Topiary and Greenery…Caring for and Decorating with Fresh and Faux Greenery

joy of nesting

Topiary may be passe’ to some, but they’re still one of my favorite things to have in the home. The down side is topiary type plants (myrtle, ivy, boxwood) don’t generally care for living indoors year round. If you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse you can rotate your topiary every month or two but if not, faux floral, topiary and greenery can be used quite effectively in a home with living plants if you put some thought into it. 

Today we’ll explore how that’s done. 

I know, I know. You’re afraid to buy them. They are expensive. True. They collect dust. True. They fade. Sometimes. They are tacky. Not true… if you buy the expensive ones and arrange them right. Indoor plants and flowers make a room feel lived in. I say this often to my readers: if your room is missing something and you can’t put your finger on what it is, chances are good that’s it’s either scale, texture or greenery.

Decorating with faux floral and greenery as well as fresh plants gives you a more natural look. I don’t mean mixing faux and fresh stuff in one pot. I mean having both kinds but using them on different table tops.  

If you buy quality faux flowers and greenery this method will look very natural. When company comes, or there are special occasions or the nursery has some of your favorite flowers, the faux arrangements or faux topiary go in the hall or laundry room closet and the fresh ones take their places. 

You want to dust your faux topiary, flowers and greenery every few months with a feather duster. Hose them off annually. And fluff or lift the branches and/or blossoms a bit when they start to look misshapen. Keep out of direct sunlight.

Fresh ivy topiary doesn’t care for permanent indoor life. They winter well indoors but develop bugs mid to late spring. Fresh rosemary or myrtle don’t do well indoors indefinitely either. That leaves you with the option of placing them outside daily (or at the very least on alternating days) to get them the sun they need. That can get time consuming.

You can also keep several outdoor back up’s that you rotate in and out seasonally, particularly if you have a greenhouse. This is way more realistic, but not all of us have greenhouses. What I do is have a couple of back up plants that I rotate outdoors during growing season. Rotating your plants outdoors regularly during growing season will keep them healthy.

Prune and feed the gardener’s creed applies to indoor plants as well as outdoor ones. Keep them pruned. Feed them non-toxic plant food. I use Jobe’s Organic Root Feeder stakes. I do a whole stake in my medium plants and ½ a stake in my small ones. For large plants use 1-1/2 to 2 stakes depending on root ball size. They last two months.

Preserved greenery is a real plant material that has been dried and treated with glycerin. They’re priced much higher than the other fresh or faux products but they don’t fade as quickly if kept out of direct sunlight. Like dried flowers they are dust magnets, however and are a pain to keep clean. They crumble under a feather duster leaving the only alternative (that I’m aware of) is to gently blow them off with a hair drier on cool setting. Not a task I’m willing to schedule into my own home maintenance schedule. 

When I’m decorating with faux or fresh topiary I like to do one large scaled topiary in a great jardinière or pot, between a pair of interesting lamps, placed on a lovely tray or a stack of hard bound books. I also love to do topiary in pairs, particularly on the dining room table in pots that coordinate with the room. My go to table arrangement for the dining room is to do a tray of alcohol bottles and wine glasses in the center flanked by two modestly sized topiary, on two stacks of books. I’m guessing it takes about four to five books per stack. 

For live plants I like to to wire or iron plant racks filled with one, maybe two types of plants or flowers like tiny olive plants, boxwood euonymus, maidenhair ferns or violets. This is equally beautiful indoors or on outside patios.

Always save your quality pots, vases and jardinières even after you think you don’t want them anymore. Having a sizable collection allows you to rotate them seasonally and gives you options when entertaining. 

Another way to decorate with faux objects is with high quality fruits and vegetables. This is another fun way to incorporate seasonal change. Again go for quality. I like lemons, moss balls, artichokes, apples, osage orange (they are actually green, not orange) and pears. I’m very select when and where I use them for decoration because they can be easily overdone. I also use moss balls in the base of my topiary or sometimes alone in a pot or basket.

Keep a large selection of faux greenery and beautiful containers on hand in your pantry or laundry room. They’re awesome for holiday and seasonal decorating or as decorative fillers, for those times you have a spot to fill and don’t know what to put there. 

I just want to say thank you for dropping by! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Shiree’ Segerstrom. I started my design business in 1999 and have had design stores, had my own newspaper column on design and have written this blog since about 2010 I believe. I’m a real live person, not a corporation. I truly love sharing my knowledge with you!

As a way of saying thanks for coming, here is a copy of my free download, Healthy at Home: 5 Key Design Decisions that Support Health and Wellness where you get my steps for creating inviting retreats in your home so you can regenerate and reconnect with yourself daily and so much more.

That’s it for today!


Here’s that free download again. xo

January 29, 2014

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Topiary and Greenery…Caring for and Decorating with Fresh and Faux Greenery

Topiary and Greenery…Caring for and Decorating with Fresh and Faux Greenery

Topiary and Greenery…Caring for and Decorating with Fresh and Faux Greenery