Although topiaries are available for purchase, it's rewarding and fun to construct and grow one yourself. Topiaries can be trained from any shrub well-suited to trimming, like hollies, ivies, boxwood and rosemary. Flowering plants like lantana, fuchsia and hydrangea also work well for topiaries. Once it's been completed, a topiary -- rosemary or otherwise -- is a formally trimmed plant, most commonly seen in the shape of a lollipop.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Young potted rosemary plant
- Flexible plastic plant ties
- Soluble 10-10-10 fertiliser
Place a stake beside the plant and bury it in the potting soil. Tie the stake to the plant, using the ties. The rosemary plant should grow straight up, to a height of 12 inches to 36 inches.
Maintain your rosemary topiary over the next several weeks. Cut off any wild shoots that grow from the plant. Check the ties often to make sure they're secure, and check for bugs living inside the ties.
Turn the plant often. Feed it every four to five waterings.
When the plant has reached its ideal height, form the top of your rosemary topiary. Before you start, decide on the shape you want. You might choose between one-ball, two-ball and three-ball standards. Other choices are pyramids and tree shapes. Once you've decided, pinch growth off the trunk below your chosen design, and trim the body of your topiary.
Train the rosemary, using careful pruning methods, during the next several months. Always pinch or cut at the nodes (joints) of the plant, so you can control the direction of the growth. Shoots growing upward will grow more quickly, so take that into account as the rosemary grows into its topiary design.
Trim your rosemary topiary on a regular basis. Topiaries should be trimmed quite often, to keep them dense. Prune your topiary whenever you notice it getting shaggy, but trim only until it meets the shape requirements.
Tips and warnings
- Rosemary is best suited to a relatively cool location. Keep the topiary in direct, bright light with good circulation.
- During the winter, maintain humidity around your rosemary topiary by using a pebble and water tray.
- Allow soil to dry between waterings, to keep the plant healthy.
- Consistently trim the rosemary topiary to keep it from flowering.
- Low light will cause your rosemary topiary to be thin and sparse, so never move the plant to a dark corner.
- Do not overwater the topiary.
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