How to Prune Gardenias

By Barry Solomon , last updated March 29, 2011

Pruning gardenias is a great way to keep them in perfect shape. The gardenia is a beautiful white flower, framed by intensely green leaves, that is pleasantly scented and is a great addition to your garden or landscaping. Most varieties bloom once a year, but some are multiple bloomers which are hybrids developed by botanical scientists. When pruning multiple blooming bushes, make sure that you are not cutting away new buds as they will appear several times during the course of a growing year. Gardenia bushes do not require pruning for the maintenance of good health. It is more about shaping the plant and having it grow to the size you desire. Pruning will prevent the plant from shooting out in all directions and keeping it looking full and healthy.

The best time to prune is in the late summer. Gardenia bushes grow their new buds in the early fall, and you don't want to prune away any new buds. Start by cutting away any blooms that are dead or wilted. Make clean cuts with sharp pruning shears. Jagged cuts can promote disease in the plant. To be doubly sure, you can seal the cuts with regular glue. It is a good idea to wear gloves while you do this. Then, cut away any branches that you want to eliminate for shaping purposes. You can prune away both green and brown branches. Part of the idea is to thin out the plant at the top to allow for proper air flow and to allow existing branches to have unfettered growth of shoots. Also cut away lateral growing branches to keep the integrity of the shape of the bush. Make sure and give any cuts time to seal over before watering the plant again. This shouldn't take more than a few hours.

If you follow these simple techniques your gardenia shrub will reward you with beautiful flowers each year and, in the case of multiple bloomers, several times a year!

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