Specimen Guide: Topiaries


The newest arrivals in our greenhouse, fresh and sculpted topiaries are making a big impact this holiday season. Framing the doorstep, topping the mantel, or wrapped in Stargazer lights, this cultivated collection is a welcome addition to the winter home, offering long-lasting color and elegant shapes. With the simple addition of a ribbon-tied tag, they also make for the season's greenest gifts. Read on to learn more about some of our favorite topiary varieties.

Lemon Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa): With a citrusy fragrance and lime-green foliage, this small-scale evergreen is a refreshing sight around the house. Native to the Monterey Bay region of central California, lemon cypress prefers an abundance of direct sunlight-- 6 to 8 hours a day is ideal-- and temperatures from 55-65F. Its relatively small size makes it perfect for container gardens; in the warmer months, your cypress can be moved outdoors once the danger of frost has passed.

Ivy (Hedera helix): Native to Europe and western Asia, this traditional climber takes a new shape as a conical topiary. Fast-growing and evergreen, this hardy plant can thrive in Zones 4 through 9. Indoors, it should be placed in bright light to avoid discoloration and a leggy appearance. A low-maintenance house plant, its shapely, variegated leaves add year-round interest to container gardens.

Angel Vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa): Native to New Zealand, this ornamental variety is also known as maidenhair or lacy wire vine. A vigorous, climbing habit makes it ideal for use as a topiary; keep snips on hand to maintain the shape as it grows. Delicate yet durable, angel vine is also a resilient pick for indoor gardening; it prefers bright light and evenly moist soil conditions. Its round, glossy leaves pair with dark stems for a striking color contrast.

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