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Carnivorous Plant Bonsai?

Has anyone ever made a bonsai style planting using Carnivores?
If anyone has, I can't imagine what plant they would have used. ???
Bonsai works best on woody plants, and to my knowledge there are no woody carnivores.
Drosophyllum and Nepenthes are both woody genera. I believe in The Savage Garden D'Amato included a nice photo of a Geoff Wong Drosophyllum in this blue pot that looked very much like a bonsai. I tried to find that pic but can't seem to with google images.

On a small scale, with very old stem-forming D. capensis or carefully pruned Byblis, you might also have a shot. Since bonsai is all about appearance, you might be able to "fake" a forest planting.
Drosophyllum and Nepenthes are both woody genera. I believe in The Savage Garden D'Amato included a nice photo of a Geoff Wong Drosophyllum in this blue pot that looked very much like a bonsai. I tried to find that pic but can't seem to with google images.

I know which picture you are talking about. I would love to see a close-up of that picture, since the plant in the picture looked so much like a pine tree that until I saw more pictures of Drosophyllum I thought they just looked like miniature pine trees.

Roridula could work while it is young. It seems to be pretty woody. Or maybe you could try erect tuberous Drosera.
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This would be really difficult, if not impossible. Bonsai requires root pruning. Drosophyllum doesn't like being uprooted, so that's out of the question.

Now, I have seen dwarf S. purpurea in North Carolina in bloom. The leaves were only 4" long and the flower sepals were only 2" wide. There were 2 of them.
Carnivorous plants can absolutely be used as bonsai. Bonsai style plantings are not restricted to trees alone. Bonsai can be made from herbaceous plants, grasses, mosses or rocks. Chinese Rock Plantings are a form of bonsai that is all about the placement of rocks; forming a symbol of mountains. These mountain scenes are sometimes left alone or are planted. In the book The Living Art Of Bonsai (Amy Liang), there are many photos of what she calls "herb bonsai". Not all the plants she uses are "herbs", in the sense of plants we cook with, but they represent many leafy and grass like plants. They are not made to look like tiny trees, but attention is given to their shape, visual balance and visual weight. Here is a good example: http://bonsaibark.com/wp-content/uploads/art8.jpg

As for the photo in The Savage Garden, do you mean the Byblis liniflora on page 224?
Also there are bonsai-ish plantings on pages 24 (the Darlingtonia and Sarracenia), and 177 (D. 'Triffida'). With a little tending, they could be called bonsai. Also, the pages I am referring to are from the revised edition of The Savage Garden.
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I second the Capensis. Was my first thought. I have like 5 adults with the old woody stems crammed into one 3" pot. They are essentially grown as bonsai.
  • #10
I've found that the words "shitakusa" and "kusamono" are the proper terms for "herb bonsai"; the type of bonsai that carnivorous plants could be made into. Search for images of those words. All sorts of plants (and non-plants) are used in shitakusa and kusamono, for example: grasses, ferns, cacti, succulents, mosses, mushrooms, lichen, herbs, orchids and many other plants.
However, I have not seen one using carnivorous plants yet . . .

Anyway, here are some beautiful photos I found, most are from bonsai websites:
http://www.bonsaifirenze.com/Mostra...ittà di Pescia Shitakusa/images/atsa00001.jpg

Bonsai and shitakusa/kusamono are often displayed together:

Notice all the plants at the bottom of this photo:

I spent way too much time finding these pics, hope you enjoy them! Let them inspire your creative plantings!
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  • #11
Closest thing I ever had to a bonsai CP was my old ventricosa.


I lopped the top off and it went crazy.


If you think really hard you might be able to pass it off as a Han-Kengai.
  • #12
A bit off topic, where I live there are a few Bonsai purveyors. They seem to dash from busy street corner to another busy street corner, and always have lots of inventory. However it all seems to be some sort of cypress or other boring species, never a maple or anything of interest. I also have a feeling they have only root pruned them and shoved them into pots. Can't say if they allow for any acclimation to their new pots/situation prior to sale. One fellow showed up to a swap meet of a group I belong to and traded me a couple of bonsai pots for some lime seedlings. His outfit was, "Happy Andy's Bonsai." Presumably he was Andy, and his partner was happy as well, but could not say for sure.
  • #13
True bonsai is done with a woody stemmed plant such as a tree or shrub dwarfed by root and branch pruning with said plant(s) being the sole focus of the piece. Neither shitakusa nor kusamono are considered to be "bonsai". As such, both shitakusa and kusamono can be considered a different (but still very cool) art form. Btw, another related art form you might be interested in is "saikei" (pronounced sigh-kay). In saikei, the goal is to create a miniature landscape. Several of the pictures you posted would count as saikei.
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  • #14
I know a little about bonsai, but I am not an expert in any way. However shitakusa/kusamono seem to go hand in hand, right along with bonsai. I haven't found a bonsai website or book that does not mention or have pictures of shitakusa/kusamono. Whatever the name, Carnivorous plants would make beautiful shitakusa/kusamono plantings, and with the ideas members have suggested, it seems very possible to make a carnivorous bonsai!

Check out this link (scroll down to the bottom) and see how well shitakusa/kusamono and bonsai go together. Imagine replacing some of those plants with carnivores and be inspired!
  • #15
I don't know about bonsai, but I have a dwarfed N.Mirabilis, It was one from seed but I think when I repotted it I shocked it, because even now (after a few years) it is only 8-10cm in diameter and 3-4cm tall, whereas its siblings are all over 40cm diameter and a few are over a meter long, it also makes tiny little 2cm traps
  • #16
Oh, they are related, Acro, but still not considered the same. :) Shitakusa pieces are used to enhance a display area containing bonsai, but are not themselves considered bonsai. They are simply containerized "decorations," if you will. Kusamono pieces are typically stand alone displays/centerpieces (though they don't have to be) but they, too, are not considered bonsai. Whereas bonsai are works of living art that -- if properly cared for -- may last for decades or centuries (I read somewhere that the oldest known bonsai is over 500 yrs old), both kusamono & shitakusa are far more ephemeral. Not only are the plants used not nearly as long-lived, but they are far more limited as to what can be done to keep them small. As a result, they are replanted/replaced after a time. Having said all that, there certainly is nothing wrong with your desires to try to "dwarf" some carnivorous plants or to create a saikei (landscape scene in miniature) using cps. I, for one, am very much looking forward to seeing what you create. Could be very cool! (Especially, IMO, should you create a saikei of a bog in miniature, for instance.)
  • #17
Adelea, if you were in the USA, I would totally offer to buy or trade you for that dwarfed N.mirabilis with its tiny little traps! Please post photos of that adorable lil bug eater!

Dragon, Do you grow bonsai? If so I want to see photos of that too! I didn't know that kusamono & shitakusa were dwarfed plants. Aren't they just plants that are selected for their appropriate (small) size?

And . . . Orchid Lovers, check this out:
Orchids as Bonsai (or would this be kusamono or shitakusa?) : http://www.aos.org/Default.aspx?id=431
  • #18
I'm going back home to check on my greenhouse in a few days, I'll grab a few pics of the mirabilis, including one with it next to its largest sibling.
  • #19
Also there are plenty of minute orchids that would make nice miniature features with a bonsai