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Steps in topiary making

Steps in topiary making

Know about the steps in topiary making.

What is a topiary?

Topiary is an art of giving a desired shape to any live plant. A topiary maker tries to alter the shape of a plant into a bird, an animal, or any other interesting thing.

Also read: Ornamental shrubs list

Definition of topiary

(a). According to Oxford language standard English: “The art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes”.

(b). According to Cambridge: “The principle of apical dominance is manipulated for espalier creation, hedge building, or artistic sculptures”.

Also read: Ornamental climbers list

Image credit: Actual image JR Harris
(1). Example of suitable plants
(2). Techniques
(3). Materials and method
(4). Characteristics of plant
(5). Description of suitable plants for topiary making
(6). Method: Steps in topiary making?
(7). Selection of plant
(8). Preparation of soil media
(9). Training practice
(10). Pruning practice
(11). Management practices
(12). Application
(13). Famous examples

(1). Example of suitable plants

(I). Monterey cypress.
(II). Patula pine.
(III). Chinese thuja.
(IV). Casuarina.
(V). Divi-divi.
(VI). Bougainvillea spp.
(VII). Jasminum spp.

Also read: Ornamental flower plants for home garden

(2). Techniques

(I). Training.
(II). Pruning.

(3). Materials and method

List of materials:

(I). Pot.
(II). Plant.
(III). Soil media.
(IV). Copper wire.
(V). Secateurs.
(VI). Other ornamental materials.

Use one of the following pots:

(I). Cement pots.
(II). Plastic pots.
(III). Earthen pots.

  • Cement pots are best suitable for outdoor gardening.
  • Plastic pots are best suitable for indoor gardening.
  • Earthen pots are best suitable for small topiaries.

Also read: What is wintering in rose?

(4). Characteristics of plant

(I). Resistant to pests.
(II). Resistant to water stress.
(III). Dense foliage plants.
(IV). Leave should be attractive.
(V). Flower should have contrast effect.
(VI). Plant should be upright.
(VII). Plant should be slow growing.

(5). Description of suitable plants for topiary making

General description

5.1: Monterey cypress

Monterey cypress

Cupressus macrocarpa or Monterey cypress is a coniferous tree.


(I). It is an evergreen tree.
(II). Size is medium.
(III). Top is flat and irregular.
(IV).The scale like leaves are bright green in colour.

5.2: Patula pine

(I). P. patula is a coniferous tree.
(II). It has straight and cylindrical trunk.
(III). Sometimes it produces two or more stem.
(IV). It has round canopy.
(V). Leaves are grey-green or yellow-green.
(VI). Bark is grey-brown.
(VII). The pine cones are single or in small clusters.

5.3: Chinese thuja

  • Scientific name: Platycladusorientalis
  • Other names: Platycladis, Oriental thujha


(I). It is small and very slow growing.
(II). Foliage is bright green.
(III). It turns coppery during winter season.
(IV). Branches are short and upright.
(V). Cones are small.
(VI). It is very common in India.

5.4: Casuarina

(I). It is an evergreen shrub.
(II). Twigs are slender and green to grey-green.
(III). It bears numerous branches.

5.5: Divi-divi

(I). Divi-divi is a large shrub.
(II). Its maximum height is 7-9 m.
(III). It produces bipinnate.
(IV). The tree has nice canopy and clear sub-canopy.
(V). It develops into a low dome shape.

5.6: Bougainvillea spp.

(I). It can be given any shape.
(II). It has multiple colour flowers.
(III). It has thorns.
(IV). Plants may be evergreen or deciduous.
(V). It is known as paper flower.

5.7: Jasminum spp.

(I). Jasmine is a shrub as well as vine.
(II). The flowers have characteristic fragrance.
(III). It may be evergreen or deciduous.
(IV). It is a also a climber.

(6). Method: Steps in topiary making?

  • Selection of plant.
  • Preparation of soil media.
  • Training practice.
  • Pruning practice.

(7). Selection of plant

Select any local species of plant to make it an eye catching subject.
Select an ornamental species of plants.

(8). Preparation of soil media


Collect garden soil, farm yard manure, sand.

Ratio of garden soil, farm yard manure, and sand is 2:1:1.

(9). Training practice

Example: A bird’s shape topiary

Make a structure of bird using wire materials.
You can hire any sculpturist.

(10). Pruning practice

  • Prune over developed twigs or branches.
  • Prune diseased parts.
  • Maintain shape by pruning.
  • Don’t perform over pruning.

(11). Management practices

  • Fertilization.
  • Watering.
  • Pruning.

(12). Application

  • Home garden.
  • Public garden.
  • Government offices.
  • Sports stadium.
  • Terraces.

(13). Famous examples

(I). Jacques Cartier Park, Gatineau, Canada.
(II). Railton, Town of Topiary, Tasmania, Australia.
(III). T. elephants, Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.
(IV). Kingston Lacy, UK.
(V). Topiary bridge, Hidcote Garden.
(VI). Manor d’Eyrignac, France.
(VII). Botanical garden, Thiruvanthapuram, India.
(VIII). The Samban-Lei Sekpil in Manipur, India.
(IX). The terrace garden, Chandigarh, India.
(X). Chateau de Hautefort.


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