The Q&A Archives: Pruning advice

Question: About a year ago I planted six everblooming gardenias outside the front door of our house. My question is how do i prune them so they will grow taller instead of wider? As you can probably tell I'm a novice gardener so please keep it as simple as possible. Thank you.

Answer: Pruning is easy as long as you remember that wherever you make a pruning cut, you'll get two new stems. Knowing this should guide you into cutting back stems to create a denser growth habit. A second important pruning rule is to remove no more than one-third of the plant's live material at any one time. So, gentle annual pruning should keep your gardenias in shape and control their size. You can shear the plants, or for a more natural look, you can selectively prune individual stems and branches at alternating lengths. Since your gardenia will bloom over a long summer season, you'll want to do most of your pruning in the early spring so that the new shoots that develop after pruning will produce flowers. Since you've never pruned before, why not try it out by pruning only a few stems back and watching your plant's reaction? Once you know the results, you can prune with more confidence. Best wishes with your landscape!

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