Brachychiton rupestris

Queensland bottle tree
Tree prized for its enormous bulbous trunk and delicate, dark, spidery leaves. Great landscape specimen or bonsai in a pot. Raise roots for effect.
Brachychiton rupestrisBrachychiton rupestris
height 15–30ft
width 15–30ft
tolerates Cold, Drought, Heat, Pots, Wind
For the first three years after it’s planted, this tree should be watered deeply but infrequently (when the top three inches of soil or so have dried). After that, the tree won’t need supplemental water except in exceptionally hot and dry environments. Use drippers, emitters or a slow stream of water so that it doesn’t run off; allow the water to trickle all the way down through the deepest layers of soil.

A great trick for watering street trees is to drill a one-eight inch hole on the bottom edge of a 5-gallon bucket, then set the bucket with the hole aligned next to the tree and fill the bucket with water. Fill once for a 1-5 gallon plant, fill twice for a 7-15 gallon plant, three times for 25g or larger plants. Propping the bucket up on bricks will help it drain faster, if needed.
exposure Part Sun – Full Sun
In or Out
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing All Purpose
origin E Australia
8, 9, 11–16, 18–24, H2

Sunset Zones Map


Growing Notes

Excellent choice for pots, even very small ones. Will root through a pot if it is left on the soil.
This tree can be hard pruned to develop a specimen with a large swollen base and small crown. Leaf shapes vary over the growth cycle and from youth to age.
The gnarled roots of this plant make an artistic display. Expose them by cutting the bottom off your nursery can and placing it on the soil or on the surface of another pot of soil. Once your plant is well rooted cut off the original nursery can and wash away the soil. If you’d like to create an even more dramatic ‘root sculpture’ do this several times using nursery cans (or even a plastic garbage can that can be removed later).
Best to cage this plant if you have gophers in your area as we have reports of ghopers killing off trees before they can establish.
One of our staff grows this tree in full bright shade in a redwood forest. He notes that the plant survives and looks good, but growth is severely limited.

Special Interest

Has been grown successfully for decades as an indoor bonsai.