Care for Topiary Plants


Topiaries are decorative sculptures made from live plants. You can make indoor or outdoor topiaries. Many plants are used to construct these live works of art, such as ivy, rhododendron and herbs. Some topiaries are small hearts that shoot out of a 4-inch pot while others are as large as horses shown off in the landscape. The care for these plants is not much different from the smallest to the largest; of course, larger sculptures take more time. When doing outdoor topiaries, make sure to use plants that thrive in your area.

Step 1

Place indoor topiaries in shade and water thoroughly. In three days start to gradually move the plant to brighter sunlight until it is getting at least four to six hours of direct sun per day.

Step 2

Water planted topiaries when the top of the soil starts to dry. Never allow the soil to completely dry out, but don't allow it to get soggy either. Topiaries with frames stuffed with moss will dry out much faster than plants in soil. Mist the moss every day and shower or dip it in a bucket of water once a week, depending on the size of the sculpture.

Step 3

Apply a slow release fertilizer to the soil once a year in the spring. Use a diluted application of a water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season and spray it on with a spray bottle. Follow manufacturer's directions on the amount to use per application.

Step 4

Pinch off new growth to encourage side shoots that can be used to cover the form. Cut off shoots when the sculpture starts to look too full and is losing its form. Cut away any dead or damaged shoots as soon as you notice them.

Step 5

Attach the shoots loosely with florist tape or twist ties as they grow to cover the form. Go over the plant every few days to see if the tape or ties need to be moved due to growth or if new shoots need to be attached.

Things You'll Need

  • Slow release fertilizer
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Spray bottle
  • Pruning shears


  • Cornell University: Indoor Topiary
  • Iowa State University Extension: Indoor Topiary
  • Cornell University: English Ivy
Keywords: caring for topiaries, growing plant sculptures, living topiary sculptures

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.