create a beautiful ivy topiary

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ivy topiary grouping

I am a sucker when it comes to ivy topiaries.  I could purchase every single one in sight and still need more.  But these beautiful plants could cost a pretty penny! Well, believe it or not, these gorgeous additions to the foliage of your home are really quite simple to create on your own (even for a self proclaimed brown thumb homeowner like myself)  

What You'll Need:
•Heavy container, such as terra-cotta or stone
•Saucer for the pot (optional)
•1 (2-quart) bag potting soil
•Handful of time-release fertilizer
•1 (6-inch) potted ivy or 2 (4-inch) potted ivies with long trailing stems. I prefer easy-to-grow English ivy (Hedera helix)
•Topiary form or wire frame
•Raffia - it stretches with the plant and will even break if ivy is too big (or you can use string)
pot with ivy

Place a small square of window screen (or panty hose) over the pot's drainage hole, and then fill halfway with potting soil. Mix in time-release fertilizer according to package directions. Slip plant from container, center it into your decorative one, and then fill with soil as needed.

Fit a topiary form into the pot with care. Make sure that it is secure. Water well; adding more soil if necessary to weigh it down. Separate trailing ivy stems so that all sides of the pot are covered.

ivy tie

Wrap one runner around a wire - never force stems because they may snap. Wrap a second runner around the same wire in the opposite direction. Repeat to cover all wires. Don't jump from one wire to the next with the same runner as you risk losing form. Tie stems to the frame with raffia.

topiary complete
The prettiest topiary is one where the size of the plant's leaf is in scale with your wire form.

Large-leafed ivy will fill in a delicate form quickly, but will also mask the shape of the form. Whereas, small-leafed miniature ivy looks dense and full until you begin winding it onto a large obelisk form.

Invest in a coated or painted wire form, they don't rust and can last for years.

Stick with classic forms.

Snip leaves as necessary to keep the topiary tight and compact.

Select a weighty container. Stone or terra-cotta work best, but you can also add stones to the bottoms of other pots.

Keep things in scale when choosing a pot, the inserted frame should be about twice the height of the container.

topiary circles
What Ivy Needs:
Water: Potted ivy needs good drainage and should never be left in standing water. Allow the upper inch of soil to become dry to the touch before watering.
Light: Ivy needs some sun to grow and prefers the medium to bright filtered light found at the north- and east-facing windows. Avoid direct sun.
Food: Feed once a month with a liquid fertilizer according to package directions. Apply to soil only.
No Pests: Scale and spider mites are the most common culprits. Keep plant clean by removing dead leaves from soil surface. Place it in the shower every so often and rinse with warm water to remove dust. If insects appear, spray with insecticidal soap.
Pruning: Keep on it. Ivy plants will become bushy and the topiary will lose its shape unless snipped and clipped. With clean, sharp pruners, clip just above where the new branch meets the stem.

Easy, right? 

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