Elegant Standard Trees
Standard trees make a bold statement in the garden but can be expensive to buy, but with a little patience and the right care you can create your own, as long as the plant has a strong lead shoot.
- Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
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When to Start: Autumn
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: Initial pruning, 30 minutes
- a variegated holly, such as Ilex x altaclerensis ‘Golden King’ used here
- large container
- a stake
Assess the Plant
Look at the plant from all angles before pruning. Decide how long you want the clean stem to be and what growth you are going to leave to make up the lollipop top.
Remove Side Shoots
Prune the lowest side shoots from the main stem, but don’t remove all of them at once because they help pull sap up the plant. Once the plant has a round head, you can cut them all off.
Tie and Shape
Shorten the growth left at the top of the plant slightly to encourage it to bush out and form a rounded head. Push a stake into the soil to support the main stem, which will be quite weak at this early stage; tie securely in several places. Trim the head to shape each year.
Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
Here's how to help ensure that your living Christmas tree will thrive for years to come.