Backyard Buddies

Photo: Richard Revel


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Callistemons are commonly known as Bottlebrushes because of their cylindrical, brush like flowers.

These shrubs live in warm regions of Australia, mainly along the east coast and south west. They provide food and shelter for native animals, birds, insects and skinks – they will attract plenty of life to your backyard.

Callistemon flowers provide plenty of food for nectar eating birds like honeyeaters, insects, possums and flying foxes. Some varieties of Callistemon can grow quite large, so make sure to get a local native one which will suit your garden.

Plants which are native to one area of Australia can be a weed if planted somewhere else. It's a good idea to check with your local council or native nursery to find out what plants are locally native before planting in your garden or backyard.

Some fantastic Callistemons to plant for your buddies include:

Prickly Bottlebrush - Callistemon brachyandrus. Honeyeaters and other birds feed on nectar, forage for insects and shelter in branches. Regent parrots have been seen feeding on fruits. Grows near rivers in South Australia, and in dry areas of New South Wales and Victoria.

Callistemon citrinus 'Endeavour' - Callistemon citrinus 'Endeavour'. Excellent for nectar feeding birds - including lorikeets, Musk Rosellas, and Crimson Rosellas.

Firebrand™ - Callistemon citrinus. Particularly attractive to all honeyeaters, and to lorikeets seeking flowers and nectar.

Callistemon citrinus 'White Ice' - Callistemon citrinus 'White Ice'. Nectar attracts honeyeaters and insects.

Genoa Glory™ - Callistemon forresterae. Provides nectar and nesting habitat for honeyeaters such as the New Holland Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, White-plumed Honeyeater, and White-naped Honeyeater. It also attracts insects which make good food for Blue Wrens, Grey Fantails and Thornbills. Its pollen is loved by native bees, and Crimson Rosellas will visit to feed on the seeds.

Callistemon 'Demesne Prestige Pink' - Callistemon hybrid 'Demesne Prestige Pink'. The seeds attract rosellas and nectar attracts honeyeaters.

Bekta Beauty - Callistemon kenmorrisonii. Provides nectar and nesting habitat for honeyeaters and attracts insects and native bees.

Callistemon 'Kings Park Special' - Callistemon 'King Park Special'. Seeds attract rosellas and nectar attracts honeyeaters.

Callistemon 'Lavender Showers' - Callistemon 'Lavender Showers'. Seeds attract rosellas and nectar attracts honeyeaters.

Callistemon 'Mr Foster' - Callistemon 'Mr Foster'. Seeds attract rosellas and nectar attracts honeyeaters.

Wallum Bottlebrush - Callistemon pachyphyllus. Attracts nectar feeding butterflies, birds and other honeyeaters. Grows in New South Wales and Queensland.

Candle Glow - Callistemon pallidus. A source of nectar for all small honeyeaters, and of pollen for native bees and insects, which in turn attract insectivorous birds such as wrens, thornbills, and flycatchers. Ringtail Possums will eat the flowers.

Candelabra - Callistemon pallidus. Provides nectar for honeyeaters and lorikeets of any species, and seeds for rosellas. It is also likely to provide pollen for butterflies, moths, native bees and insects. With all these bugs around, this plant is also a food source for insectivorous birds such as wrens, thornbills and flycatchers. Ringtail Possums, Feathertail Gliders and Sugar Gliders may eat the flowers and nectar. Grows in Bonang - Bendoc region of East Gippsland.

Related Factsheets:


Sheoaks are very unusual plants because they have separate male and female plants. Each year the males will turn a dusky red colour as they release their pollen. The female trees have small red flowers and lots of seed cones. The sheoak doesn’t have big leaves, instead they have branchlets ..



”Birds, bugs, lizards and penguins are my favourite Backyard Buddies – I like to find, watch and learn about what they do and what I can do to help them.“

Gus – 11 year old Backyard Buddy, NSW

Photo: OEH