How to prune gardenias?

gardenias and maintenance

There are numerous plants that need maintenance tasks such as pruning. One of these plants is the gardenia. There are many ways to prune gardenias but, obtaining an optimal result will depend on the pruner's technique. There are some criteria that must be taken into account when pruning gardenias so that the results are as optimal as possible and the plant can continue to maintain good conditions.

In this article we are going to tell you how to prune gardenias, when you should do it and what you should take into account for it.

Why gardenias should be pruned

how to prune gardenias

The purpose of gardenia pruning is to redirect its energy and release damaged or withered stems, leaves, and flowers. This is good for the plants as helps prevent diseases and improves their development and appearance, so it is one of the most important tasks in the care of our plants.

The purpose of gardenia pruning is:

  • Promote plant growth.
  • It is beneficial for the light and ventilation of the plant stem.
  • Remove damaged, broken or dry branches, leaves or flowers that may also harbor parasites.
  • Improve the flowering of plants.
  • Enhances colour.

This, if pruned correctly, will improve the development and appearance of the specimen. As a result, the size and flowering of the plant will increase.

When to prune gardenias

prune gardenias

In general, a good time to prune gardenias is in early spring, before the plants return to activity, as long as there is no risk of frost. This reduces sap loss and, as the developmental stage approaches, the wound will begin to heal quickly. In areas with warm winters, fall pruning may be a good option. Seasonal pruning is done once a year.

Gardenia care pruning can be done at any time of the year. It is a cleaning pruning to eliminate suckers, those young shoots that protrude between the main stem and branches, as well as yellowing or dry leaves, damaged stems or withered flowers.

How to Prune Gardenias

gardenia care

To prune gardenias we only need pruning shears, sanitize with alcohol from a pharmacy and wear gloves. There are different types of pruning depending on what we want to achieve, let's take a look at them.

Maintenance pruning

The purpose of maintenance pruning is leave room for healthy new shoots to grow and remove bad elements from the plant. This pruning is done in conjunction with other maintenance tasks throughout the year.

First of all, we will remove the suckers as follows:

  • We will find secondary shoots or shoots that appear between the first leaf and the main stem.
  • Later we will carefully cut the suction cup so that the cut is as close as possible to the main stem without damaging it. It is best done when the buds are less than 5 cm.
  • Cut the branches diagonally so that the water can flow. This will prevent water from staying in the wound and causing it to rot.

We will then remove the following unwanted items:

  • Dead, dry or diseased stems, leaves and flowers.
  • The buds that come out of the feet of the plant are weak or poorly placed and we are not interested in their development.
  • Crossed branches, misoriented or tangled bushes.
  • Withered flowers destroy and deplete the plant's energy.

Flowering pruning

Flower pruning is done annually, usually in late winter or early spring, to increase the flowering of the plant. We will proceed as follows:

  • Winter pruning, when the worst of the cold has passed, around mid-February
  • Buds that have already bloomed will never bloom again, so they must be removed so that new buds can emerge.
  • Bloom pruning can be done at the same time as cleaning.
  • Don't cut stems that aren't blooming, as they will bloom the next year.
  • Remember, the best conditions for plants to bloom vigorously are moist conditions and plenty of light.

Rejuvenation pruning

Rejuvenation pruning is a technique that involves removing dry, damaged and useless parts of a plant to clean it and make new shoots sprout. It is recommended to do this before the flowering season begins. This is a vigorous pruning that rejuvenates gardenias, although it can also be done gradually.

  • Drastic rejuvenation pruning: In the first case, what we are doing is pruning the entire plant to the ground. This should only be done if the specimen is strong enough to support it and ensure irrigation and fertilization.
  • Progressive rejuvenation pruning: It consists of removing 50% of the branches, aligning them with the insert. The remaining branches are cut to half the length, or just a third of the tip of the best branches we can find above.

Step by step

Here are the steps to prune gardenias:

  1. Squeeze out the growing tips the first year after planting. Grab the tip of each stem with your fingers and place it on the tallest bud or leaf. Press every four to six weeks during spring and summer when gardenias are growing vigorously. Pinching it makes it smaller and fuller.
  2. Cut dried flowers in spring after blooming and wilting. Trim the entire flower head so the gardenia can't go to seed and weaken the bush. Prune indoor and outdoor gardenias after picking the flowers.
  3. Trim branches above leaves or buds to no more than a quarter of its length to maintain the shape and size of the plant.
  4. Prune dry and damaged wood in spring. Move these branches close to healthy wood on the same branch or where they connect with other healthy wood. Pots kept outdoors year-round are more susceptible to dry wood and winter wilt.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about how to prune gardenias and what you should keep in mind.


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