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Products > Callistemon 'Jeffers'
Callistemon 'Jeffers' - Purple Bottlebrush

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Violet
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Synonyms: [C. citrinus 'Jeffersii', Melaleuca]
Height: 6-10 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Callistemon 'Jeffers' (Purple Bottlebrush) - This variety bears reddish-purple flowers that fade to lavender. Its growth habit is smaller than the species, and is typically seen to about 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide. Older plants can get to around 10 feet and can be trained up into a small tree. The foliage is also smaller and narrower. Long, fuchsia-pink, stiff stamens form a long flower cluster that resembles a bottlebrush and blooms year-round, but the bloom peak is in the early summer through fall. The flowers attracts bees and hummingbirds. Quite tolerant of heat, cold and poor soil. We have been told that this plant has withstood temperatures in Oregon down to around 15 degrees F. Full sun, drought tolerant once established. The genus was named using the Greek words 'kallos' meaning "beautiful" and 'stemon' meaning "stamens" in reference to the long conspicuous and colorful stamens that characterize the flowers of this genus. There has been considerable discussion over the years about the valid name for this plant. The International Code of Nomenclature states that after January 1, 1959 it was illegitimate to use a Latinized word (such adding the two i's to Jeffers in this case to make the name Jeffersii) to a cultivar name. Unfortunately the date of origin of this plant is not known. The accession card at the Huntington Botanic Garden shows that they got this plant originally as Callistemon x jeffersii on November 6, 1966 from Seaborn Del Dios Nursery in Escondido, CA but consider the correct name now to be Callistemon 'Jeffers'. The Los Angeles State and County Arboretum first received it in 1972 from A.P. Griffiths as Callistemon rosea but now considers the valid name to be Callistemon citrinus 'Jeffers'. We have grown this plant since 1990 and originally offered it as Callistemon citrinus 'Jeffersii' but have removed the "i"s in the name to comply with Code of Nomenclature. Interestingly in the Supplement Edition #1 to Rodger Elliot and David Jones Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants they note under the listing Callistemon 'Jeffersii', "This is an American selection of doubtful origin. It is also marketed there as C. citrinus 'Jeffersii' and C. citrinus 'Violaceus'. It flowers during Sept-Dec [Australia] and has reddish-purple brushes which fade to lavender. Plants grow about 2-3 m x 1.5-2 m and have somewhat pendulous branches." To make matters even more confusing Melaleuca and Callistemon have long been noted as being closely related and were separated on the basis that Callistemon stamens are free and those of Melaleuca are in bundles. The two genera have recently been combined by some botanist into the genus Melaleuca. Until such time that the new names have broad recognition we will still refer to these plants as Callistemon. Our plants from stock received from the Huntington Botanic Garden in 1985.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We also try to incorporate comments received from others and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Callistemon 'Jeffers'.