lily51
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Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:40 am
Location: Ohio, Zone 5

Anyone have topiary tips?

I bought a lemon cypress topiary at a box store a couple months ago. When I brought it home, my husband said he'd give it a month. He knows my history with house plants.( my green thumb only applies to plants outside)
It's sitting on my kitchen table next to south facing windows where it gets light, but not direct sun. It has to be watered often so the soil is kept moist.
I've trimmed it a couple times, it looks and smells great.
So now I'm thinking I may have found a niche for having plants inside....maybe I'm a topiary grower.
Anyone have experience with topiaries inside? Suggestions of plants, styles, growing tips? All would be appreciated. :D

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Anyone have topiary tips?

Hi
Don't water too much and don't leave water in the saucer.
To keep the plant from leaning it is best to keep turning it so it grows evenly. Better yet, set it about 8 inches under a strong light source like a fluorescent lamp.
Keep trimming it too keep its shape but it should not need a lot of trimming in winter
Look up as much information about the tree species and the conditions it likes, and mimic those conditions as much as possible. Lemon cypress is a cultivar of Monterrey Bay Cypress which has a narrow range of natural habitat.
As soon as it warms up enough, harden it off to be outside as much as possible. Trees in general are not house plants.
Feed and repot as needed
Check for insects frequently. The healthier the tree the more resistant it will be to insects.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

valley
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:25 am
Location: ranches in sierra nevada mountains California & Navada high desert

Re: Anyone have topiary tips?

Hi lily, Topiary? All my knowledge of topiary is from Father who enjoyed shaping hedges.. Your plant or tree is inside I see.
The only "Tip" I have is:
Your tree or plant has a metal frame or the woody parts of the tree or plant serve as the frame. In ether case the foliage should never be trimed back closer than 3" to the frame, 6" is preferable. If runners grow straight, they can be sewn back in and taken to an area that need fullness or rounding.
Once apon a time, for a time, I did trim hedges that were already shaped and formed, trimming too deeply was something to avoid. I've seen beautiful designs distorted by poor trimming.

I would love to see what you have, maybe you can post a picture.

Thanks for posting this.

Richard

lily51
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Posts: 735
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:40 am
Location: Ohio, Zone 5

Re: Anyone have topiary tips?

Thanks for the information on keeping the topiary in good shape. :) Didn't know about the amount of trimming to do...one can easily get carried away with the shears. That's one thing I enjoy with hanging baskets, perennials, and more, is to trim, trim, trim.
My goal is to put it out in the summer, but it won't survive outside over the winter here.
Anyone do topiaries with types of ivies, basils, etc?

imafan26
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Posts: 11617
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Anyone have topiary tips?

I have a couple of plants that I do topiary with. One is a Euphorbia Cotonifolia, ie. Caribbean copper plant. It is in the ground in my front yard and I just shape it into a ball. People keep saying they like it and want cuttings but I warn them that the tree, (shrub actually) is pruned and that it its natural shape and color is very different.

I have kept stone pines for Christmas trees. The one I had died, so I now have a rosemary that I have trimmed into a pyrimidal shape and it is my new Christmas tree. I haven't had a dead tree in my house since 1995. Cats and Christmas trees are a bad combination. I keep the living Christmas tree outside my living room window, safer for the tree and the cats.

I have also done some topiary with Mexican oregano. I also trim that into a ball. Ball forms are the easiest and do not require a wire frame.

I have made wreath and heart forms with rosemary and Australian Tea tree, but those were wired forms.

My dad made a peacock (with the tail folded not fanned) then lopped off the tail and made an ostrich with bougainvillea.

I tried to do a bunny but it did not work out. I forgot what I tried to do it with.

I tried to grow a living wreath on a wire frame with ivy but it was harder than I thought it would be. The ivy would not behave and lay flat. If I do that again I might try a different material. I have done succulent rings but they were candle rings and not meant to be hung. Succulents can get heavy in larger wreaths. I might try an herbal wreath someday.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

lily51
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Posts: 735
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:40 am
Location: Ohio, Zone 5

Re: Anyone have topiary tips?

Imafan
You are quite creative with plants. Oh to live in beautiful Hawaii.
I did a heart topiary with ivy in a container years ago, and it did okay, but leaves died after a while.
Try dried herbs for a wreath, it's fairly easy compared to others you have tried.I would have loved to have seen the peacock turned ostrich.
Rosemary topiaries show up here in containers at Christmas time, but they don't do well inside. It would be so nice to just have rosemary outside year round.

imafan26
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Posts: 11617
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Anyone have topiary tips?

Rosemary can stand pretty cold temperatures so you might be able to keep them out most of the time.

The inside of the topiary ball is pretty bald, all of the leaves will be on the outside. That happens a lot when people trim their hedges wrong and make the top wider than the bottom. The legs start to show and bare spots stay that way.

That being said, my E. cotonifolia, got a little too big for me and since it does have milky sap, I did a hard pruning and cut the ball down a lot. It is growing back now and it did take longer than normal to get started, but I think it will do o.k. I do think the plant you have will also make a difference in how forgiving it is.
Mexican oregano is a fast growing straggly shrub so it takes to hard pruning fine. Rosemary has periods where growth stops so it takes longer for it to grow back. This is my third E. cotonifolia, I rarely water or feed it and one had damage to the stem and it eventually rotted and so I had to take it out. The last one, I also provided very little care and I did a hard pruning, but it rained and the tips rotted and the plant died. This time around, I did water and feed it before I pruned it and I made sure there was no rain in the forecast other than the usual early morning rain so the tips had a chance to callous off. I did leaf a leaf or two and after about three weeks it is finally starting to show new growth.

I have a rhapsiolepsis, Indian Hawthorne, hedge. It came with the house and grows very slowly, I only have to prune it a couple of times a year. I did have to decrease its' width as it was starting to grow out more sideways. It did leave quite a big hole on the side and it is slowly filling in. It is taking years to do that.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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