Often in bonsai exhibitions we have the joy of showing, next to bonsai pots, other small pots, containing bulbous plants, grasses or other perennials, grown themselves as bonsai; they are Shitakusa, or accompanying or complementary plants. These small plants are grown as bonsai in order to give harmony to the bonsai itself at the time of exposure.There are very specific rules for choosing which plants to place near our bonsai, but in general any bulbous or herbaceous perennial can be grown as shitakusa.

shitakusa being accompanying plants, these small bonsai should be “combined” with the larger bonsai, even if surely some enthusiasts cultivate only and exclusively small bonsai of herbaceous plants (Kusamono).

The rules that guide us in choosing the best companion plant are quite simple and also intuitive: the fundamental element in the composition that is created when you want to exhibit a bonsai is the bonsai itself.The accompanying plant must be small in size, and globally it must not exceed in height the table on which the bonsai is placed; the pot that contains it must not be showy, possibly it must be covered by vegetation, and it must not be identical in shape and color to that of the accompanying bonsai.To give harmony to the composition we will choose the companion plant among the plants that come from it climatic zone in which the plant used for our bonsai lives; moreover the shitakusa will be chosen according to the season: therefore a small star is more suitable for the compositions presented in autumn, while the sedums are more suitable for summer compositions.We can choose flowering or berry plants, but it is advisable to avoid companion plants flowering or with berries just when the accompanying bonsai are provided. As for our bonsai then the companion plant must be grown in pots for a long time, and be adapted to this type of development; It is also good to avoid pet plants that accentuate too much or dampen too much the progress of our bonsai.We then recommend to avoid placing the shitakusa pot directly on the table that carries the bonsai, it is better to place a small table under the pot , a mat or other item.

  • Eremoro – Eremurus

    Eremoro  The Eremurus or eremoro is a variety of bulbous native to Central Asia belonging to the Liliaceae family. Its bulb is characterized by being a tuberous root that has 2 or 3 g …

  • Hedychium densiflorum

    Hedychium rhizomatous perennial plant, native to Asia; it forms large tufts of long lanceolate leaves, dark green or bluish green, depending on the species. Dense bushes can reach with …

  • Buttercup – Ranunculus asiaticus

    Buttercup  A flower that was very present in our areas even in the wild, the buttercup is highly sought after for its flowering period, which is one of the first. It blooms in late winter or early …

  • Agapanthus – Agapanthus

    Agapanthus  Agapanthus or Agapanto is a plant with rhizomatous roots, native to southern Africa; in spring it produces long ribbon-like leaves, 4-6 cm wide and up to 50-80 cm long, which give rise …

shitakusa These small plants are grown like bonsai, so we try to encourage their growth in a harmonious and natural way; initially it is advisable to choose plants that already have small foliage; later we can try our hand with larger foliage essences, from which we will detach the larger leaves, favoring the development of progressively smaller leaves.

The pots of the shitakusa are very small in size, usually they are filled with akadama, or even with little soil if our plants seem to dry out too quickly.Since the pots are so small we remember that the soil they contain will tend to dry out very quickly , especially in summer; to prevent our plants from drying out it is good to keep the pots in a semi-shady place and water them very frequently, especially when the temperatures are very high.Many of these plants dry out during the winter months, the pots that contain them should be kept in a sheltered place and dry, to avoid that the roots are damaged during the winter. For experts it is possible to move these small herbs from the pots on slices of rock, in stones or on bark or pieces of wood; cultivation therefore becomes more complicated, since watering must be provided with great caution and attention.

Source: www.giardinaggio.it

Shitakusa – Bonsai Cards – Shitakusa

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