How to Revive an Outdoor Pom Bush


The pom or powderpuff bush (Calliandra haematocephala) grows in hardiness zones 9b to 11 and produces fragrant red, pink or white flowers. This bush naturally reaches 12 to 15 feet in height and 10 to 15 feet in width, but old pom bushes can look straggly and overgrown. Revive these bushes over two to three seasons using the revival pruning technique. Prune each year in late winter to early spring while the pom bush is dormant, since it's easier to see the branches before the leaves develop.

Step 1

Check your pom bush for signs of dead, diseased or damaged branches, which will weaken the plant. Dead branches do not move in the wind and feel hollow. Diseased or damaged growth may be discolored or scarred, or ooze sap.

Step 2

Clip off dead, diseased and damaged branches at their base. If only the tip of the branch is damaged, clip back to a lateral branch instead, making your cut just after the lateral split. Spray your pruners with disinfectant after every cut to avoid spreading disease through the pom bush.

Step 3

Prune off branches that crisscross other branches since this growth causes limb wounds, weakening the pom bush.

Step 4

Identify the oldest branches that produce few flowers and leaves. Their bark looks rougher and appears more gray in color than newer growth. Cut off up to a third of the old branches.

Step 5

Let the pom bush grow for the rest of the season. In the second year, again remove dead or damaged wood and cut off an additional third of the old growth. Then allow the shrub to grow through the spring, summer and fall until the final year of revival pruning.

Step 6

Cut off the final third of old growth in the third year to complete revival pruning.

Things You'll Need

  • Anvil pruners
  • Lopping shears
  • Disinfectant spray


  • U.S. Forest Service: Calliandra Haematocephala--Powderpuff
  • Colorado State University Extension: Pruning Flowering Shrubs
  • University of Illinois Extension: Proper Timing of Shrub Pruning
Keywords: pom pom bush, pom bush revival, rejuvenate pom bush, pruning calliandra

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.