I first heard of kokedama while visiting my dear friend Olga in Panama. She introduced me to her creative nephew, Carlos Ricardo, and he showed me some photos of plants wrapped in moss balls called kodedama which he'd seen on Pinterest. I was wowed! I did some research and learned that kodedama is a Japanese method of gardening. The dirt is removed from the roots of a plant, enclosed in a mud ball, covered with moss, and finally wrapped with string. This past weekend I made several and thought I'd share this fun and easy project.
- peat moss
- akadama soil (found at nurseries carrying bonsai supplies)
- sphagnum moss
- terrarium sized shade plants or succulents
- live moss
- cotton twine or string of choice
I harvested moss from common areas in my neighborhood. Using a knife, I sliced it off the ground, leaving about a half inch of soil underneath to hold it together. The larger the pieces the better. If live moss isn't available, sphagnum moss will do. Do not remove moss from private property or parks...
Akadama is a granular clay from Japan that drains rapidly yet forms the consistency needed to form the mud ball. Just a note, expect to pay about $20 for a small bag! One bag is enough for about six balls in the size shown.
- Mix a 7:3 ratio of peat moss and akadama in a bucket and add water until soil holds together enough to form a ball.
- If using sphagnum instead of live moss to cover the ball, soak a handful in a bowl of water.
- Remove plant from container and gently remove dirt from roots. If using a delicate plant such as a fern, leave most of the dirt intact. Wrap the roots with a small amount of sphagnum moss and tie with string.
- Poke a hole in the mud ball and place the roots inside. Another method is to break the ball in half and place the roots in between, closing the two sides back together. Reform the ball adding more soil to fill in gaps. Don't get discouraged if the ball starts to fall apart- it will reshape. Squeeze out excess water as the ball is remolded.
- Attach moss evenly around the ball and wrap with string, criss crossing until it's held securely in place. Don't be concerned about small gaps in between the pieces as the moss will grow and fill in.
- Soak the moss ball in water for about ten minutes. Squeeze out excess water.
- Display on flat surface such as on a tray or hang. To hang, attach two long pieces of string on either side of ball.
- These are basic instructions but feel free to use your imagination- make a shape other than a ball, cover with something other than moss, display in an unusual way... Just have fun with it!
Photography info: Using the Superimpose app, the top photos of kokedama were layered using tree bark photos in the background.