Kokedama, which literally means “moss ball” in Japanese, are a type of bonsai that not only look adorable but also are an easy DIY project to tackle in one afternoon. We had Robynne Heymans and Mike Madden, owners of Embark Garden, a New York-based plant design company, share their tips for how to make these hanging planters in five simple steps.
How to Make a Kokedama
- Bonsai soil
- Peat moss
- Small plant
- Sheet moss (preserved or living)
Heymans recommends using organic products when possible to avoid chemical additives. You can find peat moss and bonsai soil at most nurseries, hydroponic stores, or hardware stores that sell orchids.
- Waffle plant
- Balfour Aralia
- Asparagus fern
- Staghorn fern
- Polka Dot plant
- Bird’s Nest fern
- “Rex” Begonia
Plants to Avoid:
- Flowering plants (such as orchids)
- Maidenhair fern
- Ming Aralia
STEP 1: Mix half bonsai soil and half peat moss and stir in enough water until damp.
STEP 2: Form a ball around plant roots with the soil mixture.
STEP 3: Wrap with sheet moss.
STEP 4: Wrap and tie with string.
STEP 5: Attach another loop of string to hang.
How to Take Care of Your Kokedama
- Mist daily or place on a tray of pebbles and water for humidity.
- Water once every three to five days depending on the amount of light and humidity in your home. When the ball dries out or becomes slightly lighter it’s time to water again. Don’t wait until the leaves droop!
- Water under a tap or in a shallow bowl of water until ball feels heavy. Allow to drip in sink before hanging it up again.
- Place your kokedama directly in a north-facing window or two to three feet from a south, west, or east-facing window. They need bright, indirect light to grow.
- Keep away from the radiator in winter.
- Clip off any dead leaves.
- Expect to repot once every year or two as the plant grows.