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Plant Database Search Results > Callistemon 'Little John'
 
Callistemon 'Little John' - Dwarf Callistemon
   

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: [Melaleuca]
Parentage: (Callistemon viminalis hybrid)
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Callistemon 'Little John' (Dwarf Callistemon) - An evergreen small shrub that typically forms a 3 to 5 foot tall by 6 to 8 foot wide rounded mound with narrow 3 inch long bluish gray-green leaves and flowers of blood-red bristle-like stamens that appear throughout the year, but peak bloom time is early summer through fall. Plant in full sun to light shade. It is drought tolerant in coastal gardens but tolerates and performs best with some irrigation. Hardy to 20-25 degrees F and reportedly can rebound after defoliation in temperatures down into the teens. Tolerates seaside conditions. A very attractive smaller Bottlebrush for massing or as a foundation plant or a low hedge and great for attracting bees and hummingbirds into the garden. This plant was selected as a chance seedling in the 1980s by Ken Dunstan of Alstonville, New South Wales and was also called Callistemon 'Alstonville Dwarf', Callistemon 'Tom Thumb' and Callistemon viminalis 'Little John'. It was the 1986 Shrub of the Year in Australia and was originally introduced as a plant that only grew to 3 feet tall but older plants can now be found in cultivation are typically 4 to 5 feet with plants at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes California that have exceed 8 feet in height. It reportedly gets chlorotic in overly-wet soils but responds in these situations to chelated iron fertilizers. 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. 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. Carl Linnaeus had described the genus Melaleuca in 1767 and the Scottish botanist Robert Brown first described the genus Callistemon in 1814. As early as 1864 Ferdinand von Mueller, the German-Australian born physician, geographer and botanist who eventually became director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, noted that the difference between the genera was artificial and proposed to unite Callistemon and Melaleuca but it was not until 1998 that some plants in New Caledonia previously described as Callistemon were reclassified as Melaleuca by Australian botanist Dr. Lyndley Alan Craven of the Australian National Herbarium and New Zealand botanist Dr. John Wyndham Dawson. In 2006, using DNA evidence Craven reclassified nearly all species of Callistemon as Melaleuca in his article "New combinations in Melaleuca for Australian species of Callistemon" in Novon (V14 N4) and in 2009 he summarized this in a statement in an article titled "Melaleuca (Myrtaceae) from Australia" in Novon (V19 N4) noting that "During revisionary work directed toward the preparation of an account of Melaleuca L. and it closer allies for the Flora of Australia, the delimitation of Callistemon R. Brown from Melaleuca was considered. The conclusion was reached that Callistemon was insufficiently distinct from Melaleuca to be maintained at generic rank and those species which there was no valid name yet available in Melaleuca were transferred to that genus. Until such time that the new names have broad recognition in the California nursery trade we will still refer to these plants as Callistemon.  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 will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Callistemon 'Little John'.