The Q&A Archives: Are my gardenia's dead?

Question: I live in charlotte, nc. we had a colder winter than usual. Every leaf on my gargenias are dead. Can or should I prune them or are they beyond help.



Answer: It might be too early in the season to give up on your gardenias. You can do some experimental pruning to see if the branches are still alive. Start by pruning just a few inches off a branch and look at the center of the branch after each cut. If you see green tissue within the branch, it is still alive and has the potential to grow new twigs and leaves; if the material is brown, that part of the branch is dead and you can cut further down on the branch. If you cannot find any green material in the branch, cut it all the way off the plant and try another branch. If you cannot find any green tissue within the branches, the gardenias are dead and should be replaced. If you do find green tissue, stop pruning and wait for new growth. Once new growth begins you can simply prune out any obviously dead branches. Let's hope your gardenias recover from the frosty weather!

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