How to Plant & Care for My Animal Topiary
Do I need to water the moss if I am not ready to plant?
No. Think of the moss as the “soil” in your topiary as it will not “grow” on its own. In fact, it is best if you keep the moss dry until you are ready to plant due to the fact that the moss has an amazing water retention quality and it may start to rot if there are no plants to utilize the water. However, you may choose not to plant your topiary at all.
Which plants do I use?
Plant Texture: Take a few moments to look at your animal, then look for plants, which best represent it. (fur, feathers, mane; smooth fluffy, scaly.) Picture your animal dressed in plants. Don’t forget the details: whiskers in kittens, stripes for bees, eye lashes on your giraffe. Plant color can create a pattern in your animal.
Scale: Smaller leafed plants work best on smaller animals. The idea is to compliment, not overwhelm the form.
Culture: It is best to use plants that like the same conditions. We tend to use succulents, which are drought tolerant. Rock garden type plants, which are low growing, make great topiary plants.
How do I plant my topiary?
Plant From Outside The Form
1. Soak the moss filled form in water and let drain
- If you have “cell pack” sized plants (3/4” to 1 ½”) you can poke a hole into the damp moss from the outside of the form and insert the plant plug.
- To Plant From Inside The Form
- Soak the moss filled form in water and let drain
- Snip the plastic connecting ties and open the form into it’s parts (this is exclusive to Green Piece Wire Art) and pull out some of the moss
- Remove a little of the soil from around the root ball and insert your plant into the form. Wiggle the leaves up through the wires. Repack the moss around the roots. When planted, reattach the form with plastic cable connectors
How do I water my topiary?
- Once you have your topiary planted, water with a good starter fertilizer (10-52-10) and keep in a partly shaded area out of the wind.
- Check for water daily, as you would a hanging basket or deck planter the smaller parts of your topiary will likely need water daily in the hot summer months. Fertilize every other week with a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer.
The ideal location for your topiary is in some sun, mostly shade. This will help prevent the plants on the topiary from getting too dried out. The smaller parts, arms, legs, etc., will dry out fastest. Be sure to check your topiary daily and really soak the plants that need it. It your topiary is all succulents, it can tolerate more sun and dryness.
What do I do with my topiary over the winter months?
Here you have a couple of options. If your topiary is small to medium in size, one option is to mulch in your item (using leaves/grass clippings) or wrap it in burlap. Or you can move it indoors to an unheated garage near a window. The key here is to protect the plants from the wind. If your topiary is too large to mulch in or move indoors, you can drive stakes into the ground and wrap it in burlap. Again, this is to prevent the wind from getting at the roots. Alternatively you can simply let your topiary stay as it is and replant in the spring, giving your item a fresh new batch of color and texture.