Creating a topiary is an art form that has been around for over 2,000 years. It involves shaping living plants and trees into various shapes and designs. A topiary can add an elegant or whimsical look to a garden depending on the design and type of plant you work with. Using ivy plants and a large topiary form is the quickest way to create a professional-looking topiary with gorgeous results, since ivy is fast-growing and has lush green foliage.
Select a large topiary wire form in a shape of your choice. It could be a geometrical shape or the shape of an animal.
Place the form in the ground where you choose to display it. Choose a location that gets full sun in the morning with some afternoon shade. Push the form deep enough into the ground to hold it securely, about 8 inches deep or more if possible.
Stuff sphagnum moss inside the wire form beginning at the bottom and working up. This makes the form look fuller until the plants grow big enough to cover it completely.
Select a vine-type plant to grow around the form, such as English ivy, which is quick-growing and hardy in most locations. Other plants that work well include vinca minor and Boston ivy. Use three to five plants for the large form.
Plant the ivy directly underneath the topiary form. Dig a hole for each plant the same depth as the height of the root ball and slightly wider. Place a plant in each hole, fill in with soil and tamp down gently with your hands. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.
Carefully wind the ivy around the large topiary form and remove the leaves from the stem just where it is wrapped around the form. This helps it cling to the form easier and prevents the leaves from drying up and dying in those spots. Wrap the ivy around the form as it continues to grow.
Keep the ivy watered well to encourage good growth. Water once or twice a week, allowing the soil to dry out down to about 2 inches deep before watering again. Use a soaker hose for a deep watering and to avoid getting the foliage wet.
Prune and shape the ivy once it has grown large enough to cover the entire topiary form. Prune or pinch back any shoots that are too small to wrap around the form. Also, remove any dead leaves and stems as necessary to tidy up the topiary.