Common name: Willow Bottlebrush
C. salignus was grown for 10 years beginning in the 1970s and went out of fashion in the mid-1980s. This fall from favour was based on poor form, specifically with trees lacking a central leader. Any problems with C. salignus form can be solved in the nursery with appropriate formative pruning.
Willow Bottlebrush will form an excellent small tree to 7m tall, and a width of under 5m. It is known for its excellent bright green foliage that is willow-like, hence the common name. The tree is further ornamented with bright pink new foliage growth and creamy-white bottlebrush flowers. These flowers typically appear in late spring and are up to 5cm in length. The trunks are also attractive, paper-barked, and typically a mix of cream and tan.
C. salignus will grow on most sites, including those where waterlogging is a problem. It will require monthly summer irrigation for best growth, although it tolerates no additional irrigation during summer. C. salignus forms a vigorous root system, and can lift bitumen if paved too-close to the trunk. With ideal conditions, C. salignus will grow up to 1200mm per year, and form an excellent weeping canopy within 5 years.
Callistemon salignus ‘Rubra’: This is the red-flowered form that in all other ways is identical to other Willow Bottlebrush plants.
If properly-grown stock is purchased, Willow Bottlebrush is an excellent tree for streetscapes or large screens throughout Melbourne. Its fall from favour should be reversed.
Typical mature height: 7m
Useful in: height-restricted areas
Sites for best growth: all with reasonable irrigation