Cutting back Gardenia
I have 2 Gardenia plants that are at lease 40 years old.They had been pruned yearly until about 4 years ago when my mother got sick. Recently, she passed away and I have taken over the house and yard. Because the plants have not been trimmed, they have grown huge, out of control and become scraggly. If I try to prune them back to a reasonable size, I will only have sticks. If I prune them down to the ground, will they survive? Or should I consider them a lost cause and tear them out and replant new ones?
I would not cut it to the ground in one year. This will surely kill it. But, to rejuvenate it, I would recommend thinning the shrub out by 1/3 each year for 2-3 years. Each year, cut out the 1/3 largest branches. This will bring the plant back.