How to care for topiary plants

Starting your own topiary:

  1. Decide upon the shape you wish to create. Balls, pyramids and cubes are a few of the easiest shapes to start with
  2. Choose which plant you would like and whether it is to be grown in the ground or in a pot and then plant it
  3. To encourage strong healthy growth apply an annual dressing of Growmore in the spring.
  4. For standard specimens (e.g. lollipops), select one upright shoot to act as your main stem, tie this to a cane or stake and remove all others. Gradually clear the lower part of the stem of shoots and foliage, continuing until the desired height of main stem is reached (which could take several years).
  5. Begin clipping it into shape. You could do this by eye or make a template or a wire frame to ensure the shape is clipped uniformly.
  6. As the plant matures it will bush out and the branches and leaves will become tightly knitted together to give the solid appearance. This can take many years depending on the plant selected and the ultimate desired size
  7. Allow for the plant to grow to the desired height before its main leader is trimmed.
  8. Topiary

Ideal plants to use for topiary:

Bay (laurel)

Buxus (box)

Ilex (holly)


How to look after existing topiary:

Existing specimens should be trimmed once or twice a year to maintain their shape; vigorous species may require more. Grow more can be applied once a year in the spring if desired, to help maintain the plants vigour and appearance. Remember to water every day if in pots.

See you soon at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion

Justin (Horticulturalist)

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