The Art of Making Kokedama

Kokedama is a Japanese art that can be made by using two easily available things like moss and potting soil. Mix the equal portions of the potting soil and moss, and press them firmly together; spray little water for a perfect ball. The moss ball is now ready, Insert your indoor small rooted plants in the ball. Cover the ball with a thin layer of moss all around. Use a string to wrap the moss around the ball. Dip the ready kokedama ball in the water for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water. Now, your kokedama is all set to get wrapped in the beautiful threads. 
Read further for detailed instructions!

What is Kokedama? 

The kokedama term comes from Japan. It’s a Japanese art which literally means ‘Moss Ball’. It refers to the curation of houseplants inside a moss ball without using any pot. 

Things needed

Being a very easy concept, Kokedama can be curated with very few things like- 

  • Potting soil: For succulent plants use succulent potting mix and for foliage plants use foliage potting mixture.
  • Moss
  • Plants for kokedama: Proper knowledge about the eligible houseplants for Kokedama preparation is mandatory. Almost all the small rooted indoor plants covering less space are preferred. The preferences of whether you want hanging houseplants or settled. You can select plants like Ferns, pothos, philodendrons, peace lily, dracaena, lucky bamboo, devil’s ivy, some succulents like the snake plant and sempervivum.

  • Jute String/ Floral wires/Colourful nets
  • Scissor
  • Water
  • A spray bottle

Step 1: Prepare the ball

Take equal volumes of potting soil and moss in the container. Add a little water, and press the mixture firmly together with hands to make a ball.

Step 2: Plant it up

  • Remove the plant from the container that you will need for this kokedama and dust off the extra soil. 
  • Divide the ball into two parts and place the plant in the center. Join the two halves and make a complete ball.
  • Cover the ball with a thin layer of moss all around.
  • Use a string to wrap the moss around the ball.
  • Cut out the excess string. (You can also use beautiful colored threads and green garden nets in the final round to decorate the kokedama).
  • Dip the ready kokedama ball into the water for 10 minutes and then squeeze out the extra water. Now, your ball is all set to get wrapped in the beautiful threads.

Step 3: Wrap up for styling

You can use beautiful jute threads or colourful woolen threads for making various patterns around the ball. Keep the Kokedama on the table or adjust it over a rack for decorative purposes. In Japan, hanging a bunch of kokedama at different heights on the wall is called a string garden. 

And, here is your beautiful kokedama ready!

Care tips

  • Watering: Every few days, check the ball’s weight to determine if it needs watering. The temperature and humidity in your home affect how often you need to water your kokedama ball. Also, observe the change in the colour of the soil to know the water requirement of the kokedama ball. Every two weeks, dip the kokedama ball in the water for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also do light misting if required.

  • Sunlight: Keep the foliage houseplant’s kokedama under indirect sunlight once a week, while succulent’s kokedama should be kept under indirect sunlight twice a week. It will be better if you provide them indirect sunshine on alternative days.

  • Fertilizers: During the growing season, feed your kokedama ball with organic water-soluble fertilizers like seaweed fertilizers once a month.

  • Repotting of kokedama: Kokedama usually lasts for 2 to 3 years as it depends on the type of plant. When you notice that the roots of the plant are coming out of the moss ball, it’s a sign that you have to remake it or replant it in a bigger kokedama, simply take out the moss by cutting the string and cut the excess roots, add appropriate soil, and rewrap with new moss. If you do not want to cut the thread, you can wrap a layer of soil and moss again to cover the exposed roots.

Interesting facts:

  • Japan follows the Wabi-Sabi principle which means: Celebrating the beauty of imperfections “Wisdom in simplicity”. According to their belief,  mother nature is self-sufficient, it does not need any external thing like pots to beautify it. 
  • Making kokedama is believed to be therapeutic and soothing for our brain as it engages our brain to focus and concentrate on a task and at the same time our both hands work simultaneously. 
Happy Growing,
Shalini Sharma & Shashi Agarwal

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