Master the Art of Box Lollipop Trees & Topiary: Upgrade Your Landscape Design

Updated/Fact-Chacked on June 14, 2023 by Gareth James

Lollipop trees look wonderful, but they don’t get their shape naturally. The plants are pruned to grow into a sphere that rests on a tall bare stem, giving the distinctive lollipop-like shape.

box lollipop trees for sale that have had expert topiary

The box family (buxus sempervirens) of species is an excellent choice for creating lollipop trees since they can be transformed into a ton of shapes.

If you want to grow your own box lollipop trees, we’ve got a few tips that can help you out.

“Box topiary is the cutting and trimming of the box shrub (buxus sempervirens) to create interesting shapes such as spheres”

How do you Look After a Topiary Buxus Plant?

Choose the Right Location for your Buxus plant

While you can grow box trees almost anywhere, some sites could be better than others. The best place to grow box lollipop trees is in deep fertile soil. The area should be shaded too.

Moreover, it’s recommended to stay away from water-logged soils as they can inhibit the growth of box topiary. Nevertheless, if your choices are limited, there’s no need to worry as box trees are quite adaptable and can be grown anywhere.

Choose the Right Location

Ensure an Ideal Climate

A temperate climate would be ideal for box topiary. You can’t really control the climate of your city, but you can pick a suitable time of the year to start growing your tree depending on where you live.

Use Pest Control

Most animals don’t eat box, but some animals like rabbits may do so if there’s no other source of food around. The real problem lies in insects. They eat the leaves, causing a cluster of infected plants in your garden. There is also a specific insect that can destroy a box – the box tree month.

To get rid of them, just cut the severely affected branches and spray thoroughly, especially by the end of May and around June.

>> Read also our guide to the fastest growing trees in the UK

How do you Shape a Box Tree?

The best thing about box topiary is that it can be trimmed into many shapes, and the remarkable lollipop shape is one of them. Most of the work is done in trimming the sphere. Follow these simple steps:

1) To get a lollipop shape from a young box tree, you have to remove any new shoots that appear during the current year. These will be light green as opposed to the dark foliage from previous years. A sharp pair of secateurs will make the job easier.

2) Start creating the shape you desire by slowly cutting the box foliage into the form.  Small cuts will stop you from removing too much foliage; take a step back to inspect your work before continuing.

For best results, you can get a sphere-shaped piece of cardboard and use it as a guide to trim the top part of your plant into a near-perfect sphere. For larger box plants and box hedges, you may require sharp shears to keep the shape maintained.

Box Topiary design Examples

box topiary designs
Multiple box topiary shapes

box topiary examples in spirals, balls, spheres

Box Topiary FAQs

What is topiary Buxus?

Buxus sempervirens is an evergreen shrub ideal for topiary due to its slow-growing nature

What are topiary plants?

Topiary plants are those ideal for shaping with the horticultural practice of topiary. Along with the box plant, Yew bushes, Japanese Holly shrubs and privet shrubs are all ideal for topiary.

How do you grow a box topiary?

Box plants can be grown from small nursery plants or bought already in their designed form so you just need to maintain the shape

Are topiary balls easy to maintain?

Yes they are slow growing so you just have to remove any new growth to keep the shape

How much space should be between Buxus balls?

This will depend on the design you intend to have, they can be placed together

Can box topiary grow in shade?

Most box trees need some sunlight, partial shade should be fine if they get a few hours of sun each day.

Can Buxus grow in pots?

Yes you can grow buxus in posts, they can look stunning in a good quality container if well shaped

How fast does Buxus grow?

Buxus only grow around 15 cm per year making them ideal for low maintenance topiary


Final Thoughts

Now that you have everything you need to know about growing box lollipop trees, it’s time to start planting them yourself.

Even though you may need years to grow a proper healthy box lollipop tree, the actual work you need to do isn’t that big of a deal. You just need some dedication and maintain your plants on a daily basis to get them into the perfect look and shape.