Poodle cut your Plants

It isn’t difficult to create your own topiary with a ‘poodle cut’ and it’s a lot cheaper than purchasing one of the much admired ready-made varieties.

We chose a young Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ in the garden that already had a slim but bushy growth habit and decided to give it a ‘poodle cut’ with three heads.


Step 1: Before you begin, stake the plant properly to ensure it grows upright with a strong main stem which will eventually form the backbone of your living sculpture.

Poodle cut

Step 2: The art of topiary-making is about visualising where you want dense leaf growth to form the heads and where you want the main stem to show. The first head of this topiary was formed close to ground level by roughly shaping a ball with secateurs and then neatly trimming it with hand shears.

Step 3: Remove all side branches from the main stem to the desired height of the second head. Trim close to the main stem by rotating your secateurs to remove unsightly stubs.

Step 4: Start shaping the second head. Do not be afraid to prune quite drastically, you will be amazed by the dense re-growth stimulated by the pruning.

Poodle cut

Step 5: In a young specimen such as ours, the top piece of the cleaned main stem will still be weak, so take care to tie it securely to the stake. There will also be very little growth to remove yet to form the third head, so simply leave it to grow out.

Poodle cut
The Gardener