How to Prune Indoor Gardenias


Gardenias grown as houseplants are typically smaller or dwarf varietals bred specifically for indoor use. As they are propagated in greenhouses and their blooms are forced, the re-bloom can vary from the traditional summer and fall bloom cycle that outdoor gardenias naturally follow. Pruning indoor gardenias is necessary to tidy the plant and remove damaged or diseased foliage that may compromise the plant's health. Less frequently, pruning can be used to control the shape and size of your indoor gardenia.

Step 1

Inspect your plant regularly at watering time to identify any diseased or damaged foliage and branches. You will want to remove these immediately when you see them to prevent the spread of disease. Pinch the damaged parts off with your fingers or cut back to a point only as far as needed to remove all of the damage or disease.

Step 2

Harvest flowers for floating arrangements as they unfurl using sharp, clean scissors or secateurs. Deadhead fading flower heads on the plant as they brown and wilt by pinching them back or cutting them off.

Step 3

Cut back your indoor gardenia every year or two to control the shape and size of the plant. Conduct this more severe pruning after bloom. Cut back branches to one-half of an inch above a leaf node and pull each cut branch from the plant before proceeding with the next cut. This will help you to maintain a symmetrical, professional yet natural look to your gardenia.

Things You'll Need

  • Small hair cutting scissors or small pruners
  • Hands
  • Water


  • University of Illinois: Pruning
  • Purdue University: Gardenias
Keywords: perennial flowering houseplant, gardenia, prune cut back shape

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.