The Q&A Archives: First Love Gardenia pruning and care

Question: Can you tell me if I should prune the plant for shape? I received a lovely plant for Mothers day this year 2005, and it is a bit leggy and I want to know if it is suggested or ok to prune it for shape for next year, or do I destroy the blooms for next spring?

I am growing it in a container thru the first winter to let it get stonger and in the spring I may plant it in the ground in a somewhat protected area. Thanks.

Answer: According to your zip code, you are gardening in zone 5B or the warmer part of zone 5. However, Gardenia jasminoides 'Aimee' or "First Love" is only considered winter hardy to zone 8 and would not survive your cold winter weather. So you will definitely need to keep it as a container plant so you can easily bring it inside each winter. As far as pruning goes, I would wait until after it has bloomed next spring and then prune it back, this will probably be about June. If just a few are way too long, you can selectively trim off the longest tips one or two at a time throughout the year. Here are some indoor growing tips you may find helpful.

Good luck with your gardenia, these are not at easy to grow.

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