Have you heard about succulent topiary? It is form of horticultural practice which include pruning and shaping succulents into a meaningful shape (or any shape)
You might have to do those over some years so that you could create three dimensional masterpieces. Though it sounds like a complicated process, it indeed is not. It is a simple process which you could do.
What is succulent topiary?
Topiary is one of the oldest forms of sculpture. To form this, it is essential to do some pruning along with some shaping.
You could use succulents for this purpose as any other plant. It would be a great starter pick to make an aesthetically beautiful garden with a little care.
Apart from that, the majority of succulents tend to grow compact and that characteristic makes them a perfect fit for this purpose.
If you are someone who wishes to create a succulent topiary garden, you need to simply adhere to the following guidelines.
If you put a little effort in while being patient when creating this, you could make the dream happen which you had always thought of owning a succulent topiary.
Is there any difference between succulent topiary vs other topiaries?
There is no major difference between succulent topiary vs other topiaries. But succulent topiaries have their own style.
Since succulents do not grow tall in many cases, you have to choose the correct design for them. But with succulents, you can use different colors and shape to build a beautiful topiary.
Why do you want a succulent topiary?
It is more like a container garden, but with an added twist to it. It is a treat to watch them when they have grown to their best potential.
You need to provide a little water for them and on top of that you could easily care for them.
You could consider creating a succulent topiary if you want to expand the garden aesthetically in a fresh and engaging way.
It could consist of an extensive array of numerous colors and with fleshy leaves which would carry a distinguished look along with geometric shapes.
Different topiary ideas / (mention different shapes/ideas for topiary)
This totally depends on your imagination. If you can build a good structure and color match with different succulents, you can get a beautiful succulent topiary no matter what.
To just give you an idea you can try to build
- Animal topiary (rabbit, cat, hippo etc)
- Human topiary (princes, a man, maid etc)
- Geometric shape (pyramid, circle etc)
- Christmas tree
What you need to make a succulent topiary
A great idea or a shape
First of all you need a simple idea to build a topiary. You should start with simple and build your way to complex shapes.
Just browse the internet for a nice shape and start building it using the following steps.
Good place to keep it
Next you need to decide where to keep the topiary. If your design is small you can decide the place later. But your design is bigger and better to decide the place earlier.
When deciding the location you should consider the light condition of that palace. Although succulent can be adapted to sunlight, try to avoid direct sunlight for more than 6 hours per day.
Also if you have pets such as cats try to decide places where they can not each easily. Otherwise they might accidentally destroy your piece of art.
The tool kits
You may need
- Topiary frame
- Chicken wire or rust proof wire
- Sphagnum moss
- Decorative container where the opening should be slightly broader than the diameter of the topiary base
- Soil type (gravel or sand)
- Wire cutters
- succulent cuttings
When you select a frame for the succulent topiary, it is necessary to have the following features.
- It has to have sturdiness
- Adequate room to plant all the cuttings
If you wish the topiary to stand on its own, it is crucial that you provide a base which is heavy and broad enough to support the weight of the plants and for the planting medium as well.
There is an extensive array of shapes that you could choose from.
If you are still not satisfied and if you require more inspiration, you could make a visit to a local lobby store and you could gain more ideas on that.
Chicken wire or rust proof wire
You need this wire to do the dinding of the frame or secure the plants.
Moss to fill up the gaps and mix with soil
You might not need decorative containers for every topiary. If you decide to build a christmas tree topiary you need this type of container.
You have to always keep in mind that you need to keep the moss moist so that you can get the best and more reliable results.
When you water the topiary, make sure that you water it from the top or if not, you could extend a drip tube to the cone top.
Consider that moss is withering during shorter periods such as within one week’s time.
That would be okay with the succulents as they could absorb moisture from the leaves which has a conservation of water.
You could skip in watering the succulents. In case if you apply fertilizers for them, it would stimulate a vigor which could even impact on the construct of the crisp geometry of the succulent topiary.
To use with decorations and setups.
You can choose different types of succulents for topiary with different colours. Types and colors of the succulent depend on the design you choose.
Step by step guide
First you need to select the plants for your topiary.
Succulent could be a great pick to make a topiary since they could keep a compact form of your topiary.
As such you need to make sure that you select the succulents which grow compact to the best as they grow.
Those plants would help to maintain the shape of the topiary you wish to have without having plants which would just grow taller or broader which could disrupt the topiary structure.
You could obtain cuttings from someone who is growing the succulents’ types. Alternatively, you could purchase them directly from any store.
In case if you wish to use plants, which have been grown in pots, you need to clip off the stems that you could use for your future topiary whilst keeping the pots.
Then they could grow rapidly into fully grown plants. However, you need to take off the leaves which are at the base from your cuttings.
When you remove them, make sure that you remove them from about 1 inch (2.5cm) from the stem and you may use those for the frame.
Moreover, the most recommended way to start this off with the healthy plants is to gather all the succulents which you wish to have prior to using them for a topiary.
When you do that, it will be adequate time for the leaves and for the cuttings to become callous.
Second, you need to arrange the topiary frame.
To do this, you need to arrange some elements which you could arrange simply. You need to make sure that you have arranged a sphagnum moss which is long fibered.
Alternatively, you could mix the moss and potting soil too.
After that you need to arrange the monofilament (fish line) , a pair of gloves and some light floral wire for this purpose.
It is best to use sphagnum moss as it has a great potential to retain water and it is easy to compact too.
Apart from that, it is best to use sphagnum moss as it could even expand which would help to hold the cuttings and small plants in space until they start forming roots.
This is the time you need to kick off the project. First you need to soak the sphagnum moss in water whilst making sure it is saturated.
Do not forget to wear gloves whilst you are involved, with the frame and filling it with the moss.
If you think the spaces in the frame are too broad and moss cannot fit in it, you could simply use a light floral wire and form a netting that will help to place the moss stabilized in the place.
You should make sure that moss is packed very tight as it is crucial to put this up firmly. You need to make sure that you use a small quantity of sphagnum moss at the time and push it in until it’s almost hard when you touch it.
In other words, it should not be possible for you to make any impact for this when you touch it.
When you fill the frame, you could just ignore if you witness any un neat look with additional pieces of moss hanging out.
The reason for that is because you should take more steps which would make the topiary look fantastic just like you acquired it from a store.
Fourthly, you need to plant the succulents. This is the time where you could be a little creative. To do this, you could use a pen or a pencil and form holes in the sphagnum moss.
After that you could plant your cuttings. When you do this, you will realize that it is tough to stick the pen into it.
As such you should move faster and push your succulent stem into an opening once you could move the pen.
You could spot the opening for a few seconds before the moss gets tightened up around the stem to make it stable.
Make sure that you work with the largest cutting fist and fill the space between them whilst using the small ones.
Moreover, you could use plants from an extensive array of plants to get color and a diversified shape collection which would help to give an attractive texture for the topiary.
If at all, you may even use a single array of succulents to the whole frame as well. Once you plant your topiary, it will take about two to three weeks to form roots.
Further, keep in mind that you need to place the topiary in a bright sunny area and avoid watering them frequently.
Once you spot the sphagnum moss is starting to wither, you could see how they turn into a lighter color.
When they turn lighter in color, that is an indication which gives you that you need to resume watering them.
Finally, you need to take care of the form you made.
Over time, you could see how the succulent topiary grows. You could fill in over the vacant gaps within approximately about two months Further you need to apply water for your frame .
When you water make sure that you water them once a week and not more than two minutes per each watering until the moss becomes saturated.
In addition to the above, you need to add fertilizers diluted with water once every two month and that will help the succulents to stay healthy and to maintain their wellbeing.
When you spot, the succulents are growing in such a way which would attribute the topiary to become untidy in its shape, you need to consider pruning them whilst using a pair of pruners.
You could further snip any long plants. It will help you to fill the vacant areas in the same topiary. Other than that, you could use those to resume a new project too.
Care and maintenance
Make sure that you keep the moss moist and that will reward you with greater outcomes. When you water the topiary, make sure that you do it from the top.
If not, you could extend a drip tube to the cone top as well. In case if you see the moss withers during a shorter period such as in a weeks’ time, you could just ignore that as they could depend on the leaves moisture which they have conserved.
Refrain in fertilizing them frequently, unless chances are that they could stimulate the succulents to grow rapidly and may even attribute the misshapen the structure of the topiary.
Expose the topiary for full sunlight. If there are too intense summer conditions, make sure that you protect the topiary from those unhealthy conditions.
Moreover, do not expose them for direct sunlight in the afternoon as well.
In addition to that, if you feel like only one side is getting adequate sunlight and not the other side, you need to make sure that you rotate it and make sure that the whole setup gets an even amount of sunlight.
On the other hand, you need to protect the topiary during colder weather conditions as well.
In case any frost is predicted, you need to provide shelter by bringing them indoors and even locating them in a greenhouse. If at all, you could even plant them with hardy succulents.
It is very important that you prune them on a constant basis. Chances are that they could become leggy.
If you spot any of those, you need to trim them off and insert the cuttings into the vacant areas of the topiary.
Unless you could use those to create a new topiary itself. Further if you wish you could use those to pot as well.