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Buxus & Topiary

What is Topiary?

Topiary is the art of training and clipping plants to develop them into recognisable shapes, these range from simple balls and cones to more complex shapes such as animals and characters. The plants used in topiary are usually evergreen trees and shrubs with small leaves or needles such as Buxus semperviren (Box Hedging), Laurus nobilis (Bay Laurel), Ilex sp. (Holly) or Taxus baccata (Yew Tree). With some skill and patience, you could use Ivy (Hedera sp.) to cover wire framed sculptures.

We stock a variety of topiary in our Garden Centre and have a limited selection available online for home delivery. 

Is Topiary easy to grow & maintain?

As topiary is mainly made from trees and shrubs they are amongst one of the easiest plants to grow and are very hardy. The plants chosen for topiary are very slow growing, this allows for the plants to become very dense; which makes them great for clipping into different shapes. Once established in a garden they will need very little additional water and require minimal trimming once or twice a year to maintain their shape. Most home gardeners do not grow their own plants from scratch as these take many years to establish and get to a shape-able size, but with such a variety available they are affordable to buy an established plant.

Top Topiary Tips

  • Prune twice a year, once in Spring and the second in late Summer.
  • Use a pair of pruning shears, ones with a swivel head are great.  Avoid using secateurs as these can be less sharp and due to their length will be harder to evenly shape the plant.
  • If your plant is planted in your garden get down low to its level so that you can see the shape better, check it from all angles to make sure you are getting the desired shape.
  • Do not go for the final length in your first cut, take it down part way so you start to see the shape you are after and then once happy take it in tighter for a closer cut.
  • Feed in Spring after your trim, do not feed after your Summer trim to avoid too many new shoots as these may get damaged by the first frosts.

...don’t be afraid,
gardening is fun so get stuck in!


Buxus plants will grow in most well drained garden soil, although Buxus prefer slightly more lime-based ground they will survive in more acidic soil and grow well.


The ideal site will have deep fertile soil with good drainage, the site should be partially shaded however it will grow well in full sun. It doesn’t like permanently water-logged soil and therefore is suited well to growing in containers. Most plants are hardy and will tolerate hard frosts, hot sun and strong winds.


Generally speaking as long as the growing conditions and nutrients are good you shouldn’t have too many problems. Not many animals will eat these plants unless no other food source is available. There are various diseases that affect plants where the leaves go brown or black, these can be controlled by fungicide and are usually a result of poor drainage. Brown/Coppery leaves can be a sign of lack of nutrients so your plants will need a feed. Cream/Yellow tipped leaves are usually signs of stress, especially in younger plants; these will turn green again once optimal growing conditions are met.