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Products > Callistemon 'Jeffers'
Callistemon 'Jeffers' - Purple Bottlebrush
Image of Callistemon  'Jeffers'
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 bottlebrush variety bears reddish-purple flowers that fade to lavender. Its growth habit is smaller than the common Lemmon Bottlebrush Callistemon citrinus, and typically seen as a shrub to about 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide, but older plants can get to up to around 10 feet and can even be trained up into a small tree. The foliage is also smaller and narrower than Lemon Bottlebrush . Long, fuchsia-pink, stiff stamens form a long flower cluster that resembles a bottlebrush and blooms year-round, with peak peak in the early summer through fall. The flowers attracts bees and hummingbirds.

Plant in full sun where it is drought tolerant and requires little irrigation once established. It is 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.

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 closely related and separated on the basis that Callistemon stamens were free and those of Melaleuca were in bundles. In 2006, using DNA evidence, Australian botanist Dr. Lyndley Alan Craven of the Australian National Herbarium reclassified nearly all species of Callistemon as Melaleuca noting that Callistemon was insufficiently distinct from Melaleuca. For more information about this see our more detailed discussion about this name change on our Callistemon citrinus entry. Though this change makes this plant's name Melaleuca x jeffersii, until such time that the new names have broad recognition in the California nursery trade, we will still refer to these plants as Callistemon. Our plants from stock originally received from the Huntington Botanic Garden in 1985 and we have grown this great plant ever since. 

This information about Callistemon 'Jeffers' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.