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Copper tubing as a form

Posted by
Veronica - 13
( on
Fri, Apr 14, 00 at 15:48

Hi! I've been dabbling in topiary for a couple of years now. Just small stuff in pots, usually scented geraniums, though I've had fun with shaping thyme and lavender plants. My question concerns one of my most recent projects; variegated lemon crispum pelargonium trained onto some thin copper tubing I shaped into an R. The tubing seems to be working quite well; nice and sturdy, and it was easy to work with. My concern is how it will age below the soil. Does anyone know whether it will fall apart in a couple of years?



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Copper tubing as a form

Hi, Veronica, I've seen some other posts about copper tubing, but usually as trellises or arbors. Try a whole-site search on "copper", or try searching the Garden Structures or Garden Accoutrements forums. Good luck!

RE: Copper tubing as a form

I use Heavy gauge copper wire in training a lot, I really like the greenish color it takes on, and copper breaks down much more slowly than steel. Even smaller thicknesses of copper are unchanged except for color after 12 years in my older plants.

RE: Copper tubing as a form

  • Posted by
    Janet Butts - 8b SW BC
    ( on
    Sat, Apr 29, 00 at 5:53

Veronica, how do you make a topiary of scented geranium? I bought one for the first time a few weeks ago, and it's still living in my front room until the weather is fit to put it out. But I was just planning to put it into a mixed container-- I'd much rather do something more decorative! So PLEEEEASE, what should I do next? It's only about 5" high so far.

RE: Copper tubing as a form

Hello, and thanks for the info, it's good to know the copper won't disappear half-way through training.

Janet; I discovered a type of scented geranium that is absolutely a dream to train. I believe it was 'lemon crispum' but you'll know it when you see it. It grows straight up with small ruffled leaves that look a bit like curly parsley attached almost directly onto the central stem. I recently found a lovely variegated type that is stunning mixed with the original green, especially. I just root them at the base of the form and tie them with raffia until they're wrapped about the form sufficiently to stay on their own.
Regular geraniums are a real effort to train because they have to be pinched back to be bushy. The best way I've found around this difficulty is to take a wire ring or chicken wire form made for holding spagnum moss (found mine in the crafts section). Then I rooted bunches of the cuttings in the form and pinched them back mercilously. This method works best for simple shapes.
If neither of the above methods will work for you, you could simply train your geranium into a standard, lollipop shape. Just pinch off the lower leaves as it grows until it's as tall as you like, then pinch until you get a nice round ball (or two or three!) on top. Some geraniums will need to be staked.

Good luck, and thanks again,


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