Indoor and Outdoor Topiary

Indoor and Outdoor Topiary

Outdoor Topiary is living three-dimensional sculpture. It typically has dense leaves organized around a frame, to form the desired shape, and is pruned to look elegant and seamless. Used in Ancient Rome, medieval times, 17th century England, and in the Victorian era, topiary was introduced in North America in 1690, first in Williamsburg, Virginia, according to Cornell University.

The type of plant used for topiary depends on many factors. Growth rates and patterns, size, texture, and the strength of the stem are a few considerations. Stems must be strong for topiary that stands up from the floor. The types of plants used depends on the kind of sculpture. Multiple plant types can be combined as well, but the best results are when they have similar watering and lighting requirements.

Topiary Trees Can Be Used Indoors, too

Indoor and Outdoor Topiary

Indoor topiary can enhance the décor in sufficiently lit spaces, and there are enough resources for maintenance. Moss is often used for indoor sculptures. It dries out easily so frequent watering or misting is needed. Weekly soaking or showering is recommended as well. These plants must be trimmed often; side growth can be promoted by pinching the tips with Outdoor Topiary

Topiaries can be created in two dimensions, meaning the plants are trained to a flat wire frame. All you need is a sturdy pot, soil, and light wire. On a small scale, pliers, wire cutters, twist ties, or florist tape are enough. A small sculpture can be made with houseplants in an hour. Three-dimensional topiary is an even more engaging project. You can purchase a 3-D frame or make one yourself with light gauge or chicken wire. Adding sphagnum moss, you can do a simple 3-D topiary project in a couple of hours. Learn more from Topiary Tree

Topiary: A Landscaper’s Paradise

The range of trees and plants suitable for topiary is diverse. For landscapers and others interested in getting started, topiary is an accessible art form. Pruning tools and techniques help obtain the sculpture’s size or shape, and promote healthy growth. Each type of plant has different pruning requirements. Before you can get started with topiary, you need a few tools, including:

For the closest, smoothest cuts, scissor-action pruners are best. Use anvil-action pruners for cutting larger areas. A hand pruner is ideal for trimming small twigs and branches, but lopping shears, or loppers, have large blades to cut ½- to 1.5-inch diameter branches in one stroke. If there are branches high above the ground that need to be cut, a pole pruner is needed. It’s a must-have for large topiary trees.

Best Practices for Topiary Trees

In the art of topiary, trees should be trained and pruned early in their life. Deciduous shade and flowering trees can be pruned when still small, and have one central trunk and five to eight lateral branches. The larger limbs should start at least five feet from the ground. Less pruning is needed for broadleaf evergreen trees. Examples such as hollies and magnolias can take on symmetric growth naturally. The pruning demands are higher early in the tree’s life, but annual pruning is not usually required on an annual basis.

Shrub care depends on the type. Shearing too many of them can lead to a monotonous landscape. It’s often a better practice to thin their growth. Azaleas should be pruned after a bloom to promote branching and more flower buds later. Hand pruners should be used to trim any diseased shoots.

Evergreen trees such as cedar, spruce, and pine grow symmetrically and don’t require much pruning. Junipers can be cut to reduce their size, but this will still retain their natural shape. You can cut size and branch length, but don’t prune more than half their foliage. Old juniper wood doesn’t spawn new growth.

Topiary Deserves Persistent Care

Topiary trees are trained early on in their life cycle. With proper maintenance and pruning, the plant should remain healthy, it’s growth will be restricted, and the quality of its foliage, flowers, and stems will be maximized. You should always have a pruning plan when it comes to topiary. A perfect, lasting sculpture can be created using the proper tools and techniques for the given plant or tree.

Featured Image credit: Jennifer Rafieyan / Flickr
In Post image credit: SherryRose  / Flickr