African succulents as accent plants

Tycoss

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fredman

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Beautiful. Don't know how high the first and last one grows. The middle ones we called elephant foot. Usually just brakes the surface. During very dry/hot times, they shrink back drastically. Puffs up in wetter times. Beautiful little flowers. Problem is, in a pot they will always be wet. Not to sure about using them underneath a tree. I think they are better on their own in a dry display....:)
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I think you certainly can use succulents as kusamono.

Kusamono are used mainly in 2 ways, with a tree, or on their own.

These all could be used on their own, especially with flowers. Size isn't as important when used as the focal point on their own. Sansouyu (spelling?) is a subset of Kusamono where the planting grown for appreciation as the focal point of a display.

Traditional Japanese formal kusamono are usually a mixed planting of grasses and wildflowers.

Shitakusa is specifically grown to be displayed with a tree. Here size must complement the tree. One guide is the top of the leaves of the Shitakusa ''should'' be lower than the top of the stand the main tree is on. I think this is specifically to set a forest setting. I think it is just Kusamono if it is taller than the stand of the main tree or if it sets a setting that is not a forest setting. .

Key is when displayed with a tree the kusamono
1. must be in scale with the focal point tree,
2. set the feeling of a ''place''. Forest, veld, savana, karoo, mountain top, meadow, stream bank, where ever. But it should help to bring to mind a place.
3. must indicate time of year, and it must be same time of year as main tree and scroll. Spring flowers next to tree in autumn color would be a bonzo no-no. Leafy green bamboo (summer) and a bare winter tree is also a bonzo-no-no.
4. must be subdue enough that it does not compete with the focal point tree. My vibrant orange Habenaria orchid would not work with any tree, because it would distract from seeing the tree. My white egret flowered Habenaria (Pectilis radiata) would work well with a tree over 24 inches tall, too big with a shohin tree.

So if your succulents can meet the 4 points, and you like the look, you certainly may use them with a tree.

in Sept, my study group used a shohin box display, and set up 8 kusamono in a display, 5 in the box stand & 3 outside the box. We did not bother with putting a tree in the display. There the gaudy orchid worked well. Also had a Euphorbia franciosii in the display. It worked well.

So grow your succulents as artistically as you can, display them as you see fit, with or without a tree. They do count as kusamono. It is difficult meeting all 4 points to display them with a tree. Solution, do an all Kusamno display, and do a separate tree display.
 

Tycoss

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I think you certainly can use succulents as kusamono.

Kusamono are used mainly in 2 ways, with a tree, or on their own.

These all could be used on their own, especially with flowers. Size isn't as important when used as the focal point on their own. Sansouyu (spelling?) is a subset of Kusamono where the planting grown for appreciation as the focal point of a display.

Traditional Japanese formal kusamono are usually a mixed planting of grasses and wildflowers.

Shitakusa is specifically grown to be displayed with a tree. Here size must complement the tree. One guide is the top of the leaves of the Shitakusa ''should'' be lower than the top of the stand the main tree is on. I think this is specifically to set a forest setting. I think it is just Kusamono if it is taller than the stand of the main tree or if it sets a setting that is not a forest setting. .

Key is when displayed with a tree the kusamono
1. must be in scale with the focal point tree,
2. set the feeling of a ''place''. Forest, veld, savana, karoo, mountain top, meadow, stream bank, where ever. But it should help to bring to mind a place.
3. must indicate time of year, and it must be same time of year as main tree and scroll. Spring flowers next to tree in autumn color would be a bonzo no-no. Leafy green bamboo (summer) and a bare winter tree is also a bonzo-no-no.
4. must be subdue enough that it does not compete with the focal point tree. My vibrant orange Habenaria orchid would not work with any tree, because it would distract from seeing the tree. My white egret flowered Habenaria (Pectilis radiata) would work well with a tree over 24 inches tall, too big with a shohin tree.

So if your succulents can meet the 4 points, and you like the look, you certainly may use them with a tree.

in Sept, my study group used a shohin box display, and set up 8 kusamono in a display, 5 in the box stand & 3 outside the box. We did not bother with putting a tree in the display. There the gaudy orchid worked well. Also had a Euphorbia franciosii in the display. It worked well.

So grow your succulents as artistically as you can, display them as you see fit, with or without a tree. They do count as kusamono. It is difficult meeting all 4 points to display them with a tree. Solution, do an all Kusamno display, and do a separate tree display.
Thanks for your detailed response. These little guys are all in pots between 2.5" and 3" wide and 1.5" to 2.5" tall. I think that they are small, humble and "deserty" enough to be used as shitakusa for an arid land tree. The question of seasonality I'm not sure of, as these would most likely be with a tropical or subtropical tree. Anyone else have thoughts?
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Thanks for your detailed response. These little guys are all in pots between 2.5" and 3" wide and 1.5" to 2.5" tall. I think that they are small, humble and "deserty" enough to be used as shitakusa for an arid land tree. The question of seasonality I'm not sure of, as these would most likely be with a tropical or subtropical tree. Anyone else have thoughts?

The answer to season, you need to point to your specific tree to answer the question. For a desert scene, deserts do have seasons, wet season and dry season. If your flat top savanna style acacia has lush new growth, it is rainy season, a succulent in bloom might be a good match. Acacia with no leaves, its dry season, make sure succulent does look dormant. Make sense? This is the reason most keep a number of kusamono around, you can't choose which you will use until you know what the tree will look like in the display.

Similarly, if you have a medium size pine fairly broad spread to branches, put it on a low stand, a bamboo, scroll, the kusamono would probably be a broad leaf miniature, with no flowers, on a flat wood fletch (jita) and you have a summer forest scene. Same tree on a high stand, a mountain theme scroll, accent can be a rock, suiseki, miniature plant grown on a rock, if it has flowers, its spring, or no flowers summer in the mountains.

Same tree, same time of year, Accessories, scroll, stands and kusamono chosen set the time of year.

Its a lot to take in, but as long as you avoid jarring conflicts in image, you can do okay without a lot of study. Key is when you know you are going to display in public, set it up at home, and critically examine it for obvious contradictions, If it passes that test, your display will probably "fit in" at the public display. To have a prize winning display requires thought, creativity and a good size collection of "stuff", that could be used laying around to choose from. I have never won a ribbon for my displays. I have gotten lots of comments about beautiful kusamono,but it didn't match the tree, or the quality of the tree didn't match the kusamono. Etc. Art of display can be taken up as a discipline unto itself, and is beyond my skill set. But it is not hard to make a passable display.
 

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