How to Prune Mexican Heather

Overview

Delicate leaves and dainty flowers hide the heart of a lion in the Mexican heather plant. This sturdy plant thrives in full sun and often occupies a position in a xeriscape garden. Mexican heather loves dry conditions and produces flowers continually throughout the summer. Mexican heather resembles a ground cover with low and compact, fern-like growth and tiny purple flowers. Rarer varieties produce red, pink or white flowers coupled with the glossy green leaves seen on the lavender-flowered plants. Mexican heather can function as both an annual and perennial depending on USDA hardiness zone. It works beautifully as a border plant and in containers. Mexican heather prefers well-drained soil to thrive and produce abundant flowers throughout the growing season.

Step 1

Schedule pruning for a time after the final frost of the season for plants in hardiness zones 9 to 11. Pruning encourages new growth at a point beneath the cut on the plant, and frost can harm new growth easily. If this plant functions as an annual in your area, schedule pruning earlier in the growing season to promote new growth. A midsummer check of the plant will hel you to decide if the plant is getting spindly from the summer heat. Mexican heather will bloom continuously until the first frost in the fall and will self-seed in warmer climates.

Step 2

Check the condition of your Mexican heather plant. Look for areas of dead or dying foliage or spindly, long branches missing leaves. These longer, leggy branches may lack flowers and appear tired looking when compared to new growth on the plant.

Step 3

Begin to prune the plant by removing any damaged branches as close to the parent stem as possible. Cut with a sharp pair of pruning clippers at a 45-degree angle on each branch to limit the size of the wound.

Step 4

Examine the shape of the plant after removing dead or dying sections of the plant. Give the plant an overall shaping by pruning back alternating branches to the parent (main) stem of the plant. Plants produce new growth at the point right below the cut, so this should create a bushier, fuller Mexican heather plant.

Step 5

Remove any clippings from the garden bed to discourage the growth of fungus or spread of disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning clippers

References

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Service
  • Floridata
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: Mexican heather, pruning Mexican heather, pruning heather

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.