I have an overgrown gardenia. How far back can I cut it? The gardenia is located at the corner of our house. It is about ten feet tall and is growing against the house. Furthermore, because of the growth over the last 20 years of nearby hardwoods, it doesn't get as much light as it should. I'd rather not transplant it, however. The lack of light has caused all of the leafy parts to grow only near the top of the bush in its search for light. There is about 5 feet of trunk with no leaves. Can I cut it back to the trunk, and expect it to leaf out next spring? Or would the removal of all the green leaves cause the plant to die? Bill Gunby
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
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 to a more manageable size. This article should also help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/gardenia/when-to-prune-a-gardenia.htm
Wow, I have never seen a 10 foot gardenia so my answer may not help you, but after some failures I finally got one to grow but it was doing very poorly. It got to be about 4 feet high and my main problem was the buds would turn brown and drop and rarely bloom so I cut it back to the nubbins. Really whacked it and now it is beautiful and I had so many blooms I couldn't believe it. But yours has become a tree, so don't know if this helps you or not.