Topiary frames provide a visual guide for trimming your shrub.

How to Grow Plants on a Wire Frame

by Elyse James

Using wire frames to train plants to grow in specific shapes is one of easier methods used in this very green art form. The frames are available in a plethora of shapes, ranging from storybook characters and mythical creatures to whimsical animals and humans. Topiary can be a fun creative outlet for you and your family, while adding whimsical or formal accents to your yard. The frames themselves are often constructed of lightweight galvanized or plastic-coated wire that is concealed once the plant underneath has grown to full density. Working with a simple geometric shape such as a box makes learning easier.

Select a plant that is suitable for growth on a wire topiary frame. Evergreen plants such as boxwoods (Buxus semperviren), yew (Taxus baccata), and vines such as holly (Ilex spp.) are the most suitable plants for topiary.

Decide whether you would like to grow the plant in a pot so it can be moved later on, or directly in the ground. Insert the topiary frame in the center of the spot where you want the evergreen to grow. Anchor the frame in place using wire pins inserted in the soil. This gives the frame stability.

Plant the evergreen directly in the center of the wire frame. If you have planted a shrub, simply let the plant grow up through the center of the frame and when it begins to protrude past the barriers of the frame, trim it to shape. If you`ve planted a vine, wrap as many of the vine tendrils as possible around the frame, starting at the base. This encourages the plant to grow upwards on the frame.

Items you will need

  • Topiary frame
  • Wire clips


  • Disinfect cutting tools by cleaning off dirt and then dipping in a disinfectant solution such as one part household bleach and one part water.
  • Holly berries attract birds, which feed on them through winter.


  • The berries and other parts of holly, depending on the variety, are toxic to humans.
  • Wear gloves when working in soil to prevent infection from soil-borne pathogens, and wear gloves when pruning holly, which has thorny leaves.

About the Author

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images