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Bottle brush bush - Thin out new shoots or not?


By Piers66

Surrey, United Kingdom Gb

I had a mature bottle brush bush, but the severe frost last winter killed it. I cut it down in about May, leaving the stump in the ground. There are now (August) about 16 new shoots growing out of the stump, between 1' and 2' tall. They look healthy!

The old plant had just 2 main trunks. Should I leave all the new growth, or thin out the shoots so that it concentrates its energy?

On plant Callistemon



No, leave them alone, specially at this time of year.

14 Aug, 2011



Thanks for the quick answer.

In the long run will this result in a bush that's a little less 'tree-like', or over the years will it favour certain shoots naturally?

I suppose the question is whether the previous shape was the result of pruning by the people who originally planted it.

My main concern will be how to protect the new growth if we have another bad winter like the last one. Any suggestions about how to look after the plant for the rest of this year to make sure it's as strong as possible when the cold weather hits?


14 Aug, 2011


Don't feed it anything, for one thing - you're right to worry about protecting it during winter if we have one like last year's, but the biggest problem, and which caused the most damage, was the fact that the cold weather hit suddenly and early, before the plants had got acclimatised to colder weather. Consider erecting some kind of shelter around the plant if we're in for another arctic blast - maybe bamboo canes with polythene wrapped around to make a sort of tent, or something similar.
Your bushy plant will eventually form a taller, bushy shrub - if you don't like the shape, prune it immediately after its flowered next year.

14 Aug, 2011


Thanks again for the advice. It's very helpful.

15 Aug, 2011


I thought overnight about my suggestion of polythene or plastic - its fine to use, so long as its not in contact with the plant's leaves. Horticultural fleece might be better, but it does get so wet... I've seen people use those willow screens around tender plants, but it's up to you.

15 Aug, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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