I recently read that the genus Callistemon has been combined with the genus Melaleuca. Since I simply love the word Callistemon I hope this doesn’t affect the frequency with which I get to read it on plant tags. Don’t you just adore their bottle-brush blooms? Much like an Agave bloom they are just so foreign and fabulous to me, I could stare at them for hours. In fact I have been staring at them a lot lately because they are blooming in my garden. This is the first year for both of my ‘Woodlander's Hardy Red' to bloom. This one has been in the ground for 3 years… And this one was planted last summer, after I pried its roots out of the ground at Fry Road Nursery and paid a whole $1.98 for it! Let me repeat that…$1.98…one of the big mysteries of my gardening “career” is why I only bought one of them. I’ve done nothing to protect either of these…they truly are hardy here in Portland; if you want to plant a Callistemon I can whole heartedly recommend ‘Woodlander's Hardy Red.' This is the second year for my Callistemon ‘Clemson’ to bloom, it’s nestled up next to a variegated Echium in this image. This one isn’t as winter hardy as ‘Woodlanders,’ at least in my garden. I’ve wrapped it 2 years in a row (when the temperatures dip) and still suffered a little leaf die back. The blooms are almost identical to ‘Woodlanders’ but the leaves are a little larger.
I’m still waiting to see a bloom on the Callistemon ‘viridiflorus’ they will be a yellowish green. This plant has been in the ground for a little over a year. I couldn’t help but throw a bit of burlap around it a couple of times last winter but I don’t think I needed to. I planted another ‘viridiflorus’ in the front garden earlier this spring. Along with a Callistemon sieberi, when it blooms they will be a light yellow. Finally the newest (that’s seven if you’re counting) is Callistemon pallidus 'Blue Foliage’ Since the tag specifically said “Best in a protected location” I’m a little worried about how it will fare through the winter, but heck nothing ventured nothing gained right?