Kokedama, or “moss balls” in Japanese, are traditional plant creations that celebrate the beauty of rough simplicity. These “poor man’s bonsai” reflect some very ancient principles of Japanese culture and philosophy that focus on the simplicity and imperfections of nature. So how can you capture some of this meditative appreciation for nature this holiday season? With this guide to creating a Kokedama, you’ll be a pro in no time!
How to Get Started Making Your Own Kokedama
To fully experience the craft of Kokedama, make sure you grab plants that are well-suited to being contained within a small, sodden ball of moss. The best contenders are slow growers with small root systems, such as dracaena, philodendron, peace lily, ferns, poinsettias, cypress pines, and amaryllis. Avoid succulents, African violets, and orchids that require other soil conditions. Once you have your plants picked out, you’ll need to gather up some additional supplies and tools.
What you’ll need:
- Clay-based soil
- Peat moss
- Moss (either harvested or sphagnum moss)
- Twine or string for tying
- Containers or tubs
How to Make Your Very Own Moss Ball Plant:
- Make “akadama,” or Kokedama soil mix, by mixing about 85% clay-based soil with moss.
- Make a ball of soil by adding water to your akadama until it sticks together. Keep adding moisture until it is no longer crumbly.
- Take your plant and gently dust off the root ball, removing as much dirt as possible. Then, separate the roots from the root ball.
- Make a hole in your soil ball and insert the loose roots. You can spray the ball while you work to maintain better moisture and malleability.
- Soak your moss in water and then wrap it around your soil ball. Make sure the soil’s surface is covered entirely with moss. The moss will retain the moisture of your soil ball, which is your plants’ new pot.
- Wrap your moss ball with twine or fishing line and hang it up to enjoy! If that’s not quite your style, however, you can also sit your moss ball plants on wooden or glass dishes to create stunning table displays.
Keeping Your Moss Ball Happy
Now that you’ve made your plant a new home, the next step is to keep it healthy and happy all year round. Keeping your Kokedama plants partial to fully shaded environments is a good place to start, as is keeping them properly watered. For best results, you’ll need to check in regularly to feel its weight. If it feels lighter, it might be time for a dunk. Soak the ball in room-temperature water for around 10-20 minutes until saturated before placing it in a colander for a few minutes to let any excess water drip off. Remove any discoloured or dying leaves, and watch for signs that your plant is otherwise unhappy or stressed.
Making a Kokedama for the Holidays
Making a holiday-themed Kokedama is a great way to celebrate your favourite Christmas plants and finest festive flowers! Cypress pines, ferns, Christmas cacti, amaryllis, and poinsettias all look dazzling when nestled in a woodsy moss ball and will add tons of depth and character to your holiday decor. You can add some extra Christmas flair by wrapping ribbon around the ball, tying on bows, or adding festive glitter to the moss.
Smaller Kokedama balls can be hung on your Christmas tree, wreaths, and boughs, while larger ones look beautiful as centrepiece decorations lit with mini tree lights! Get creative this holiday season and see what you can do with your Kokedama plants to welcome in the winter season.
After the Holidays
Kokedamas will easily outlive the holiday season with proper care, and if you enjoy the look of these moss balls, keep them going year-round! Place your cypress outdoors when the holidays are over (they like the cold), and let your other plants soak up the sun on your balcony or patio come spring and summer.
If you’re looking to stun your guests this holiday season with unique plant decor, the creations you can make with Kokedama plants are a sure bet. Visit us today at Salisbury Greenhouse in Sherwood Park and St. Albert, AB, to find pre-made Kokedama plants for sale or to grab supplies to make your own DIY creation!