Shibataea kumasaca, that’s quite a tongue-twister, isn’t it? If you feel daring, pronounce it three times fast!
Shibataea kumasaca was one of the six varieties I picked up yesterday at Bamboo Sourcery in Sebastopol. My plant came in a 1-gallon container and from the rhizome growing out of the drain hole, it was clear that it needed a new home.
Sometimes called “ruscus-leafed bamboo”, this is a beautiful shorter species that grows to 3-6 ft. Its leaves are short and stubby and quite distinct from other bamboos. This Japanese native is very useful as a ground cover or low hedge and makes a stunning specimen plant in a decorative pot.
It is a running variety, although supposedly not very aggressive, but containment is still advised if planted in the ground in a small yard. According to the literature, it’s hardy to –10°F and can therefore be grown in most of the continental U.S. It likes shade, especially in hotter climates.
Shibataea kumasaca prefers acidic soil and suffers from leaf burn if the soil is too alkaline. A good place to plant it would be underneath a pine tree because pine needles naturally acidify the soil. In our case, we don’t have pine trees and I wanted to put it in a pot anyway, so I simply worked a generous amount of peat moss into the planting mix. Another way to acidify the soil, especially suitable for potted plants, is to water them with a weak vinegar solution (2 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 gallon of water). That’s what I will do going forward.
|Rhizomes and roots coming out the drain hole of the 1-gallon nursery container|
|Rhizomes circling around in the pot; definitely time for a new home!|
|Shibataea kumasaca in its new pot|
I haven’t decided yet where my Shibataea kumasaca will ultimately go, but wherever it is, I will be sure to put a paving stone underneath the pot to make sure no rhizome can grow through the drain hole into the ground. Our yard is small, and I don’t want to have to deal with an escaped running bamboo, not even one as benign as this one.