Callistemon rigidus 'Clemson Hardy'

Clemson Hardy Bottlebrush




Family: Myrtaceae

Genus: Callistemon

Parent: Callistemon rigidus

Category: Shrub - Evergreen

Zones: 8 to 10

Size: to 8'

Growth Rate: Moderate

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Flowers twice a year in spring and autumn (around Thanksgiving). Red flowers towards the end of the stems. Distinguished from Callistemon sp. 'Woodlander's Hardy' by it's leaves which are wider and not so prickly as Woodlander's.


From Ted Stephens of Nuseries Caroliniana: "When I was a student at Clemson University, I had noticed this plant growing at a home in downtown Clemson, SC. Since it had survived the mid-1980 freezes when temperatures were in the minus digits, Dr. John Kelly, then head of the Dept. of Horticulture got permission to propagate it."

My Experience: 

I planted a 1-gallon in September 2009 which did not survive the long cold winter. I believe it was not sufficiently established before the cold weather set in. That winter was particularly harsh with several weeks of temperatures in the teens. I planted another 1-gallon from Nurseries Carolinina in May 2010 hoping it would have longer to get established. It bloomed in autumn. In the winter I surrounded it will pine straw bales and covered it with a plastic sheet when the temperatures fell below 25F. The foliage at the tips of the branches was discolored. The branches died back completely, the bark and stems were split. It then came back from the roots. It grew steadily and with mild winters in 2012 and 2013 it suffered no damage. In 2014 however it was knocked back almost to the ground. Some leaves remained underneath the branches. It came back strongly from the roots and some of those branches.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner