How to shape box topiary

Do it:

Jun, Jul, Aug, May

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


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.


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.

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