How to Prune Gardenias in Georgia


Nothing adds beautiful fragrance to the garden like a blooming gardenia. And Georgia, with its warm, humid climate, is a great place to grow them. Gardenias require minimal pruning, but an occasional shaping can contribute to the shrub's overall appearance and will help your gardenia look good year after year.

Step 1

Wait until your shrub has finished blooming for the season. In most areas of Georgia, this will be late May or early June. Pruning at this time will allow the new growth that sprouts after pruning to mature enough to survive the first frost. This schedule also encourages maximum blooms in the following season.

Step 2

Stand back from your plant to assess how its overall shape might be enhanced, and how well its current size works in the landscape. Resist the urge to overprune. Most broad-leafed evergreen shrubs require very little pruning, and some gardenia growers limit pruning to once every few years.

Step 3

Using hand-held pruning shears, make the selective cuts necessary to scale back the size of your gardenia or refine its shape. Make sure your shears are sharp, and make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle. The best place on a branch to make a cut is just above another sturdy shoot.

Step 4

If your gardenia has been neglected or is overgrown, it may be necessary to prune more aggressively. Use long-handled loppers to thin out selected large branches, if needed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't prune too late in the summer. Doing so might cause a flush a new growth that will be vulnerable to the first hard freeze. For similar reasons, don't wait too late to fertilize.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand-held pruning shears
  • Loppers


  • Georgia Cooperative Extension: Gardenias
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Growing Gardenias in Florida
  • Aggie Horticulture: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
Keywords: Georgia, pruning gardenias, trimming shrubs

About this Author

Dana Hall McCain is a freelance writer based in Dothan, Ala., and is a a regular contributor to numerous regional publications. She writes features and columns on a variety of topics, including the outdoors, faith and health/wellness. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University in public relations/communication in 1995.