March 6, 2019, will mark the start of Epcot’s 25th International Flower & Garden Festival. Fans of Disney parks know what that means: the return of butterfly gardens, vibrant floral displays, weekend concerts, and especially the popular topiaries. These photogenic “living sculptures” of classic characters are one of the festival’s main draws and a showcase for the talents and creativity of Disney’s horticulturalists.

These topiaries may seem unique to Disney World, but did you know that you can make your own? On February 10, 2019, Noah’s Ark Topiary will host a workshop at Epcot for the park’s Festival of the Arts, showing people how to create their own. We’ve already given ideas for how to plan your Disney garden, and now we’re excited to share a few tips on this unique gardening art.

Look Into Wire Frames

You don’t need a wire frame to make a topiary. However, more complex forms like Disney’s characters require one to give the sculpture its distinct shape. You could order a frame from a professional using your own design or theirs. If you want to be more hands-on, you could construct it yourself using chicken wire, floral wire, and pliers.

Wire frames can be expensive, even smaller ones where the spaces are closer together. However, depending on the material, they can also last for years. If you are devoted to maintaining a topiary that’s more intricate than a geometric shape, this would be a good investment. Just make sure they’re strong because topiaries can be heavy.

Choose the Right Plants

There is no one plant species or type that can make for a great topiary. Disney gardeners utilize a wide range of fauna, giving more individuality to their character statuaries. This gives you a greater degree of freedom to choose a plant or multiple plants of your preference. Of course, different species have different needs, so do your research on how to properly care for the one you pick.

According to SFGate, using herbs works well for smaller topiaries, while hedges can be easily trimmed into large geometric forms. Shrubbery benefits from having “thick, dense foliage,” which easily fills the inside of a wire frame. Something the folks at Disney like to do is stuff the inside of a frame with sphagnum moss and cover it with vines, which naturally grow over everything. With so many choices, you can easily find the one that best suits your vision.

Attend to It Regularly

Your job in growing a topiary does not end once you put everything together, or even when the plants grow into the shape you want. Just as with a more conventional garden, you have to provide regular maintenance based on the needs of the plants you chose for this design.

The unique form of the living statue may require unique methods for feeding and watering the foliage that grows on it. The topiary creators at Disney use a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer, and they soak every part of the construct with their hose. If you’re doing everything right, the plants will continue growing — which means regular pruning, using scissors or hedge trimmers, to maintain their appearance.


YourWDWStore provides something for every Disney fan, including those who love their famed topiaries. We offer a variety of products from the Mickey’s Mini-Garden line, for anyone with a green thumb. You can also find dozens of collectible items from the past quarter-century of the Flower & Garden Festival, including some that were exclusive to Disney World. Visit our store today and let your Disney love blossom.