How to Prune a Gardenia Bush


Gardenia bushes are much loved for the sweet, spicy scent of their blooms and for their diversity of use as both indoor and outdoor plants. Considering their exotic tropical appeal, lush flowers and glossy foliage, gardenias are a relatively low maintenance plant. They are rather slow growing and do not require regular or heavy pruning to encourage bloom. Very light monthly maintenance and tidying is often sufficient between hard pruning every few years immediately after bloom.

Step 1

Inspect your gardenia bush once a month. Look for any broken branches, spent bloom heads, dying foliage or signs of disease. Cut damaged or dying branches down to the point where you reach healthy tissue and place the cut at least 1/4 inch above a leaf node or bud. Cut or pluck off yellowing or brown leaves. Scoop up any leaves and blooms that have fallen onto the soil surface to prevent disease from spreading.

Step 2

Harvest gardenia blooms as they unfurl for use in cut flower or floating flower arrangements. Cut the blooms on the stem or break them off at the base of the bloom for floating arrangements. Deadhead--pluck off--any fading or dead flowers.

Step 3

Hard prune once every few years to shape, re-size or rejuvenate your gardenia bush. Start by thinning the interior of the bush to ensure good sunlight penetration and air flow. Remove any crossing branches. Cut the plant to the desired height and shape, but maintain the natural growth pattern. Cut off branches that touch the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Long-handled loppers


  • University of Florida, Pruning Gardenias
  • North Carolina State University, Pruning Shrubs
Keywords: gardenia plant, cut back, harvest flowers

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.