Any single stem plant, vine or ground cover can become a topiary. Choose a plant variety based on the intended location, indoors or outdoors, and the amount of light the plant will receive. Train the plant on a frame made of metal, plastic or another sturdy material to form the plant into the desired shape. Fast growing plants will require frequent trimming to maintain their form, so choose a slow growing plant if you prefer something that is low maintenance.
Rosemary plants that have a good root system and have healthy, dark green foliage, work well for creating topiary, according to Ohio State University. Rosemary topiary does best in a cool room with an average temperature of 18.3 degrees C. Keep the soil evenly moist. Soil that is too wet will cause root rot. Soil that is too dry will cause the plant to die, and once the rosemary foliage dries out, there is no saving this plant. Rosemary topiaries grown indoors may require regular misting or additional humidity to prevent the foliage from drying out. Grow the rosemary topiary in a sunny window, or if grown outdoors, in full sun. Make sure there is plenty of air circulation around the plant to prevent a disease known as powdery mildew.
Ivy is an evergreen creeping vine that forms a dense mat, according to Clemson University Cooperative Extension. Ivy is an easy plant to train into a variety of shapes because it is a vine, thus it is more flexible. Use ivy to create unique topiary outlines such as hearts, stars or other geometrical designs that ground covers or single stem plants would not work as well for. Keep in mind that ivies natural ability to fill an area quickly will mean more maintenance will be required to keep topiaries with open shapes looking good.
Ajuga is a ground cover plant that is perfect for topiary shapes that have been filled with sphagnum moss. The small roots of ajuga will quickly grow into the moss, covering the frame with plant material. This fast growing plant grows in full sun or partial shade, in well-drained soil, according to Clemson University Cooperative Extension. The dark green foliage has a bronze or metallic look to it, which creates additional interest. Small white, pink or blue flowers bloom in spring or early summer. Keep in mind that ajuga will grow into the ground around the topiary if allowed.
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