Time To Prune Gardenias And Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas and gardenias are two of our most beloved shrubs in the South. They are revered for their flowers and are planted in large drifts throughout Northwest Florida.

Gardenia shrubs are evergreen and produce shiny, dark green leaves. They are known for their waxy, creamy white flowers. The flower’s aroma, adored by many gardeners, is powerful and pleasant.

Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs and produce coarse, light green leaves. Their large leaves will fall off after a freeze. Although you are left with bare sticks during the winter, the summer blooms are well worth the winter bareness. While there are many different types of hydrangeas, the mopheads are probably the most recognizable. Their large inflorescences are usually blue on acid soil, pink on alkaline soil and a dirty white on neutral pH soil.

Even though these shrubs are different in many aspects, the one thing they have in common is when they “set” their flower buds. Both shrubs develop flower buds on old (mature) wood of the previous year and open in early summer of the following year. Flower buds are formed at the terminal end of stems and, if not killed by cold or removed by inappropriate pruning, provide the showy floral display the next year.

The best time to prune gardenias and hydrangeas is after they finish flowering for the season. Pruning them at the incorrect time of the year, such as winter, will remove the flower buds.

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