How to Prune Gardenia Plants


Gardeners prune gardenia bushes to shape the plant or thin out unwanted growth. Removing older branches improves the overall flower production, as younger branches bear more flowers. If pruning is delayed until late summer or fall, don't expect new buds to form before spring, as the gardenia bush sets its next season's buds around midsummer.

Step 1

Schedule pruning immediately after the bush stops flowering (typically after May) and before the next season's buds begin developing (typically mid-July).

Step 2

Sanitize the gardening shear blades by wiping the blades with rubbing alcohol.

Step 3

Prune to shape the plant in the desired form, ideally selecting older, woody branches to remove as opposed to newer growth. Older growth tends to be thicker and woody in appearance, and newer branch growth is greener and thinner.

Tips and Warnings

  • The ideal month to prune may vary, depending on the region, and when the plant actually stops flowering in that region.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening shears
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towel


  • University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program; Green Share Fact Sheet: Gardenia Care
  • Purdue Extension: Gardenia: A Gardener's Challenge
  • LSU Ag Center: Prune Gardenias After Flowers Fade
  • NC State University: Pruning Calendar for Polk County, NC
Keywords: pruning gardenia plants, gardenia bush pruning, gardenia plant care

About this Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University of Fullerton.