Plants Suitable for Topiary

The evergreen plants used in topiary must have compact or columnar growth habits, produce dense foliage with small leaves or needles, and be able to recover quickly from clipping.

Commonly Used Plants

The most commonly used plants used for topiary in temperate climates are:

  • Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)

    bay laurel

  • Box (Buxus sempervirens)


  • Holly (Ilex spp.)


  • Privet (Ligustrum spp.)


  • Shrubby honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida)

    shrubby honeysuckle

  • Yew (Taxus spp.)


Yew, box and shrubby honeysuckle are the most commonly used as they are much easier to train. Yew, in particular, is an excellent choice as it regenerates very quickly, so if you begin to tire of the shape or your chess-piece begins to look more like a Dalek, you can simply start again.

Ivies (Hedera) are very adaptable and may easily be trained to grow over a small wire frame or a moss-padded structure.