How to Grow Topiaries

Overview

The topiary is a two or three dimensional plant grown and pruned into a sculpted piece of art. The shapes range from inanimate objects to lively animals. Topiaries are grown from an array of plants, trees and shrubs. The most successful topiaries are those grown from plants with vining or creeping characteristics. The plant selection should be strongly based around the intended shape of the topiary.

Step 1

Prepare the moss and potting containers. Soak the moss in water until it is saturated. Fill the potting container with nutrient-rich soil specific to your selected plant. Most topiary plants prefer a sandy loam that can be created using two parts potting soil and one part sand. Place the topiary frame in the center of the potting container and pack the soil tightly around its base. Ensure that the topiary frame is secure and stable. It must support a top-heavy plant. Pack the saturated moss tightly into the frame cavities. Wrap the frames with fishing line. Run and wrap the vines of the plant from the potting container up and around the frame. Gently secure the lines with hairpins, while avoiding root system damage. Create small holes in the moss and place the ends of the vines into the holes as it reaches its end.

Step 2

Prune your topiary regularly. Most topiary selections can increase in size in just a few weeks. While you may only need to prune your plant once every two to three weeks, inspect your plant weekly to monitor its growth. Keep the topiary's growth to no more than two inches past the frame. Prune and pinch new growth to control its shape. Avoid pruning all of the new growth simultaneously. This will avoid stunting the plant's overall growth and causing dieback.

Step 3

Keep your plant in a shaded area. Most vining and creeping plants prefer partial, indirect sunlight and can be susceptible to sunburn. These plants also prefer moderate to cool temperatures. However, follow the specifics of your plant selection, as it may vary.

Step 4

Water your plant regularly, but avoid over-watering. Check your plant's soil moisture before watering. Place your finger in the soil. Only water the plant if the soil feels slightly to completely dry. Feed the topiary monthly with a well-balanced fertilizer, ideally a 10-10-10 combination. Use a half-strength mixture to avoid root burn.

Step 5

Dust your houseplant topiary regularly to reduce disease and illness potential. Inspect your topiary regularly for insects and spider mites. Spider mites are quite common to topiaries. If you find webbing throughout your plant or if yellow spots appear on the foliage, treat your plant for infestation. Use a houseplant or garden insect spray that is designed to kill mites and eggs.

Things You'll Need

  • Topiary frame
  • Potting container
  • Moss
  • Moss container for saturation
  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Making a Houseplant Topiary
  • Plants Suited for Use on an Indoor Topiary
  • Common Holidy Plants and Their Care
Keywords: household topiary plants, topiary plant care, topiary information

About this Author

Writing professionally since 2004, Charmayne Smith focuses on corporate materials such as training manuals, business plans, grant applications and technical manuals. Smith's articles have appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and on various websites, drawing on her extensive experience in corporate management and property/casualty insurance.