How to shape box topiary

Do it:

May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Takes just:

20 minutes

Trimming box topiary involves cutting back the fresh new growth of your chosen plant in late spring, to encourage the development of side shoots. These shoots can then be cut in mid summer to create a well-defined surface in whatever shape you wish. This will again cause sideshoots to grow and the plants can be given a final shaping and tidy up if necessary in early autumn.

You will need

  • Box topiary, secateurs, sheep-hand shears, large scissors or garden shears

Advertisement

Use secateurs scissors or single-handed shears to cut young topiary or intricate forms. Cut back the young current season's shoots when they have reached 8-10cm long. Cut back to 2 leaves from the base. Avoid cutting into the previous year's older growth.

For box hedges and edgings, trim the new growth using a pair of garden hand shears. For the top, make sure that you keep the blades horizontal to get a level surface. Cut back to a couple of leaves above where the current growth starts.

Advertisement

For complex topiary shapes, it's easier to make the shape out of chicken wire and secure it over the box plant. As soon as the growth pokes through the mesh of wires, clip into shape.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Can I prune a very tall conifer?

How to trim a conifer hedge

How to plant outdoors

Related offers

FREE P&P

Subscriber only content

Save on plants for shade

Enjoy free p&p, worth £4.95, on all plants for shade and groundcover at Sarah Raven. Simply enter the offer code at checkout to claim your discount.

Unlock now

Offer

Patio shrubs, plus free gift

Save £38 when you buy this collection of patio plants, including compact wisteria, philadelphus, and loropetalum, for just £21. You'll also receive 10 free giant freesia bulbs (worth £14.50) when you buy the collection.

Order now