How to Create Topiaries


Topiary refers to the creation of "living art" in which plants are trained to grow around a three dimensional frame. These pieces of work range from simple shapes that can be used indoors to larger-than-life creations that are used to accentuate the landscape. Homeowners and gardeners alike may want to try their hand at creating a topiary that can be used indoors or out and will provide many years of recreation and reward.

Step 1

Fill the pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand. You can mix the two directly in the pot.

Step 2

Place the frame upright inside the pot. Add more soil and sand around the frame to stabilize it inside the pot.

Step 3

Take your vine plant and carefully separate each strand. Be sure to untangle the roots as well. Remove any dead or withered leaves.

Step 4

Place each strand in the pot. Cover the roots completely and lay each strand out so they do not get tangled again.

Step 5

Wrap each strand separately around the topiary form. Use twist ties or cotton twine to secure the strand to the form.

Step 6

Water the base of the topiary thoroughly to set roots in place and help the strands establish themselves.

Step 7

Continue to train the plant as it grows. Once one of the strands reaches the end of the frame it can be trained to grow back down the frame. Over time this will ensure that the topiary looks full.

Tips and Warnings

  • Philodendron leaves, a common topiary plant for large frame designs, are poisonous to pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Frame
  • Clay pot
  • Sterile sand
  • Potting soil
  • Twist ties or cotton twine
  • Vine plant
  • Water


  • University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil
Keywords: starting a topiary, different houseplant designs, making plant shapes, create topiary

About this Author

Leah Deitz has been writing alternative health and environmental-related articles for five years. She began her writing career at a small newspaper covering city politics but turned to environmental concerns after beginning her freelance career. When she is not exploring the trails and outdoors of the East Coast, Deitz writes for a number of websites including, and Associated Content.