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.
Schedule pruning immediately after the bush stops flowering (typically after May) and before the next season's buds begin developing (typically mid-July).
Sanitize the gardening shear blades by wiping the blades with rubbing alcohol.
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.