Q: I have a gardenia on which most of the leaves turned black after the freeze a few weeks ago. Should I cut it down to the ground or hope that new leaves come back this spring?
A: Hope springs eternal in the heart of a true gardener. I think you should be patient and wait to see what happens.
You have probably lost all possibility for blooms anyway. Wait until May to ascertain if any sprouts along the trunk have enough energy to pop out. If so, the gardenia will begin to renew itself. One of the best things you can do is to pinch out the growing tip of each sprout in late June.
This will make the sprout re-branch and will result in a more densely leafed shrub.
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