Essential Tips for the Care and Upkeep of Topiaries

A grouping of topiaries outside the entrance to a garden shed.
Photography by Loi Thai

Text by Holly Seng

Beloved for their elegant yet whimsical charm, nothing signals the transition into spring quite like topiaries. Given the season’s unpredictable temperature fluctuations, their ability to thrive both indoors and out makes topiaries an even better fit for this time of year.

A sunroom with a collection of topiaries.
Photography by Loi Thai

“The fact that you can grow them indoors and have a little piece of nature inside is really special,” says Loi Thai, founder of Tone on Tone, a Maryland-based residential interior and landscape design firm.

A topiary on a pedestal.
Photography by Loi Thai

These verdant accents impart an air that is at once formal and fanciful, making them a versatile option for any space. Style larger plants as a stand-alone statement piece, or assemble a collection of smaller varieties displayed en masse—Loi’s favorite way to make a striking impact.

A collection of topiaries displayed en masse on a table.
Photography by Loi Thai

Regardless of the presentation, sunlight is a must for topiaries, and they should be brought inside when the temperatures are below the mid-40s. “I always choose the sunniest window in the house—usually, the south-facing window or west and never in a northern-facing window because that doesn’t get a lot of light,” says Loi.

A living room with a trio of topiaries displayed in the window.
Photography by Loi Thai

Hydration is also essential. Water plants frequently and avoid putting them near heat sources, such as a radiator. “I water them every two to three days in the winter, and during the summer, I water them every day,” says Loi.

Loi Thai trimming his topiary.
Photography by Tom Troeschel

An occasional trim of the smaller outer branches—about every one to two and a half months—ensures the topiaries maintain their manicured look. The cuts should be minimal to avoid over-trimming. “Every time you trim a topiary, two buds will grow out,” says Loi. “The more trimming you do, the fuller it gets.”

An entry flanked by two topiaries.
Photography by Loi Thai

Whether they’re displayed on your kitchen counter or flanking your entry, topiaries add a polished, playful look to your home. “[Topiaries] really bring the garden inside,” Loi says. “They bring life into any interior.”

For more, follow Loi on Instagram at @loithai.

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