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How to: make heart-shaped topiary

Photo - Colin Barlow

Topiary is the garden art of trimming plants into shapes. You can make geometric shapes like balls or cones, and animal shapes like peacocks or chickens - even elephants! Isla decided on a heart for her topiary treasure.

What you need:

large piece of paper to draw the heart

pot or container

potting mix

metal wire and wire tie

chicken wire

wire cutters or strong secateurs

plant ties

two small pots or one large pot of a small-leafed climbing plant, such as ivy, creeping fig or wax flower.


What to do:

Draw an outline of the heart on paper or cardboard to make a template.

Find an adult to help you bend the wire into shape. Make two hearts, following the template.

Join the two hearts together with wire spacers or wrap them in chicken wire, tied with wire tie. Bend the cut ends inwards to avoid scratches.

Don’t worry if the wire is not perfectly smooth - the plants will grow over and hide any wobbly bits!

Fill the pot with potting mix and place the metal frame in the centre of the pot.

Plant one or two plants, and weave the stems through the frame to cover as much as possible. Train at least one stem on each side of the frame. Tie to the frame with plant tie.

Water in well.

Continue to train the stems over and through the frame until it is covered. Give it an occasional trim with secateurs to keep it in shape.


More tips

You can find some wire frames at nurseries if you don’t want to make your own shape. The best plants to use are small-leafed plants. Isla chose a wax flower (Hoya carnosa). Read the plant label to find out if the plant needs to be in sun or shade.  


Text: Isla Barlow

About this article

Author: Isla Barlow