To maintain and even enhance the appearance of the sculpture some attention is necessary.

If you are planting or potting up your freshly made topiary sculpture straight away be careful to keep the rootballs together, during the planting (using Rootgrow is also recommended). There is usually more than one plant used for each sculpture, so there may be several rootballs inside the plant pot provided. The roots will continue to grow over time, and will knit together to form one large rootball which is easier to handle in the future.

Position - Place in a situation with full sun or partial shade. If the site is very cold it may be necessary to wrap the pot with hessian or bubble wrap as the roots will be very exposed to freezing conditions. In very hot conditions (30’c+) Ligustrum can close down and stop growing.

Watering - During summer (growing season) it is important to ensure that the plants do not dry out. Watering should take place every day, preferably during the evening and care should be taken to avoid wetting the leaves. If the pots are standing in trays make sure that they do not continually contain water as this may cause rotting of the roots. A mulch of ornamental gravel can help maintain water in the compost.

During autumn and winter, if the plant has access to rain, only water if there is a shortage.

Feeding - Feeding is very important in the growing season. The most convenient method of applying this is a slow release fertilizer applied in the spring.

Pests and Diseases - Insects such as aphids or scale insects can be picked off if you catch them early, rather than having to spray with chemicals. Likewise leaf spots, honey fungus and wilt can cause problems. Be vigilant and act early to prevent problems increasing.

Pruning - Prune 4 to 6 times a year, during the spring and summer.  When the extension growth is about 2-3cm long cut it back, following closely to the shape of the frame. Use sharp garden shears for this operation. You can pinch this tender new growth out with your fingers, or cut it with kitchen scissors, secateurs or garden shears. Clip often to keep the shape and because “growth follow the knife!” - Never allow the new growth to get woody. Also clip off any white flowers (or berries) when they appear, as these take strength away from the plant.

Re-potting - Every 2 years it is advisable to re-pot the plants. Mix new compost with slow release fertilizer and use this mix to put around the root ball, sides and below. It is preferable to use a loam based compost such as John Innes No 3.

Brown areas – Very occasionally it is necessary to unwind the brown branches from the frame and to remove them with secateurs. The vegetation close to this area will regenerate. Allow this to grow and when the lengths of new vegetation will cover the area exposed reattach them to the frame, twisting them in as you are able. The quick growing nature of ligustrum means that the full shape and beauty are promptly restored.

These instructions should enable you to keep your sculpture in good condition and give you pleasure for many years to come.

* All parts of the plant can cause severe discomfort if ingested.*