What Is Bottlebrush Grass – How To Grow Bottlebrush Grass Plants

What Is Bottlebrush Grass – How To Grow Bottlebrush Grass Plants

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Ornamental grasses are popular in gardening and landscaping because they are easy to grow and provide a unique look you can’t achieve with flowers and annuals. Growing bottlebrush grass is a great choice for a perennial grass with a very distinctive look.

What is Bottlebrush Grass?

Bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix) is a perennial grass that is native to most of the eastern U.S. and Canada. The species name, hystrix, comes from the Greek word for hedgehog and describes the bristly seed head. The seed head also resembles a bottle brush, hence the common name for this grass.

The grass is green but turns brown as it matures, typically beginning in late summer. It grows to a height of between two to five feet (0.5 to 1.5 m.). The seed heads grow well above the leaves of grass, which are only about one foot (.5 m.) long. Bottlebrush grass in gardens and in native settings tends to grow in attractive clumps. It works well as a backdrop in beds with shorter plants in front of it, or along walkways and edges as a tall, grassy hedge.

How to Grow Bottlebrush Grass

Care for bottlebrush grass is simple and pretty hands-off, which makes this a popular choice for adding an interesting element to beds or along walkways. This grass grows naturally in wooded areas and meadows, so if you have the right environment for bottlebrush grass, all you need to do is plant it and leave it alone.

Bottlebrush grass prefers sun or partial shade and moisture levels that are moderate to dry. Soil for this grass is ideally sandy and loamy, but it should do well in most soil conditions. You can grow bottlebrush grass in containers as well, as long as there is good drainage.

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How To Care For Dwarf Bottlebrush

How to care for your Dwarf Bottlebrush, a few things to know.

So you want a nice shrub with red flowers to grace your entry or your backyard, I did too and although it is a little larger than where I put it, I decided to live with pruning so I could bring beautiful energy into my home. Using my Feng Shui knowledge I can tell you that having red at the entry to your home brings energy in, and since red is the color of reputation you will be amplifying your reputation and aiding your business.

Bottlebrush trees are a little much for me and most of my clients, they shed a lot, bring tons of bees (I love bees, don’t get me wrong just not an endless source) and they can get very shaggy looking if you don’t keep up on them regularly. I do however love the fact that they are bright and cheery, have that lovely pop of red, are evergreen, and best of all bring Hummingbirds (think more great energy) into a garden. The perfect solution – plant some Dwarf Bottlebrush Shrubs instead. Callistemon citrinus ‘Little John’ is a wonderful addition to your plant palette, it is a native of Australia, so it does great here in Southern California. It doesn’t like long periods of extreme cold, but with protection or short bursts of cold it is fine. It loves the heat, and as you know we have plenty of it.

Little John is quite drought tolerant once established, and is a pretty slow grower so it is easy to maintain the size you want. With some wind and cold protection it should thrive in your garden. The literature says that it needs full sun, but I’m here to tell you that ½ a day is fine. I have mine in morning sun and it blooms like gangbusters.

Although it is a Dwarf variety, give it enough room to spread (3-5’) and it can grow to be about 3’ tall. If you need to keep it contained, prune on a regular basis so that you don’t shear off all the new buds (and hence blooms). You should pinch the tips from the stem to shape and be sure to clean out and thin the little branches near the trunk. (The little branches in this photo will be gone after I click “post”) Opening it up this way allows for air to circulate, and will keep the shrub happy. You can hedge the bottlebrush too – the foliage is pretty too, but remember the more you shear the fewer blooms you’ll have.

My Little John Bottlebrush has consistently bloomed twice a year since I’ve had it, once in the spring and then again in Autumn (although it is confusing August with Autumn this year). This shrub is a great mixed border plant, would look wonderful in a rock garden, great under your front windows (provided they are at least 3’ above the ground) and would make a great evergreen centerpiece for a container. The container would tend to keep it smaller than true size but I don’t think that is a bad thing at all.

There isn’t much you need to do, water it a few days a week, fertilize it every few months, trim it to shape and size and watch it bloom! Oh, and did I mention that Hummingbirds love it? (Yes, I know I did).

Let me help you create the garden paradise of your dreams, large or small, edible or ornamental – if you can dream it, we can create it. I love collaborating with my clients and I’d love to collaborate with you. You can call me at 661-917-3521 or visit my website and contact me there.

How to Grow And Take Good Care of a Dwarf Bottlebrush

Dwarf bottlebrush are attractive flowering plants that are perfect for container gardening. Let us learn some valuable tips on how to care for them.

Dwarf bottlebrush are attractive flowering plants that are perfect for container gardening. Let us learn some valuable tips on how to care for them.

Often referred to as Little John or red bottlebrush, this plant is a hardy, low-maintenance, and drought-resistant plant. It belongs to the Myrtaceae family and the binomial name for this plant is Callistemon citrinus. Native to Australia, the plant is also perfect for warm places such as Florida.


The plant grows to a height of about 3 to 6 feet. It has a maximum spread of about 2-3 feet. It flowers in the months of spring and summer. However, it continues to flower sporadically all year round. It is an evergreen shrub that is a bit of a slow grower. It is a perfect choice for container gardening. Once it has taken soil, it needs minimum care and only requires occasional watering.

How to Raise the Plant

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The plant cannot withstand cold climate for long and, therefore, you need to find a location that receives full sun. Make sure the area offers the plant some protection from wind and choose a location near a wall, fence, or beside your house. Also, make sure the area is protected from freezing winter winds. This plant is good to grow in zones 8 to 11. The soil should be fertile and well drained. The pH of the soil should be about neutral to acidic. Place the plant in the ground at soil level. Water the plant thoroughly and carry out mulching with about 2″ of organic mulch. Continue to water the plant everyday for the next 2 to 4 weeks.

Plant Care

Once the roots are established, you need to reduce the number of times you water the plant. You should now water the plant only 2 or 3 times a week. Keep the soil dry during winter, but moist in summer and spring. Fertilize the plant 2 to 4 times a year. Just add 1 to 3 pounds of the fertilizer over the root area. Pruning dwarf bottlebrush will help in promoting branching. You need to pinch the stem tips and thin the branches down near the trunk. This will help in air circulation.

The plant is ideal for container gardens, hedges, mixed border plants, rock gardens, and near house walls. Even when the plant is not flowering, the dark green narrow foliage will keep your garden vibrant and make it a pleasure to look at. As you can see, caring for the plant is very easy and simple. Once the plant is established, you need not fuss over it. Just watch it produce attractive bright red flowers and find hummingbirds and butterflies sipping its sweet nectar.

Watch the video: How to grow Grass at home. 3 May, 2017