Topiary Buxus & Lonicera

mudgeMarch 7, 2003

I have a 25cm tall buxus in a pot which is about 3 years old. When it was very young, I cut a couple of it's lower branches in an attempt to encourage a ball. As a complete novice to this art, what do I do now? Do I continue to decrease the number of branches and will it eventually grow tall as I have seen in garden centres? I also have a tiny Lonicera plant that I would like to "standardise" and wish to know how to do this. Thank you in anticipation.

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Bryan_FGS(W Sydney)

To make a ball you have to keep snipping the tips of new shoots so it will become thicker, then you can start shaping it until it forms a ball. If you want it to be tall just prune it a little higher each time you prune it, it will eventually become taller over time. For a standard, try and let a single stem grow upwards and nip off any side shoots until it reaches towards the height that you want it to be. As it grows taller, nip off any shoots that grow from the bottom. You might want to stake it now, so it will have support while it is growing , otherwise it might flop over.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2003 at 11:36PM
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julieNY(Long I sland,NY)

I have just come here from New Zealand. I can assure you lonicera is the perfect topiary plant for you in your climate conditons - in the Waikato I had to trim my lonicera topiaries regularly with electric hedgetrimmers to keep mine under control in my traditional potager garden where they enjoyed well-manured soil. They are just so marvellously vigorous. I had some in pots and some in the ground. The ones in pots need careful attention as they are such gross feeders, and really regular watering. I used slow release fertiliser (Osmakote granules) and I also used to feed them regularly with worm tea (Of course you do have a worm farm, don't you!!) About standardising - I find it really helps if you do not pinch out all of the side shoots up the stem while you are growing it to the desired height. If you leave some it helps to strengthen the stem and make it really sturdy. In New Zealand's windy climate, you MUST plant a stake, as high as the eventual finished stem height, next to the stem and tie the stem into it at intervals to keep it growing straight (don't strangle your growing stem though-I found nylon panty-hose strips perfect because they have some 'give' but are virtually indestructible...I always had a handful in the pocket of my gardening shirt.) Then just keep an eye on it, nipping out most of the side shoots as you wait for it to attain its final height. Then start allowing the shoots to bush out, nipping them out as Brian describes, until you have a nice full shape. then you can nip out your leading shoot as well. There are lots of NZ natives which can be topiarised too, I had success with kowhai, pittosporums, and was starting on hybrid manuka, even fuchsia. Buxus is great of course but even in NZ is a bit slower growing than lonicera - but if it's fed well and watered regularly it grows at 3 times the rate in the UK. And grows so easily from cuttings it's almost embarrassing! So of course does lonicera - when I did a trim session I always used to plunge a few slips into the ground in a shady spot so I had plenty of new littlies coming on - they make fabulous gifts.I am looking forward to getting started here - once I get my head around the different climate requirements which I know will make a great difference to the rate at which things mature... by the way buxus can die off very suddenly and leave you disappointed after years of work; at least with lonicera the time scale is considerably reduced bearing in mind though that lonicera is not such a long-loved plant).

    Bookmark   March 11, 2004 at 1:01PM
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    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 5:50PM
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