made with love: potted topiary


I’ve been dreaming of training a creeping houseplant to grown along a frame for years, thinking that it was going to require the ultimate crazy green thumb skills. Good news, it doesn’t. In fact, once I had all of the supplies assembled, I was done the basic frame in a flash, with no missteps along the way. Now I’m just a little bit closer to achieving my goal of turning my apartment into a secret garden/alice in wonderland/edward scissorhands mash up!

CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!


What you’ll need:

– 2 small trailing plants, if in doubt, ask your local garden center for recommendations (I used muehlenbeckia or angel vine here)
– a wire hanger
– wire clippers
– planter of your choice
– potting soil

1. At my local nursery, I purchased two small trailing plants. Any houseplant that can grow long tendrils should work, I chose muehlenbeckia (or angel vine) but many types of ivy, creeping fig, jasmine could also fit the bill.


2. I try to keep metal hangers out of my closet, Mommy Dearest style, so it’s always a treat to find something to do with those pesky dry cleaning freebies. Clipping the hook off, I shaped the base into an oval to be used for my topiary frame. You can make any shape you’d like; a circle, heart, globe etc… I bent the oval’s feet to create makeshift “stakes” to add some stability once stuck in the soil.


3. Remove your plants and repot into a single larger planter, loosening the surrounding soil and adding more if necessary. If you’ve never repotted a plant before, this is a good guide. Tuck each end of your topiary frame firmly into the approximate centers of each separate plant.


4. Gently wind tendrils of your plant loosely up each leg of the frame, taking care to not tear off the leaves. Depending on the type of plant you won’t need to even tie up the tendrils, as the leaves will keep it in place. Slowly wrap your frame until your two plants meet in the middle.


5. A little water and sun as necessary will encourage your topiary will fill out over time and all it takes is a little wrapping of the new growth to maintain your shape.


  1. Kelly says:

    Oh, I love this project. Secret garden, here I come!

  2. Portia Alyce says:

    I love it….I’m going to try it this weekend.

  3. Teri says:

    I love these… now, if I could just keep it alive!

  4. lorchick says:

    ah, how beautiful! I wonder what plants I could manipulate best… I like that you did it with such a tiny scale, it would probably look downright cheesy done indoors with a fullscale ivy but like this it looks delicious

  5. Thank you for this project! A topiary is on my list of must-dos now that I’ve finally got a nice big mantle above my office fireplace. I can’t wait to give this a try!

  6. Katrine K says:

    Very, very beautiful, I want to try it out too!

  7. Samantha says:

    Love this, if you add a couple more wires you could create a ball! Umm I might just try that…..

  8. stacy di says:

    what a nice project! I wouldn’t have thought to use a coat hanger…great ida!

  9. Lauren says:

    Too cute! My little one just looked at these pictures and called it an “‘O’ tree.” Now I’m inspired to try to make some letter “trees!”

  10. Paige says:

    Yay! This is perfect for my mom’s (late!) birthday present :)

  11. Paulette says:

    This is great! I especially love that you’ve included info about repotting since the thought of it scares me to death!

  12. b. says:

    what a cute idea… may i ask what kind of plant that is? its darling!

    *one more thing, please take a sec to stop by my blog! would love for you to vote for team boo… come and see. thanks!

  13. b. says:

    whoopps.. i just saw where you posted name! sorry!

    still would love for you stop by though! :o)

  14. Jaclyn says:

    Nice. Never thought of that. I will have to do this with my ivy that’s spreading too much on the ground. Thanks for the beautiful guide.

  15. Hilary says:

    What an inspiration!

  16. Rona says:

    perfect for a english garden indoors look. so sweet!

  17. Marissa says:

    How did you know I’ve been thinking of doing this too?! Thanks for the details. : )

  18. Amanda says:

    Can’t wait to do this!

  19. kerith says:

    How sweet! I want to make one too, but I’m thinking of shaping the wire into a heart! Thanks for the “perfect for my balcony” idea :)

  20. This is a fantastic idea! I will try for sure…
    Thanks for sharing…
    I admire the fact that you have shared the photos at each stage of the process. Which means, you have wanted to share it ever since you got the idea :) Great!

  21. Beautiful and simple. Thanks for sharing the step by step photos. What a simple way to liven up the office. Can’t wait to try it.


  22. Sarah says:

    um, i just killed my angel vine. it was in hospice in the bathroom for a few weeks, but I just had to move it to the morgue (hallway) where it will serve as a stark reminder of my plant negligence. Angel Vine needs so much water! this lovely project is a beacon of hope for my next attempt…

  23. beautiful, but be careful that the muehlenbeckia doesn’t travel out of the pot as it’s VERY invasive!! here in san francisco it has taken over and claimed many yards in my neighborhood and there’s no way to kill it once it’s layed roots.

  24. katy elliott says:

    Great job Amy. I’m loving all your projects!

  25. Gretchen says:

    What a great idea to give the feel of an old English garden, without the garden. My fire escape would look adorable with this addition.

  26. Marcie says:

    Very cool! How much did the total project cost? And how long did it take for the plant to grow around your frame?

  27. Great project and great photos giving the how to! Love this topiary and the plant that you used for this darling decorative idea! You could use these to decorate your wedding tables or anywhere in your home decor!

  28. Annie says:

    Thanks for sharing this cute idea. We posted a link on our blog as an idea for a mother’s day gift idea.


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