Growing topiary is one of the most magical arts you can master as a gardener. We all love the huge hedge animals and blooming box clouds. But maintaining and caring for topiary plants can be a lot of effort, so we’ve broken down the steps into our top tips. Keep this checklist handy as you get to work on your creations!
- Plant your high hedges wide as they’ll need a lot of root space.
- Topiary needs aerated soil so make sure it doesn’t become waterlogged. Use good compost, bark mulch and grit.
- Feed your plants with slow release fertiliser granules, and Growmore once every spring.
- Water regularly over summer and give a light watering in winter.
- Sterilise your cutting equipment with antibacterial spray to avoid transfer of disease.
- Clips your plants into shape once or twice a year. During summer is the best time to do this – start after frost season is definitely over and finish up by September.
- Only cut the topiary on an overcast day as bright sunlight will scorch the leaves.
- Experts recommend trimming first with power tools for speed, then cleaning up with sharp shears.
- If you’re training growing branches then use soft twine so it doesn’t cut into the wood.
- Watch out for signs of disease. Box hedges are particularly affected with box blight and box suckers. Yew can be hit with phytophthora root rot.
- If your topiary has been neglected then hard prune it in early spring to get it back into shape. Then give it plenty of feed and mulch.
We hope these tips will get you started on the path to topiary perfection. If you have any other points on how to care for topiary then please share in the comments below!
George works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.
George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!
He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.