Taxus baccata – topiary

English Yew, European Yew

From: £88.95

The classic smart topiary plant, marvellously tolerant of sun or shade in any well drained soil. The luxurious dark green foliage clips to very smooth shapes and provides excellent evergreen structure to any garden.


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Origin: Europe, W Asia
Genus: Taxus
Species / Cultivar: baccata
Common Name: English Yew, European Yew

Plant Biography

Taxus baccata are found native to central, western and southern Europe (including the UK) as well as Northern Iran, south west Asia and north west Africa. There are lots of extremely ancient specimens in Britain, usually found in graveyards.


The dark bold forms of yew topiary have been used in classic symmetrical arrangements and specimen planters to give structure to formal garden designs for hundreds of years. More recently, contemporary designers have also started to use them as strong anchoring foils in the midst of softer perennial planting.

Taxus baccata – topiary
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Slow
Expect to see quite small amounts of growth over the years.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: A little
Easy to look after but may occasionally require some attention in order to thrive.
Situation: Full Sun to Full Shade
Tolerates the complete range of light levels, a very accommodating plant!
Eventual Height: 3m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 3m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.

Expert Tip

If planting on heavier wetter soils, it may be worth improving the planting area with compost and planting on a mound to raise the rootball away from the worst of the winter wet.
Chemical Cocktail?

Chemical Cocktail?

Birds are able to eat the red ‘aril’ flesh of the fruit and aid seed dispersal, however it is worth noting that every other part of the plant is considered very toxic including the seed. On the flip side, chemicals found in yew clippings have been used to develop powerful chemotherapy drugs to fight cancer.

Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

It is advisable to clip once or twice a season back to the old cut marks if you want to keep the plant to its original size. Make sure you are not pruning too early in the spring or too close to autumn, as a surprise frost could discolour the new growth.


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