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How to Prune Dwarf Gardenias

Dwarf gardenia, known botanically as gardenia jasminoides radicans, is a flowering perennial plant that grows to 2 feet in height and up to 3 feet in spread, at maturity. Like its full-size relative, gardenia augusta, dwarf gardenia produces highly fragranced flowers in June and July each year. It requires little pruning save deadheading and removal of damaged foliage and branching. Infrequent hard pruning can be employed to control the shape and size of the plant if needed.

Harvest gardenia blossoms at the peak of bloom for use in floating flower arrangements. Deadhead and pluck off fading gardenia flowers when they wilt and turn brown. The flowers can be cut off the branch with scissors or simply plucked off with your thumb and forefinger.

Prune away any diseased or damaged foliage and branching from the plant throughout the year. Each week when you water inspect the gardenia carefully for yellowing or brown leaves, broken branching or insect damage. Prune away any of these problem areas immediately when you see them.

Hard prune your dwarf gardenia once every few years or as needed to control its overall shape or size. Cut back the branches as desired being sure to place all of your cuts 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch above a leaf node. Remove no more than one-third of the dwarf gardenia foliage in each hard pruning session to lessen stress on the bush and prevent shock.

Care For Dwarf Gardenias

Despite their small size, dwarf gardenias (Gardenia jasminoides "Radicans") pack a punch in the landscape. Although the ornamental perennial plants only grow 2 to 3 feet high and spreads 4 to 5 feet, they produce glossy leaves and 1-inch-wide, fragrant, white flowers in early to midsummer. Care for the plant so it remains healthy and produces attractive foliage and flowers. Grow the dwarf gardenia in well-draining, fertile, slightly acidic soil exposed to full sunlight or partial shade. Afterward, water the plant two to three times a week until the soil is evenly moist. Spread 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch around the base of the plant to deter weeds and keep the roots cool. Space the mulch 4 inches from the main stem or trunk of the plant to prevent rot. Stop fertilizing the dwarf gardenia during fall and winter. Inspect the dwarf gardenia for insects such as aphids, scale and white flies.

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