Should I prune my gardenia bushes?

flowerartistApril 10, 2006

I have 3 large gardenia bushes around my deck in the backyard that have grown at least 18" since last spring. They seem to be healthy and I can see a few tiny flower buds forming already this season. These bushes are very tall (about 4') and I'm not sure how big I'm supposed to let them get. Should I prune them back after they bloom in June? If so, how much?

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fruit_cake(z7 Lewisville, NC)

I would wait until they have finished blooming to prune.

You can prune them back to whatever size you want them to be.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 3:47PM
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tietie(z7b / 8 nc)

I personally would let them get to their natural/genetically predisposed size. Eventually they will slow down. Then you'd only have to prune out an unhealthy or a wayward branch.

Here's what I mean. If you bought a shrub that the mature height is 6' but you want it to be 4' tall. You prune it this year and it will spend all year trying to 'grow up' to it's mature size, 6'. Then next year you prune and its again tries to 'grow up'. The following year you prune, it grows. You will have to prune each and every year to maintain at 4' all the while it is trying its best to reach the size it is suppose to be. I just think it could put all that energy into making pretty flowers instead of trying to grow to mature size and I could be sipping lemonade instead of pruning it. If you buy a shrub that the mature height is 4', then its growing should slow down as it nears 4'. You might have to prune occasionally, but it would be ALOT less work, and you'll enjoy it much more.

So what do you do if that location needs something only 4' tall and you've got a gargantuan gardenia? Move it! and put the right size shrub for that spot. That's what I had to do to lots of stuff when we moved here. Remember to remove the top growth a proportionate amount as to the root ball you dig. And keep it watered.

I think the reason most gardens fail is that they require more maintenance than people have time for.

Good luck and happy gardening.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 8:16PM
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Thanks tietie! I'll leave it for now and see how much bigger it grows. How big do gardenias typically get?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 9:34PM
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Do you know what kind of gardenias you have? If not how large are the leaves? Some of the newer ones on the market have smaller leaves than the large old fashioned passalong gardenias.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 10:04PM
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Hmm, let's see. I'm holding one of the larger leaves in my hands right now and it's about 1"wide x 3"long. More of a yellow based green rather than a blue based green. Any ideas??

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 7:39AM
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The largest leaves on my "Grandma" gardenia are bigger than that so you may have one of the newer types. Are your blooms double or single?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 3:12PM
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I won't prune my gardenia untill it cools down this fall. I did have a gardenia that bloomed several times a year when I lived up near Raleigh. They are pretty hardy. LindaNC

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 6:46PM
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They are double blooms, and mine also bloom twice a year (June and September).

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 1:13PM
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Is a gardenia good for planting along a pool in full sun?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 3:37PM
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We have a gardenia next to our pool and it has done amazingly well! It blooms twice a year, in June and in September.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 10:22AM
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