Gardenias Are In Decline – Should I Prune And Fertilize Now?

Q: My gardenias once had large flowers. They have declined and now have small leaves, small flowers and lichens on the stems. Should I prune and fertilize them now to help them regain their beauty? 

A: My feeling is you should wait until mid-February and prune them severely then, perhaps as low as 18″ high. In April, fertilize with Ferti-lome or Holly-tone. You’re probably not going to have very many flowers next year but in my experience overgrown gardenias respond very well to severe pruning. In years to come, prune your gardenias after the heaviest flowering is over.