
– A dwarf or compact selection that will be best used as the middle layer of home foundation plantings.
– hardy shrub selection with little pest or disease problems, low water needs, low maintenance and trimming requirements that make for an all round easy care plant with a little extra splash of color in late spring and early summer.
- Pollinator friendly plant selection – great for the butterflies and other local pollinators
Care of S & J Nursery’s North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine Dwarf Bottlebrush
– Dwarf Bottlebrush should be pruned once a year to shape when they begin to be untidy. Trim immediately following your blooms every summer to force new growth and quickly fill in bare spots or force a flush of new growth.) Do not be afraid to trim, they resprout quickly.
– Dwarf Bottlebrush shrubs can be planted in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area at any time during the year. In normal and well draining soils dig the hole as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. Plant the top of the root ball level or slightly higher than the surrounding soils. Avoid planting in poorly drained soils.
– Check the plants water needs every day during the establishment period. For most 3 gallon size shrubs in the North Florida landscape in average soil, that is neither heavy clay that holds water or really sandy that will take 2-3 weeks of daily watering to ensure that your newly planted shrub will begin to put out new roots and grow into its new home happily. After the first few weeks begin tapering back your watering to every other day then every third day and so on until your newly planted items are flourishing without your assistance.
– Dwarf Bottlebrush may need supplemental irrigation during times of excessive heat or drought.
– IMPORTANT: If planting shrubs in heavy clay soils that hold allot of water after a rain or irrigating, remember to check the soil for moisture by sticking your fingers into the soil near the root ball of the newly planted shrub down to 2-3 inches. If it remains wet from the previous watering wait for the top 2-3 inches to dry out before watering again.
– IMPORTANT: When planting shrubs into poor sandy soils be sure to amend the planting hole by mixing compost or cow manure etc. with the native soil that will go back in the hole around the new plants root ball when installing your shrub material, this will not only give your new shrubs good soil to grow its new roots into but help it hold water.
– When planting shrubs from containers be sure to loosen the roots as much as possible pulling loose roots away from the root ball before installing your new plants, if the roots are to tight to easily loosen with your hands use a knife to cut a few slits into the root ball being careful to go all
the way from the top to the bottom and making the cut at least an inch deep. This will ensure that your plant will immediately begin to form new roots into its new surrounding soil.
Planting your new smaller shrubs and flowering plants
– Mulch newly planted shrubs whenever possible. Shrubs will benefit from a 3-4 inch layer of arborists wood chips, Pine bark or Pine Straw.
– Fertilize each spring with a shovelful of good garden compost or a mixture or slow release polycoated plant food like Osmocote or Staygreen. Be sure when fertilizing to sprinkle the fertilizer around the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the shrubs.