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Keep your kokedama alive: how to water, feed and prune the ball

How to care for kokedama

Making a kokedama is one thing. Taking care of it is another. But don’t worry! Unlike bonsai, kokedama doesn’t demand constant attention.

Stick to some simple rules and you can enjoy your flowery “moss ball” for much longer.

Watering your kokedama: the key to perfect care

When to water?

To figure out the right watering time, trust the moss. It’s your best guide:

  • Moist moss means moist soil. No watering needed then.
  • But, if the moss feels dry, it’s time to water your kokedama.

A quick daily check keeps dehydration in check.

How to water?

Watering a kokedamaYou’ve got several options for watering your kokedama.

  • Funnel watering

As you’re making your kokedama, consider adding a watering well. It’s a small funnel you nestle into the ball as you make it, leading to the center of the clump and opening at the top. Sprinkle water into it bit by bit, letting the soil soak it up.

  • Use a watering can

This method offers gentle watering and gives the substrate time to absorb the drizzle. Do this over a sink to catch the runoff.

  • Submerge the kokedama

Easiest, but not the top choice: this method risks turning your soil ball into mud. If you do this too often, your kokedama might see some wear and tear.

Smart tip

Don’t use tap water when watering your kokedama. This is especially important if it’s too hard: the minerals will accumulate and kill your moss and plants. Much better is to go for rainwater or bottled water instead.

Feeding your kokedama

Over time, kokedama soil will lose its lushness. That means you’ll have to step in and give your plant the nutrients it craves. About 5 or 6 months after creating your kokedama, it’s time to start to fertilize the soil. Just mix a tiny dose of orchid fertilizer into your watering. Repeat this every 15 days, or at least monthly.

Kokedama trimming

Trimming and pruning kokedamaAs plants grow, some leaves or stems might lose their elegance when they get too old.

Instead of letting your plant waste energy, give it a little pruning right at the base.

  • First off, trim the moss in places where it has outgrown its initial, round shape.
  • Next, depending on the plants growing in the ball, adapt your pruning. Ferns can be cut to the root, whereas orchid flower stems need to be cut back to the base, but not their leaves.

Doing this paves the way for sprouting shoots that will make your kokedama come out like new.

Images: CC BY 2.0: Gergely Hideg; iStock: Irina Shamanaeva; Pixabay: Pablo Ibañez
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