Thursday, November 8, 2012

Callistemon ‘Clemson’ favorite plant in the garden, this week!

The garden changes so much I find myself mildly obsessed with a different plant in my garden almost every other day. All it takes is the afternoon light to hit something just right, or maybe I notice new leaf unfurling in a dramatic way and suddenly I see that plant as I never have before. My latest obsession is this Callistemon ‘Clemson’ I bet you can guess why…

It’s flowering for a second time this year and in November no less!

I bought this Callistemon from Xera Plants (via Garden Fever) as a small 1 gallon plant in the spring of 2009. Unsure if it would live through the winter (this was my first Callistemon and it seemed too exotic to live in my zone 8 garden) I celebrated its living through our fist winter storm with this picture in December of that year.

This is not the hardiest of the hardy bottlebrushes, and during our cold (nights in the teens, some days not above freezing) winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 it did experience some branch die back. The Xera description…“Our favorite red flowered bottlebrush that appears to be as hardy to cold as Woodlander's Hardy Red', we await a very harsh freeze for a final assessment. Compact growing variety to 6' tall and as wide. Upright and spreading with very large brilliant red flowers that are borne over a very long time beginning in late spring and often continuing until a hard freeze. Flowers are the largest and most vivid of the cold hardy red flowered varieties. Blue green leaves- may be a red variety of C. pallidus. Requires a very protected location. Xera Plants Introduction”

In my experience Callistemon 'Woodlander’s Hardy Red' is more tolerant of cold temperatures, not even a single leaf on those plants (I have three) has been damaged with zero protection, where as I did wrap the ‘Clemson’ when temperatures were predicted to fall into the teens. However the larger leaves of ‘Clemson’ make it a beauty worth the extra effort.

The hard seed nodules are another favorite feature of all Callistemons and these are a little larger than others.
Here are the vital stats:
  • Eventual size: size 6ft tall x 6ft wide
  • Hardy in USDA Zones 8b - 10b
  • Water needs are low and it likes sun! (no wonder we get along)
I hope you enjoyed taking a closer look at my current plant obsession. I plan to make “my favorite plant in the garden, this week” a reoccurring feature. It’s sometimes hard to find a new topic in my garden to post about; after all I've been at this 5 days a week for almost 4 years now. But my garden is why I started this blog so I don’t want to ever spend too much time away from it. And perhaps by highlighting a weekly fav you might be introduced to a plant you've never heard of or maybe be tempted to look at an old plant in a new light…

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