How to Create a Spiral Topiary

Blossom Lady
Apr 23, 2021 06:18 AM
How to Create a Spiral Topiary

Gardening is a great way to flex your creative muscle because it gives you endless opportunity to play with color, shape and space. So it's no surprise that topiary is considered a true art form. Although you might feel that you don't have the skills or the time required to train more complex topiary shapes such as this ball-headed spiral form, the good news is that you can buy pieces that are ready-grown. Plant them in large pots to decorate the terrace or set them into a border creating an eye-catching focal point. But how to keep such works of art looking as good as the day you purchased them? Provided you don't allow the topiary to get too shaggy and overgrown, giving it a "hair cut" is a relatively quick and easy job. Trim box plants between late spring and the end of the summer to avoid frost damage. If you haven't got any topiary shears, a small pair of two- handed conventional shears or a rechargeable, battery-operated trimmer can be used instead. Save money by learning how to create a spiral topiary and provide your garden with a focal point that you can be proud of.

You will need

  • Topiary shears (a small pair of two-handed conventional shears or a battery-operated trimmer is also suitable.)
  • Piece of strong wire (e.g. Galvanized fencing wire)
  • Pliers
  • Sprayer containing rubbing alcohol for sterilizing cutting blades
  • Hand brush

Timely Advice

1. Remove dead matter 

Shake dead leaves from topiary interior and remove clippings as they may harbour fungal disease.

2. Water regularly

Box needs good drainage and cool, moist roots. Water pots routinely, even after rain. Red-tinged foliage is due
to stress from excess heat and dryness.

3. Avoid granular feed 

Box is surface rooting and granular fertilizer is too concentrated; it damages the roots and causes foliage scorch. Liquid feed or mulch with well-rotted manure instead.

5. Air and light 

Occasionally turn potted topiary if it is positioned against walls and hedges. This promotes even growth and prevent sections dying through lack of light. Good air circulation curbs diseases.

Step 1. Trim the base

How to Create a Spiral Topiary
Starting at the base, begin to cut back the new growth, following the original shape of the coils as closely as possible. Lift small potted topiary on to a raised surface to avoid bending down.

Step 2. Shape the head

How to Create a Spiral Topiary
Trim the ball-shaped head by eye initially. Walking around the topiary as you work allows for more accurate shaping and makes clipping less tiring. Cut out any dead parts.

Step 3. Check progress

How to Create a Spiral Topiary
Make a simple frame by bending a piece of fencing wire into a circle and twisting the two ends together with pliers. Moving it around the head, use it to help you shape the sphere.

Step 4. Sterilize tools

How to Create a Spiral Topiary
To lessen the risk of transferring diseases like box blight from one piece to another, sterilize shears in between plants by spraying the blades with rubbing alcohol. Also, dispose of any plant debris.

Topiary pruning tips

How to Create a Spiral Topiary
Pruners can get sticky from sap or resin when pruning, so using wet wipes can help to keep the blades from sticking. A good soak in white vinegar will also do the trick.
Pruning triggers new growth, so avoid pruning a month or so before your first frost date to avoid zapping tender new growth with cold temperatures.
When new growth emerges in spring, it’s okay to start pruning the spiral topiary again to maintain the shape.
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