Q. We have a very old globe mallow shrub that looks bad after a frost. When and how should it be pruned to bring it back to its former glory? Do Mexican Red Bird of Paradise need regular pruning? How can one tell what and where to cut?
|Globe Mallow growing in extremely poor soils in Las Vegas.|
|Close close-up of the flower of globe mallow growing under stressed conditions.|
If the globe mallow is looking kind of old and ratty you can cut it down to an inch of the soil and totally renew it or you can selectively cut down some of the older stems and renew it slowly.
If you want to keep it bushy from head to toe then take about one third of the oldest wood out now, next year take another third and the following year take another third. This will renew it over a three-year cycle and help keep the foliage and flowers from top to bottom.
You would do this pruning immediately after it finishes flowering.
|Flower of the desert bird of Paradise|
You would do this pruning during the winter months or before new growth starts in the spring or after flowering is finished.