The Q&A Archives: Prunning a Gardinia Bush

Question: I have a 10 yr. Gardinia Bush that has always been so beautiful with lots of flowers. Had to move it Feb. 2008. Half has died and the part that is still alive has very small leaves. How should I go about cutting off the dead limbs and shaping the bush? It's probably 6x6 ft (including dead branches.

Answer: How sad that your gardenia isn't happy! These plants can be fussy, especially when dug and replanted, and they take their own sweet time adjusting once they are moved. Anything dead can be removed completely from the plant so start there. Then reduce the size of your shrub by pruning it back all over. You can safely remove about one third of the live plant material without harming your shrub. Give it 4-6 weeks to recover from the pruning and if it is still too large or gangly, prune it back again by one third. Then next spring, you can prune it again. Eventually you'll get it down to a manageable size and the new growth show develop flowers for you. Just be patient with your gardenia. I think it will eventually recover.

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