How to Sculpt a Topiary


Topiaries are common in formal and informal gardens, at shopping malls, amusement parks and inside homes. They can have whimsical shapes like dancing hippos or full-sized trains, or they can have formal shapes such as mazes, spheres or pyramids. You can sculpt topiaries from different plant materials. Evergreen shrubs, ivy and some trees are just a few varieties of plants that can be sculpted into topiaries.

Step 1

Fill a container with floral foam. Place a topiary form in the container. Cover the floral foam with sphagnum moss to hide it.

Step 2

Wearing gloves, soak sphagnum moss in a bucket of water. Add a few drops of dish soap to help the moss absorb the water. Keep it in the water until it's completely saturated.

Step 3

Squeeze out any excess water from the moss. Fill the frame with damp moss. Make sure that the moss is tightly packed in the frame. You should no longer be able to see or feel the wire of the frame. This can take awhile.

Step 4

After the frame is properly filled, tightly wind floral wire around the frame. This keeps the moss in place and doesn't let any fall out.

Step 5

Make holes in the sphagnum moss with a screwdriver. Put one starter plant into each hole and cover the soil with more damp moss. Keep filling the holes with plants. Make sure you leave room for the plants to spread. Use greening pins to attach ivy runners to the sphagnum moss to help them root.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always use gloves when handling sphagnum moss to avoid allergies or fungal diseases. Water your topiary often because sphagnum moss dries out quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Floral foam
  • Topiary frame
  • Gloves
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Bucket
  • Dish washing soap
  • Floral wire or fishing line
  • Screwdriver
  • Starter plants (ivy, begonias or hens and chickens)
  • Greening pins


  • How To Make a Topiary tree
  • Creating a Topiary
  • How to Make Your Own Topiary

Who Can Help

  • Shrub Topiaries
Keywords: sculpting topiaries, topiaries, making topiaries

About this Author

Liz Ward is a Visual Communications Designer and writer. Ward's articles are published on and Ward has written for Demand Studios and Text Broker. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Design and a Minor in photography from Purdue University. She is also a master gardener.