The gardenia flower possesses a distinct, sweet, perfume-like fragrance. Its delicate, soft white petals easily discolor if mishandled. When trimming a flower from the bush to enjoy inside, handle by the stem and avoid touching the petals. While the individual flowers can be trimmed from the bush at any time, either when they begin to wilt or while still prime, to use as a floral arrangement, the overall bush should not be trimmed while the new buds are developing.
Schedule the trimming or pruning for when the gardenia plant has finished flowering. This might be May, June or later for late flowering varieties. If you wait too long after the plant finishes flowering, trimming disrupts the next season's bud growth.
Wipe the gardening shears with rubbing alcohol to sanitize. If trimming or pruning more than one plant, wipe the blades between each plant, to avoid spreading plant disease, fungus or bacteria.
Trim scraggly branches from the gardenia bush and faded flowers.