Topiary instructions are easy to follow to create interesting and striking arrangements of three dimensional objects from living plants. The more challenging designs require more attention to detail and more artistic or engineering ability but even very young children can be part of fashioning a star of English ivy or a heart of creeping fig. Designing and creating topiary for a special occasion such as a heart for Mothers Day or a Christmas tree for the holidays requires only a very small amount of materials and little expense.
Start with a wire frame design from the garden center or make one of your own from a piece of flexible wire that will hold its shape after being formed into a design. Designs can be as simple as a circle or as ambitious as the profile of a loved one.
Select a clay or stoneware pot, complete with a drain hole that is the right size for the design you wish to make.
Place 1-inch of clean gravel in the bottom of the pot and then fill it to within 1-inch of the rim with a mixture of potting soil and half sterile sand to give the soil enough structure to support the topiary.
Use English ivy or creeping fig, available from the garden center, by gently separating the plant strand by strand with the roots intact.
Stand the wire frame in the pot and cover the base with soil so that the frame is stable. Place the roots of the ivy strand 2-inches into the soil and carefully wrap it around the wire down the length of the frame. Use twist-ties or small pieces of nylon cord to secure the ivy to the wire frame. Repeat with additional strands of ivy until the wire is fully covered.
Water the pot until it is wet throughout after completing the topiary by submerging it in a pan of water and allowing the water to wick up through the drain-hole until the soil is soaked. Spray the plant on a regular basis three times weekly with a plant mister. Fertilize with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer according to the directions on the package.
Keep the plant out of direct sunlight, but place them where they receive as much indirect sunlight as possible. Train the ivy by pruning it to conform to the shape of the frame.