It’s safe to say that my mom has a green thumb. In fact, it seems like she has about 10 green thumbs. That woman can make anything grow, indoors or outdoors. While I was visiting her over Christmas she showed me how to make kokedama, her newest planting project.
Kokedama is a take on traditional Japanese bonsai, in which the root system of a plant is encased in a ball made up of a specific soil mixture, wrapped in moss, and then secured with wire or jute.It’s an old process, that is quickly gaining popularity. Originally kokedama were somewhat flattened on the bottom to allow them to sit w/out tipping over, but more recently people have begun suspending them to make hanging gardens.
To make your own Kokedama you will need…
- A plant! If you’re planning on hanging your kokedama, choose a plant that can occasionally tolerate drying out. If you’re going to sit your kokedama in a shallow dish, this is less important. If you choose a plant with brittle stems, be aware that you may lose a few leaves in the process.
- Potting Mix
- Garden Soil
- Sheet Moss
- Wire, Jute, or String
- Fishing wire to hang your Kokedama, or a shallow plate or dish w/ pebbles to sit your Kokedama
- Mix two parts potting mix with one part garden soil, and add water until it will clump.
- Make a round ball of soil, pressing until it is solid. If a ball will not form, add a little more water.
- Remove as much soil from the root ball of your plant as possible. Carefully break your soil ball open into two halves and insert the roots of your plant.
- Mold the soil around the plants roots, until you once again have a round ball. It is important to keep the soil at the original depth on the plant stems.
- Holding the kokedama in one hand, carefully wrap the soil ball in sheet moss, making sure that no soil is exposed. Fasten the moss in place by wrapping wire, jute, or string around it. Sometimes an extra set of hands makes this part a little easier. In the center photo below, you can see the green florist wire that has been wrapped around the moss to hold it in place.
- Trim any moss away from the plant stems with scissors. You can also trim the entire moss ball if you’d like it to be a little neater.
- Now you must decide how to display your kokedama!
- If you wish to hang it, attach fishing wire to whatever medium you have used to wrap your moss, on either side of the plant. Attaching the fishing wire above the halfway point on your moss ball, will help to keep your plant from tipping over once hung. To water your hanging kokedama, take it down, soak the ball in a pan of shallow water until saturated, and then drain for a while in a colander before rehanging.
- If you wish to sit it, place some pebbles in a shallow dish or bowl, and then rest your kokedama on top. To water, pour water onto the pebbles.
I can’t wait to make some for my own house. They also make fun gifts – because people are always impressed, and usually haven’t seen them before. Please feel free to share your photos in the comments section if you make some kokedama! I’d love to see them.