How to Plant a Self-Contained Moss Topiary Frame


Topiaries are plant sculptures, first popularized as elaborately pruned and trimmed pieces in formal gardens. Today, even inexperienced gardeners can have fun growing a topiary. Shaped wire forms are used as support frames for small climbing and trailing plants. The shaped forms can also be stuffed with sphagnum moss, which becomes a planting medium. The moss filling allows trailing plants to grow roots over the entire surface of the stuffed form, creating a lush, full topiary.

Create a Moss-Filled Topiary

Step 1

Soak the sphagnum moss in a bucket of water for 10 to 15 minutes. The moss should be completely saturated and sponge-like.

Step 2

Take a handful of the wet moss from the bucket and squeeze out the excess water. Leave enough water so the moss clings together.

Step 3

Pack the wet sphagnum moss inside the three-dimensional wire topiary form. As you pack the form, wind nylon fishing line around the moss and the wire to hold the moss in place. Continue packing and winding until the entire wire form is filled with moist sphagnum moss.

Step 4

Make a small planting hole in the topiary, and insert the plant you have selected. Use several small plants for faster coverage, or use rooted cuttings. Spread the vines over the moss-filled form. Use hairpins or topiary pins to secure the vines in place. For any roots that are growing along the length of the vine, make a small hole in the moss and gently press the roots into the moss. Secure the vine with a hairpin wherever there are rooting points.

Step 5

Water the topiary by misting it daily. Keep the moss moist. Use water-soluble fertilizer about once a month in your regular watering routine.

Step 6

Trim your topiary as the vines grow. Keep it in shape by trimming and pinching back the vines regularly. Follow the shape of the wire form when you trim the plants. Most topiary forms look best when they are covered by no more than 2 inches of greenery. Excess growth masks the intended shape of the topiary form.

Things You'll Need

  • Three-dimensional wire topiary form
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Nylon fishing line, clear
  • Sharp scissors
  • Small-leaved trailing plant
  • Wire hairpins or topiary pins


  • Plants Used in Standards, Topiary or Moss Frames
  • Wire topiary frames
  • Plants used in moss topiaries

Who Can Help

  • Table top topiaries
  • Making a Houseplant Topiary
Keywords: sphagnum moss, moss-filled topiary, topiary form

About this Author

Fern Fischer writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art. She also covers topics of organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family. For over 35 years, her work has been published in print and online.