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Kokedama Tutorial

Kokedama, or moss balls, are beautiful living planters you can enjoy for years! Using very basic materials you can create your own indoor garden. Display balls in saucers or hang them to make a "string garden."

Materials List:

  • Sheet Moss
  • Soil (a mix of potting soil and bonsai soil is preferred due to the clay content in bonsai soil. The clay helps hold your soil ball together)
  • Small Houseplant (3" pot or smaller)
  • Fishing Line
  • A couple pie pans or shallow bowls for wetting moss and soil

To begin, lay out your materials on a work surface. There are three pieces of prep-work to do and they can be done in any order. You will need to pre-wet your moss so that it is easy to wrap. We use a metal pie plate but you could use any shallow dish. Soak the moss and then squeeze it out like a sponge. Re-arrange your moss into a circular blanket, green side down, and put to the side. Un-pot your small houseplant and gently remove as much soil from the root ball as you can then set the plant aside. In a mixing bowl or container, place a large handful of your soil mix and add enough water so that the soil sticks together and you can pack it into a ball (think snowball).

This next part can be a bit fiddly but remember that you can repeatedly repack your soil into a ball if it falls apart. Crack open your soil ball and stick the roots of your houseplant into the middle of the two halves. When you close the soil ball back up, it should cover the plant's root ball securely but not encroach on the stems. Mold your ball back into a really nice round shape. Keep packing! It will eventually become a lovely sphere. Place your planted sphere on the center of your pre-wetted moss blanket.

Wrap the moss up around the sides of the soil ball. If you overlap edges of the moss pieces when making the blanket at the beginning of the project then you won't have bare spots. Or you can leave out a few extra pieces of moss to use as patches if needed. There should be no soil showing.

Now you begin securing the moss with the fishing line. We've found that holding the start of the line down with your thumb helps to keep things in place until you've gone around the ball a few times. Wrap as much as you like, as randomly as you like, until you feel that the moss is secured. Tie off the fishing line and clip the end if it sticks out.

You did it! Now you have to choose a cute way to display it which is tricky because there are so many. Some of our favorites are:

  • On top of an up-ended terracotta or pretty glazed pot
  • In a saucer. Look for vintage stoneware or teacups at flea markets
  • Group multiples together on a cake stand or cupcake stand
  • Hang them at different lengths from a curtain rod or ceiling hooks

Care instructions for your kokedama:

Keep an eye on the moisture level of your moss. You want to wait until the moss is dry (but not crunchy) before watering. To water your kokedama, place it in a bowl of water for 5-10 minutes. The whole ball can be submerged up to the stems of the plant. Squeeze the ball very gently to remove excess water and place back on its perch. Misting every few days is always beneficial but know that your kokedama needs a full soak when dry.
As for light, follow the recommended light given for your specific plant.

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