How to Build a Summer Topiary

With endless possibilities for creating a unique topiary, this is a wonderful afternoon project for friends or family that takes two to three hours to assemble.

Here’s a fun project for a warm afternoon. Plus, 10 proven winners for a summer topiary

This is a wonderful afternoon project for friends or family that takes two to three hours to assemble (plan to do step 1 a day ahead). If possible, build it where you intend to display it—it will not only be heavy, but also top-heavy and awkward. Settle on a theme, choose a container and have fun. The possibilities truly are endless: herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, colour, fragrance, Christmas, spring bulbs and sweet peas are just a few ideas. You’ll need a wire frame for a moss basket, moss, a tree branch 10 cm/4 in. or larger in diameter or a fence post, a plastic pot (minimum 1 gallon), chicken wire and heavy-gauge wire to attach the basket to the post, one bag ready-to-use cement mix, container soil mix, plants, polymer gel (optional), and a decorative pot to place the topiary in.

Topiary base

1. To create the base of the topiary, secure the post in the plastic pot with the ready-mix cement. Allow it to set for at least 24 hours. The cement base provides enough weight to balance the top of the topiary.

Topiary shape

2. Place a wire frame basket upside down on the post. Enclose the bottom of the basket by attaching chicken wire to the underside with wire. The basket is now ready to be stuffed with moss and soil.

Topiary contents

3. Place a layer of moss on the bottom and up the sides of the basket. Add soil (to reduce the need for watering, mix 10 mL/2 tsp. of polymer gel into the soil mix before you plant). Begin adding plants, poking the roots through openings in the wire and into the moss. Work your way up the basket, layering moss, soil and plants as you go. A narrow-diameter stick will help to squeeze the moss into place. Maintain the basket by fertilizing with a liquid 4*2*3 fertilizer every 10 days. Deadhead as needed and trim for shape.

Top 10 Proven Winners for a Summer Topiary

Use a 35-cm (14-in.) wire basket and randomly plant one of each plant listed for a summer masterpiece. The post should be a minimum 1 m (3 ft.) tall, as it will cascade. • Angelonia ‘Angelface Blue Bicolor’ Proven Winners • Scaevola ‘New Wonder’ • Calibrachoa superbells ‘Tequila Sunrise’ • Oxalis ‘Charmed Wine’ • Euphorbia ‘Diamond frost’ • Argyranthemum molimba ‘Helio Double Pink’ • Nemesia sunsatia ‘Pear’ • Nemesia sunsatia ‘Mango’ • Supertunia ‘Double Peppermint’ • Lantana ‘Tropical Fruit’