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Little John adds a lot to hummingbird happiness

Pollinator Plant List: Little John dwarf bottlebrush stays compact while pumping out red flower spikes throughout the year.
Pollinator Plant List: Little John dwarf bottlebrush stays compact while pumping out red flower spikes throughout the year.

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “Pollinator Plant List: Hummingbirds” series – 30 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well adapted to our region and that attract hummingbirds.

Little John dwarf bottlebrush

Callistemon viminalis ‘Little John’

Size: Four to 5 feet tall and wide in Sacramento area.

Bloom season: Blood red blooms from spring through summer and again in fall and winter.

Exposure: Full sun for best bloom.

Pruning needs: Little to no pruning needed; trim occasionally to shape.

Water needs: Low; once established, water deeply once or twice a month.

Snapshot: Little John loves Sacramento; so much so, it tends to grow a little bigger than its 3-foot estimate in other growing zones. A dwarf form of weeping bottle brush, this small shrub features gray-green foliage year round on a compact, rounded plant that adapts well to smaller gardens. Most of the time, it boasts showy blood-red flowers that give it its bottlebrush nickname. Little John flowers heaviest from spring to summer, then flowers again in fall and winter. That’s great news for hummingbirds, who enjoy its nectar and are attracted to its red flowers. Drought tolerant, bottlebrush is a tough and adaptable plant for sunny, low maintenance areas. In addition, the foliage has a pleasant citrus scent.

For more on “Pollinator Plant List: Hummingbirds,” click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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