The Q&A Archives: Chuck Hayes Gardenias

Question: I have several Chuck Hayes Gardenias, which have grown tall, leaving the lower plant empty of leaves and blooms. Since they bloom from June through October, is it safe to cut them back that late in the season?

Answer: It's usually safe to cut back flowering shrubs immediately after they've finished flowering. However, pruning encourages new growth, and done this late in the season may produce new shoots that are tender and susceptible to dieback during winter weather. I'd suggest pruning in the dormant season (late winter to early spring) to allow the spring flush of growth to fill in pruned areas. Your plant will produce new flower buds along with new stems and should bloom right on time. If you trim the stems and branches back by 1/3, you'll force growth all over, including latent buds on the lower trunk of the plant.

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