Is Your Topiary Dying? How to Revive it Quickly?

I often get this question, “my topiary is dying; what do I do now?” It’s heartbreaking to discover that your prized topiary is beginning to wilt. However, it is not inconceivable to revive it.

In this guide, we’ll see the causes and symptoms of topiary’s death, techniques to bring it back to life, and when to expect results. Let’s dive in!

Why is Your Topiary Dying?

There might be multiple reasons your topiary is dying, including improper watering, low-quality soil, lack of sunlight, nutrient deficiency, pests, spider mites, and diseases. Typically, the real reason is a deficiency in water.

Topiary plants don’t require extensive maintenance and care. However, they need water every day, especially during hot, dry weather.

So, if you see leaves turning brownish or other decaying indicators, make sure to check these things to find the root cause.

How to Tell if Your Topiary Has Already Died?

Dull, dry, or brown leaves, damaged leaves, or constantly shedding leaves are some of the few indications that your Topiary is already dead. Black roots also point towards a dead Topiary.

It may be time to pay close attention to your plant’s health if you notice substantial changes in its appearance from when you first got them. You can start by checking the topiary’s leaves, stem, and roots to get a better sense of its condition.

Here are a few signs indicating that your topiary has expired:

  • Your topiary’s leaves hold the key to its vitality. They turn brown due to multiple reasons, such as lack of sunlight, water, and nutrient deficiency. If the topiary’s leaves are beginning to look dull, dry, and overly brown, they are exhibiting signs of decay.
  • Damaged leaves are another indicator of the topiary’s declining health. In this case, pests and insects may have destroyed your plant. Damage or disease-infected leaves can have holes and yellow spots caused by soil fungi or insects.
  • If your topiary is constantly shedding leaves, it has passed away. One reason behind leaf loss can be branch dieback. It is an infection brought on by the fungus that gives leaves a darker hue and a crispy feel, causing them to fall off.
  • Black roots, AKA root rot, means that your plant is dead or about to die. It is a plant disease caused by overwatering, fungi, or poor drainage. You will have to replace the plant in this case. This condition is hard to treat, and all you can do is prevent getting it in the first place by taking care of the plant.

How to Rejuvenate a Dying Topiary?

In order to rejuvenate your dying topiary, improve your watering style. In summer, water them twice a day and once a week watering in winter. Six hours of sunlight is optimum, do not let your plant be over or under-exposed to the sunlight. Soil should be well-drained and properly fertilized. Keep an eye out for pest infections and periodically trim dead leaves.

You can try to revive a dying topiary by subscribing to the following techniques:

  1. Fix the Watering Style

With topiaries, you need to ensure that you are not overdoing or underdoing anything. They are low-maintenance plants and don’t need extensive care.

However, it is crucial to consider their water requirements and strike a balance between overwatering and underwatering.

In the warmer season, you need to water them twice a day. In the cold, however, once a week will do. Doing more or less can make the topiary look dull and droopy.

So, if you think you have been making this mistake, try to fix the watering first. Make sure to water the plant evenly with a watering can or hose and let the water permeate the soil deeply.

  1. Examine Their Exposure to the Sun

Topiary requires at least six hours of sunlight each day to thrive. Getting adequate sunlight keeps fungal diseases at bay and allows the plant to grow fuller. One of the reasons topiary’s leaves turn yellow and drop off is lack of sunlight.

So, if you want to rejuvenate your topiary, move it to a sunnier spot. You can also use grow lights to fulfill its needs. That said, sunlight requirement also has to do with your region’s temperature.

If you live in an area that experiences very long sunny days, give some shade to your plant in the afternoon. Otherwise, overexposure to the sun can stress it out.

  1. Improve Soil Quality

Topiary prefers well-drained soil. The leaves can wilt, and the roots can rot when the soil is compacted or does not drain well. You can fix this issue by mixing sand and perlite. Alternatively, you can add organic material as well.

  1. Check for Pest Infestation

Insects, pests, and mealy bugs can be the reason for your topiary’s death. It is imperative to take action on time to control the damage.

Spraying water might help remove insects from the foliage. However, you need to use malathion, neem oil, or insecticidal soap to kill them.

Harris Garden Insect Killer, for instance, is a fantastic insect killer that can help you get rid of mealybugs, white flies, aphids, and all kinds of pests.

Due to its natural formula and plant-derived fatty acids, this product contains no chemicals. The mixture kills insects quickly by penetrating their bodies.

You can rely on Harris Garden Insect Killer to keep your topiary pest-free and thrive. (You can purchase this product by clicking this link)

  1. Fertilize It

If your plant is growing noticeably slower or the leaves are turning crispy brown, it has a nutrient deficiency. You need to find a good fertilizer to bring your topiary back to life.

It is better to get a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote because it allows you to fertilize your plants less frequently.

Osmocote comes in granule form with a 15-9-12 NPK value. You can mix it into the soil and reapply it every six months. (You can purchase this product by clicking this link)

  1. Trim Dead Leaves

Take time to remove the damaged leaves and stems from the plant. Next, prune the plant by around one-third. This technique is known to aid in plant growth.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to See the Results?

Depending on the severity of the problem, your efforts, and consistency, it can take approximately 3-6 months for a topiary to start looking alive again.

The upkeep requirements for topiary are not excessive, but they must be done frequently. As long as you water, fertilize, and prune them regularly and keep a check on pests and diseases, you will be able to keep them alive for longer.

How to Properly Care for Topiary so it Can Never Die?

Optimum sunlight, regular but controlled watering, rich fertile soil, an airy environment and regular pruning are necessary to keep your topiary from dying.

A topiary needs to be taken care of for its health and aesthetic appeal. The techniques listed below will enable you to keep it alive for the longest:

  • Topiary flourishes in full sun. Therefore, plant your topiary in a location that gets ample sunshine throughout the day.
  • Water your plant twice a day in summer and once a week in winter.
  • The soil quality should be rich. Make sure that it is fertile and well-drained.
  • Invest in a high-quality fertilizer and apply it according to the label’s instructions.
  • Keep a regular check on the foliage and appearance of the topiary to locate signs of a disease or insects. Catching them earlier will result in lesser damage as you can trim the infected leaves, branches, and stems. Instantly, find an insect spray to counteract if you believe things are serious and require advanced treatment.
  • Topiary prefers an airy environment. You can prune thicker foliage and longer branches to maintain a healthy airflow and light to keep it fresh.


Reviving a decaying topiary requires dedication and consistent efforts. However, it is not impossible if you are putting in the work. As long as you can find the problem and start working to fix it, be it water, location, or soil quality, you can revive a dying topiary.