Topiaries as Focal Points

Borrow one of Epcot’s most popular planting designs to decorate your garden, with tips from Eric Apen of Apenberry’s Gardens in College Park.

Placement and Light Conditions

It’s no accident that Epcot’s flower and garden show topiary display is near the entry—that’s where this classic design element is usually placed. “Topiaries add structure and formality, particularly at a front entrance in a decorative planter,” says Apen. “One thing to keep in mind is that the type of topiary you choose is a good match for the light conditions where you’ll be placing it.”

Plant Choices

The topiaries at Epcot are made of moss grown over a shaped form, but that’s not how home gardeners usually do it since moss doesn’t last long in Central Florida’s summer heat. “Ivy that’s affixed to a topiary form is more shade tolerant than some of the other commonly-found choices like eugenia and juniper, which do well in full sun,” Apen says. 

Container Selection

Choose a planter that’s larger in scale than your plants. With a topiary, you should keep it trimmed back, so it’s best to use a container that is the right scale for the plant at the time you plant it. A good rule of thumb is for the topiary to be 1 1/2 times the height of the planter. 


“One of the biggest things people forget is to water regularly; drip irrigation is a good solution for that,” explains Apen. Topiaries do require maintenance beyond watering, and Apen advises selecting an easy shape like a cone or ball (shown above) if you don’t want to invest time in careful pruning.

Categories: Gardening