Written by Ivy
Jan 04 2023
Topiaries must be trimmed in the winter to remain in good condition. Here are a few more pointers for taking care of myrtle topiaries to get the best results. This article will explain the merits of myrtle trees as topiaries, the differences between them and bonsais, and how you can combine both artistic forms to create a stunning sculpture.
Myrtle topiaries (Myrtus communis) have lush verdant foliage and tiny white flower blossoms. The "common myrtle" is a shrub or small tree that can grow up to 16 feet tall and needs pruning to form a desired shape. The Mediterranean region and Asiatic nations are both native habitats for this plant. Myrtles make great indoor topiaries because they thrive in the right amount of sunlight and have fragrant blooms.
Myrtle is one of the most popular trees to grow as a topiary. With its dense foliage and abundance of small leaves, you can sculpt it into any shape you like. During the warmer months, the leaves and tiny flowers also give off a pleasant scent. If you give it a sunny indoor location, it will even continue to display its splendor during the winter.
Many people put them in bathrooms, sunrooms, or kitchens. The primary reason is that these areas provide sufficient humidity to keep the myrtle topiary happy. It's also important to make sure they get enough daylight so they can grow.
Now that you know more about the species and design, here are the steps to follow to grow a myrtle topiary.
Firstly, you'll need to decide what topiary design you want for your myrtle tree. The globe shape is one that many people tend to aim for, but there are other shapes you can try. Please feel free to look on Pinterest for inspiration. This is the first step because it will have an impact on subsequent ones, which is why we have it.
The appropriate container for your future design will need to be selected next. If you're aiming for a square topiary, you should find a similar shape for the pot. Some individuals make an effort to match the intended size as well, creating symmetry at the top and bottom. You should also ensure that your myrtle's roots enjoy sufficient drainage of water from the soil.
You can move on to the next step if your myrtle is already in a pot that you like. When you've chosen a new container for your topiary, you'll need to transplant the tree. For the roots to fit on the new pot, make sure they are cleaned and lightly pruned. Only do this in the early spring when new growth is present.
The foliage at the top of the majority of myrtle topiaries' single trunks. Place a thin stake against the main stem and tie them together from the soil to the base of where the topiary leaves will begin. It must be sturdy enough to hold up the trunk while still being small enough to protect the roots. As the trunk will swell, don't tie it too tightly.
With your design in mind, spend some time with your myrtle mentally mapping how you will prune it towards a topiary. If the foliage is already fully grown, you can begin to simulate branch trimming with your fingers to get a general idea of what you will do. To aid in your shape, you can also use a wire mesh.
If you have a young myrtle, you can spend time visualizing how you will shape the future foliage and cutting back to make the form you want. Even though it doesn't seem important right now, using this mental map will pay off in the long run. Even better, make a rough sketch of the various steps you intend to take.
You're almost prepared to begin planning your myrtle topiary. To ensure that you don't create any infected wounds, you need to thoroughly clean the pruning equipment. In a plant store, you can purchase sterilizing fluid. The blades should be as sharp as possible. Keep in mind to shield your hands as well.
Whether you already have a bush myrtle or a small tree, it's best to remove the lower branches. To the topiary foliage, you want a tidy stem to grow. To ensure that the young ones thrive until you have enough leaves at the top for your design, you must keep some of the leaves. The lower twigs can then be cut off after that.
There are two ways to shape the myrtle topiary crown. The first involves a tree that is already covered in thick leaves at the top. Simply clip the branches where their lengths are too long for your design. To make sure you're getting the right form, you must examine it from all sides. To increase the number of branches on the interior and make it denser and more alive, you'll need to keep pruning back new stems as they develop.
Myrtle topiaries should be kept in a room that gets at least eight hours of sunlight each day during the winter. The ideal temperature ranges from 58°F to 62°F at night and 68°F during the day.
"Water consistently," says Loi. "My pots become nicely mossed because of the additional moisture." The soil should be damp but not remain soggy, so good drainage is crucial. Heating systems can make the air and plants dry, so mist your plants frequently. Your plant was too dry for too long if the leaves curl or fall. Throw it away because myrtles rarely survive after they have completely dried out.
No matter where you put it, you need to supply a high humidity level. Air humidity levels are typically highest in bathrooms, kitchens, and sunrooms. In other areas, you should mist the vegetation or use a humidity tray.
Myrtle topiaries should be kept between 58 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. As the tree will then rest and enter dormancy, it's okay if it drops during the winter.
You can feed the myrtle every one to two weeks in the spring and summer with an NPK ratio of 10-15-10. Slow down in the fall to once a month, but don't feed it in the winter so it can rest.
Make sure to continue pruning during the growing season. In order to encourage more branches and leaves and to allow it to spread out once more, you can also prune back to the boundaries of your topiary shape. To make sure it doesn't become distorted, you'll need to exercise patience and care.
Pruning has a positive effect on myrtles. Since winter is a slower time for foliage production, spring and summer are the best times to train and shape plants.
Myrtle topiaries can be shaped through pruning. Before you cut any branches, start by picturing the shape that you want for your plants. (You can see the shape more clearly by using a wire mesh.) Because you don't want to introduce fungi or bacteria into the branches, always use clean pruning shears.
Depending on the plant's maturity, you can start pruning by first removing the lower branches, leaving some. In order to create a more dense arrangement, shape the crown by pruning back branches to match your design.
Myrtle topiaries will grow in the shape you envision if you start pruning them during the first few growing years.
Bonsais are also artforms, where they represent miniature versions of trees in the wild. You can use a variety of bonsai styles, including informal, formal, cascading, and many more. A topiary is somewhat akin to a formal upright with a straight trunk and foliage at the top. However, the topiary has a more unnatural design that's forced into a shape you won't usually find in nature.
In effect, the two art forms have one principle that clashes. Topiary features a design you won't find in the wild, whereas bonsai imitates trees in a natural way. That does not, however, preclude the possibility of it. Since art is a creative means of expressing yourself, it makes sense.
So if you want to, you can grow your myrtle bonsai as a miniature version of a full-sized topiary. It still has an official upright style, and it comes in a chic bonsai pot. You can certainly accomplish it and demonstrate it to your loved ones. We've seen a lot of people do it online, so we're tempted to try it ourselves.
As a general reference, make sure to read our comprehensive guide to caring for bonsai trees for additional advice on maintaining your myrtle topiary.
We'd like to address some common inquiries regarding myrtle topiaries before you depart. If you've previously looked for these answers, hopefully these will be useful.
You decide how tall you want your myrtle topiary to get. As a general guide, most people go up to 5", sometimes more. As a bonsai, you may want to keep it less than 3" if you want to keep it to the ancient art form. It also depends on how much room you have in the area and how much attention you want to draw to it.
Yes, myrtle trees prefer high humidity because it keeps the leaves a deep green color in hot, dry climates. However, you must make sure that the combination of water droplets and direct sunlight doesn't cause the foliage to burn. So you might substitute a humidity tray.
Water, drainage, sunlight, fertilizer, and sunlight are the five most important factors in taking care of your myrtle topiary. You should make sure there is enough of each during the growing season, particularly nitrogen. This nutrient aids in the growth of more leaves, increasing the density of the foliage.
Myrtle topiaries grow vigorously in the spring and summer, which makes these the best seasons to prune them. You'll need to maintain the shape while also promoting the growth of new stems and leaves. Additionally, during the slower growth seasons of autumn and winter, you can observe the structure.
Since myrtles are evergreens, they typically don't naturally lose their leaves. The tree will quickly perish if you allow the roots to dry out. Additionally, if you're keeping it indoors, you might want to give it more sunlight. Pests or illnesses might also be present. The tree may be losing leaves for the first two to three months after transplanting if it is under stress.