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Making a kokedama with moss, twine and plants

Three palms in kokedamas with string

Making a kokedama might seem difficult and technical at first. However, even though you do need a little patience and agile fingers, it certainly isn’t impossible.

Follow our three steps to make a kokedama, and you’ll quickly become a master in the trade!

Kokedama after-care

Step 1: Assemble the soil into a ball

Making that ball of soil that will carry your plant is the most delicate step. It’s the key to making sure your project works – and whether it’ll look nice or not! For best results, you’ve got to:

  • Materials for making a kokedamaMix together Akadama soil (80%) and perlite (20%) to ensure drainage.
  • Slowly add water to your soil mix. You shouldn’t get it too soggy: if it’s too wet, you can’t shape it well. Too late? Too drenched already? It’s ok: sprinkle a little more Akadama soil into it to make it thicker again.
  • Shape a ball of the desired size, but remember that later on, moss will create an extra layer.

Step 2: Ready? Set? Plant!

Different types of moss and plants to includeNow that the soil ball is ready, time to plant. Take your plant and remove the pot it was in.

After that, slowly remove the soil mix from the root ball with a twig or a chopstick. When the roots are nearly entirely bare, scoop your soil ball up with both hands and split it into two even halves.

Spread the roots across one of the halves and then close the ball again with the other half. Add more soil around the ball if necessary. After that, press the ball tighter so that the soil covers all the roots and to press out excess water.

Smart tip

If your plant is too large for the soil ball you prepared, divide the plant clump to reduce its size.

Step 3: Pack moss and wrap it up

Root ball ready to be added to soilYour kokedama is almost ready. You’ve only got one thing left to do, and that’s what makes this project so unique: pack moss all around and somehow make sure it sticks. Before placing your moss, make sure it’s “clean”, meaning without any weeds nor bugs.

Once you’ve finished checking it, press your slab of moss on the soil ball. To help you out, use seamstress pins to attach the moss temporarily. Now for the netting that holds everything in place. You can choose your favorite from several options: thick, transparent nylon line for invisibility; waxed string for a more visible appearance. Here is where you choose what you want your kokedama to look like.

Wrapping the twine around the root ball and mossTo keep the moss in place, prepare a long length of that string and wrap it around the ball.

  • Start with the center (the equator) and tie a knot.
  • Don’t cut the string: wrap it all around the ball, tying knots at every loop.
  • Once you’re done, cut the remaining string off.
  • Snip whatever strands of moss are jutting out to make it all look nicer.

Smart tip

For your kokedama to look nice as time passes, it’s important to choose the right type of moss. For our dry indoor homes, the best variety is Ctenidium sp. It’s a species that resists drought very well. It can cope well with sunny to partly sunny spots.

Displaying a kokedama

Three kokedamas on display Once your work of art is ready, you’ve got multiple options to present your kokedama.

  • Add a small hook to the net that holds the moss together, and hang it from above: it will seem to float in the air.
  • A more classic approach is to flatten the bottom of the kokedama to set it down on a nice stand (plate, slab of wood, seashell, slate rock, etc).
  • Pair it together with hanging airplants, the effect will look stunning.

Next up: Maintenance for your kokedama

Images: CC BY 2.0: Gergely Hideg; Pexels: Armand Valendez; Pixabay: Pablo Ibañez
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