Q: I received two topiary plants as holiday gifts—one rosemary and one ivy. Please advise on their care.
A. Both ivy and rosemary should be thoroughly watered when the soil has dried out. Winter requirements are usually less than the demands of summer since these plants are not in active growth during winter. Fertilizing is therefore put off until spring when the plant begins to send out new shoots. However, if your topiaries are planted in a soilless mix, you should fertilize with a quarter-strength, balanced liquid fertilizer each time you water. Mist the plants regularly with tepid water, to both raise humidity and discourage mites. Both plants will benefit from bright, cool indoor conditions, such as an unheated sunroom or a windowsill where the temperature drops 10 to 15 degrees at night.