I recently found a bunch of tiny succulents at Aldi of all places and I had this Ferris wheel cupcake thing I planned to put them in as a cute centerpiece decor, but alas, as small as they were, they didn’t really fit like I planned. So I had 8 adorable succulents who needed to be repotted, but I didn’t really have pots or shelf space to spare.
I got to researching cute ideas on Pinterest for succulents and decor and ran across Kokedama. Now, you may be wondering what this means- yeah me too. So a quick Google hunt found some lovely information about this ancient Japanese garden art. Briefly, Kokedama is a Japanese string garden art of growing small plants such as tropicals and succulents in a mud ball made from a rich soil mix and then covered in live or preserved moss and bound with string or twine to hold it all together. Kokedama is translated as “koke” moss and “dama” ball so - moss ball. They are super easy to make, adorable, and you can use them in all kinds of decor.
To start you’ll need:
A collection of small plants such as succulents, small ferns, cacti, African violets, evergreens, ornamental cabbages, ivy and other terrarium miniatures.
Bonsai soil or soil specific for your plants- I used a soil good for cacti and succulents.
Sheet moss- preserved or if you can get fresh that works also. Each bag should cover about 4 baseball sized globes.
Ok so I had a shallow plastic tray and mixed about 3 cups of soil and 2 of peat moss and added fresh water until the dirt started to stick together but was not in any way squishy or runny. I made 8 balls and had some dirt leftover, so it’s basically a 3:2 ratio in whatever amount you need for your plant selections.
Next, I got some fresh water in a bucket and soaked my sheet moss so it was nice and wet. This helps to soften it up and helps it stick to your ball.
Ok so there’s a couple ways to do this, and after making the ball first, then trying to insert the plant into the ball, I figured out that it worked better to get your plant ready by basically removing as much potting dirt from around the roots as possible and THEN form a ball around the plant using the wet soil mixture. It’s like you’re making a snowball. Just pack it nice and tight around the roots and form a ball as large as you’d like. I made mine just about baseball size.
After you have your plant ball, you’ll get some wet moss and cover the dirt completely- don’t worry if you have to piece it together- it will stick. Just keep forming the ball with your hands as if you were making a snowball.
Once your dirt is completely covered with the moss, you’ll bind the ball with string or jute twine.
I started by tying one loop top to bottom and another around the middle. After that, just wind twine around the ball, like you’re winding a yarn ball- enough so all the moss is secure, but you’ll want to leave large gaps. This is kind of a personal preference thing- put as much twine as you like- but enough to hold the moss pieces securely. Wind it kind of snug but not so tight it cuts into your ball. Tie off the ends and trim any excess twine.
After you have everything secure, you can make your hangers. You can use macrame, braid your twine, crochet or make it decorative if you’re feeling creative. I just kept mine super simple and used two identical length pieces of twine, laid them out on a flat surface in an X, and placed my moss ball in the center. Then I gathered up the ends, made sure they were even, and tied a knot at the top. You can insert a small S hook under the knot or tie your knot to the S hook and then hang in a window or wherever you’d like. Group several together in different lengths to make a string garden in a window.
Another option is to forgo the hanger and place a group of moss balls in a cute dish or bowl for coffee table decor, dining table decor, or in small bowls, cups or other decorative baskets to sit around as fresh stylish accents in your home.
To care for your Kokedama will depend on your specific plants. For succulents, you can mist with a spray bottle of water once a week and dunk in a sink of shallow water once a month or so- let drain well before rehanging. If you have them in a bowl or dish, you can add a little water and allow the ball to soak it up- once a month. Succulents don’t require a lot of water so you don’t want to over saturate- the balls retain a lot of water.
For other plants, follow the watering guidelines, but misting once per week will keep your moss fresh and pretty in between watering.
These are so easy to make and super adorable! Kokedama gardens would make wonderful and inexpensive gifts for the upcoming holidays, birthday or a just because you’re awesome gift.
This is also a fun family craft that even small children can help with- since they generally like playing in dirt anyhow.