Easy DIY Living Rosemary and Boxwood Topiary on a Budget

We've all seen these lovely little creatures... And I even have several preserved topiaries... But I decided it was time to add a few live topiary plants to my home.
After looking around a bit, I decided that $79 per topiary was much more of an investment than I wanted to make! (Mr. B would definitely not approve of such a purchase...) So, like I do when I get an idea in my head, I decided, I can make that for way less! 😬
So, I set out to find a Rosemary shoot (seedling) from a nursery to grow my own. To train it, and teach it to be the lovely little topiary creature I knew in its heart it wanted to be! Here's what it looked like when I bought it. (Cost: $3.95).
So, I set out to find a Rosemary shoot (seedling) from a nursery to grow my own. To train it, and teach it to be the lovely little topiary creature I knew in its heart it wanted to be! Here's what it looked like when I bought it. (Cost: $3.95).
She's so cute, right?
Then I dug out one of my pots, and put a layer of gravel in the bottom to help the soil drain ("soil" kept autocorrecting to "soul" in that last sentence... I'm not in the business of draining any thing's "soul" here! )
Next, I poured about a cup of potting soil into the pot, and watered it to remove air bubbles. Then, I gently removed my little Rosemary shoot and root system from her container... And placed her centered on the gravel. I added some tree and shrub potting soil all around and a little on top, and carefully pushed in a little bamboo stick next to her "trunk". (I used the bamboo skewers you buy for grilling... It's what I had on hand).
Next, I trimmed all her little "shoots" of leaves off the bottom until i got to the height I wanted the bottom of the lollipop topiary to be. I also decided on the total height I wanted her lollipop to be at this point, and trimmed off the top shoot so she would stop growing up and start to fill in as a ball (The gorgeous fragrance Rosemary gives off was so lovely during this part).
Now, it was time to secure her little "trunk" to the bamboo stake so I could teach her how to grow. I used twine i had on hand.
Gently pinch her trunk to the stake, and tie the twine (you could use raffia that you've soaked in water also... Just nothing damaging to her little trunk) in a figure 8 pattern around the trunk and the stake. Knot it, and trim off the excess. Do this in a few places until you have secured her trunk in a "straight" growing pattern.
I did the exact same thing with my boxwood plant... Here are a few pics to show the progression:
Place rocks in the pot for drainage, add your boxwood plant, add your soil, Trim,& insert the bamboo stick.
So, I made both topiaries for the cost of $18.00.
Rosemary shoot: $3.98
Boxwood plant: $6.98
Potting soil $6.95
Bamboo skewers: I had on hand
Pots: I had on hand
Twine: I had on hand
Pretty good!!
Here they both are all trimmed and ready to become a topiary. Aren't they precious?
Hope this has been helpful! If you want more DIY tips, go can visit my One Horse Lane blog! Thanks for joining me!
Much Love,

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

5 questions
  • Apr1628509
    on Mar 1, 2016

    For perspective, how big is the pot you used?

    • Heather
      on Mar 1, 2016

      I used a 6" pot for the Rosemary, and a 10" pot for the boxwood.

  • Debbie Stokes Cotter
    on Mar 1, 2016

    How long did it take to grow the final topiary?

      on Mar 1, 2016

      @Debbie Stokes Cotter

    • Debbie Stokes Cotter
      on Mar 1, 2016

      @Gail PASSWATERS ?

    • Heather
      on Mar 1, 2016

      Hey Debbie! It really can depend on the amount of sun it gets, care, and watering (there will be almost coming on my blog about caring for living topiaries if you want to check it out) but a good rule of thumb for a nice full living topiary from a shoot, is 1-3 years. Mine have done really well in the first year.

    • Debbie Stokes Cotter
      on Mar 1, 2016

      @Heather Thanks! I am going to try it!

  • Carol Roddy
    on Mar 1, 2016

    How long will it take for the rosemary to 'fill in'? Great idea and I'm like you regarding spending the amount of money they want for some of the "stuff" that I like LOL

    • Heather
      on Mar 2, 2016

      @Carol Roddy It can take anywhere from 1-3 years for it to become very full and mature. But, the process is wonderful!

  • Tracie Walker
    on Mar 2, 2016

    About how long did this take to grow your topiary ?

    • Heather
      on Mar 2, 2016

      it takes anywhere from 1-3 years for the topiary to fill in and become very full and mature. The process is really wonderful...watching it grow, caring for it, trimming as shoots grow too long in areas (ofcourse if its the rosemary shoots you are trimming, use them in your cooking!)

  • Kathy
    on Mar 2, 2016

    Have you ever used crushed plastic water bottles instead of gravel for your drainage?

    • Janice
      on Mar 2, 2016

      Yes, i do this in my big half barrel pots

    • Heather
      on Mar 2, 2016

      That's a great idea! love it!

    • April E
      on Mar 7, 2016

      In truth putting anything in your pot other than soil does not help with drainage, except a peice of screen over the hole.

    • Francesca Potestivo Yerke
      on Mar 28, 2016

      You can use round coffee filters to keep the soil in. Check that whatever you do use doesn't give off anything harmful if you will eat from the plant (rosemary plants), as some plastics do.

    • Sheila K. Nelson
      on Apr 11, 2016

      I use milk jugs and 2 liter soda bottles as filler/drainage in my big pots. Love the water bottle and coffee filter tips! Love the topiaries, too!

Join the conversation

3 of 45 comments
  • Noreen
    on Dec 14, 2016

    Hi, Where did you get the Box Wood shoot? I have never seen them for sale?

    • Marian Carter
      on Jun 27, 2017

      Noreen: She didn't use a "boxwood shoot"; she bought a small boxwood and trimmed it. It was the "rosemary shoot" that she used.

  • Judy
    on Jun 28, 2019

    I have wanted to do something different with my shoot of rosemary, and thank you for sharing such great idea!

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