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Kokedama Moss Ball Plant | Table Top Style

Kokedama is a moss-covered ball that transforms the simplest of houseplants into living art. Put aside traditional pots, giving an unbelievable presentation guaranteed to be a conversation piece that is full of life and intrigue. To break it down for for those who are completely new to this type of plant styling, you simply take a rooted plant, build a ball of mud around it and cover the mud ball with moss, making the ball a living planter. The art of making Kokedama moss balls is closely tied to the Japanese art of bonsai, Kusamono, and Nearai styles. With Christmas is just around the corner, these would make amazing gifts to give to your plant-loving friends and family.

I want to start off by sharing that this style of plant decor is going to require a little patience as you create your first one. But once you have made one, it will be much easier on the second, third, and fourth tries. And trust me, you will end up making more than one. I have tried a few different ways to make these Kokedama balls and settled on the method that I will be sharing below. Ready to bring a little living art into your home? Let me teach you how!

Kokedama allows gardeners to turn plants into living sculptures.

Type of Plants That Work Well

There are a lot of houseplants that will work for Kokedama balls. The balls can be displayed sitting on the countertop or they can be hung, which would be perfect for vining plants. If this is your first time creating a Kokedama ball, use a smaller 4″ plant before you go any bigger. The ball will be made to the approximate size plant pot, and starting off with a small plant will be a little easier to deal with before you dive into a larger plant. So here are just some of the plants that seem to do well…

How Long Will the Plant Survive?

This style of “potting” is not a forever home for the plant. They usually last 2 to 3 years; however, the period can be shorter or longer, depending on the plant you use for your DIY Kokedama project. When the roots of plants are coming out of moss ball, it is a sign to remake the moss ball larger or replant it in a pot.

Items Needed to Make a Kokedama Ball

I will into more depth on some of the items needed and also provide links to the items I used.

Soil Mix

The soil mix recipe for Kokedama can vary slightly but typically will include the following “ingredients.” Once you have the soil measured out in a bowl, add enough water that is necessary until the soil holds its shape when pressed into a ball. If you accidentally use too much water, you can a bit more houseplant soil, but we will also be draining excess water with a strainer.  The amount you mix up will depend on the size of the plant you are using.

Loose Sphagnum Moss (optional)

Often, people will wrap the plant roots in wet sphagnum moss, securing it with a string, to help retain moisture. I have done this a few times as well as a few times without and both ways worked just fine. This is a different type of moss than what you will be using for the outside of the moss ball. This (click here) is my all-time favorite type of moss to use in this type of application. It comes compacted in a brick shape. You snap off a small section and place it in a bowl of water to reconstitute it.  There isn’t a photo of this step down below, since I skipped doing it for this plant.

Sphagnum Sheet Moss

Fresh, living moss is the best bet but not always easy to find. Both the fresh and dried can be ordered online.  Before you do, try to shop local; check out local flower shops, nurseries, etc. When working with this moss, I found it much easier to manage by placing the sheet moss on a baking pan and soaking it with water until moist and pliable. Allow to drain for a few minutes before using.

Fresh Living Moss

Dried (Faux) Moss

Cheesecloth

Using cheesecloth is optional, but I do recommend it. I have made the moss balls both ways, and the cheesecloth route is the way to go, especially if you are making a larger ball.  If you have small hands like me, it can be hard to cup the soil ball while working with the moss wrapping.

String to Tie Around the Moss Ball

Forming the Soil Ball

 

Ready to make a Kokedama moss ball creation?

 

Taking Care of your Kokedoma Ball

Watering the Kokedoma Ball

Fertizilizing the Kokedama Ball

Trouble Shooting

Why is my Kokedama moldy?
  • Mold can be a sign of overwatering or not enough airflow around the ball. Allow the ball to dry out almost completely before watering.
Why is my Kokedama dying?
  • The most common reasons a Kokedama is dying are under- and overwatering, insufficient light sources, inappropriate temperatures, pests, or diseases. Basically, it’s all the same issues that could arise with a typical potted plant. It’s time to put your detective hat on to figure out what is going on.

Why is my living moss turning brown?

  • If the moss is constantly saturated it can turn brown, similarly, using unfiltered hard water can also turn your moss brown.
  • Start off by backing off on the water a bit and see if that makes a difference. Also, assess whether your tap water has any chemicals in it.

Why does my Kokedama ball float and tilt when I water it in a bowl?

  • This is not a negative thing; in fact, the moss ball tends to float and tip when I first place it into the bowl of water when it is really dry. This is completely normal, and once the plant starts taking up water, it will sit correctly in the bowl.

 

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