Gardenia bushes are beloved for their deep green glossy evergreen foliage and heavily scented, white flowers. A relatively slow growing sub-tropical plant, gardenias require little if any pruning for bloom but will tolerate trimming to remove damaged branching and foliage, harvest flowers, dead head spent blooms and improve its natural shape. Any significant trimming should always be done in the summer immediately following bloom in order to prevent the forfeit of next years buds.
Trim away yellowed foliage, damaged branches, diseased looking tissue and spent blooms as needed throughout the growing season. Place the cut back to healthy wood 1/4 inch above a leaf node or bud. Compost what clippings appear to be healthy and trash any parts that you suspect may harbor disease.
Harvest fresh flowers from the shrub throughout the growing season for use in cut flower and floating arrangements. Trim the flower on a short stem or remove the flower bud from the tip of the stem by snapping it off.
Cut away branch tips as desired to alter the height and spread of the gardenia plant if it is outgrowing its location or interfering with another plant that cannot be moved out of its path. Cut individual branches and follow the natural contours of the shrub for a professional look. Refrain from removing more than 1/3 of the shrubs bulk in a single session to prevent stress on the plant and lessen the threat of shock setting in.