The Japanese art of Kokedama is a Japanese gardening method where the root system of a plant is first wrapped in moss then in soil and then finally finished with moss and string creating a moss (Koke) ball (dama). They can be displayed on plates, driftwood or pottery or hung; adding a sculptural quality, particularly striking when you group several together. This type of planting is perfect for those that don’t have much of a garden space and for bringing the outdoors into the home!
Traditionally Kokedama are made using bonsai trees, but you can use any plant that has a small root system and thrives well in shade or partial shade. This is because moss which is used to wrap the ball of soil, dislikes being in direct sunlight!
- Sphagnum moss/sheet moss
- Bonsai compost (or a combination of Bonsai soil and peat moss)
- Gardening Gloves
Take your plant from its pot and loosen the soil around the roots. If the root system has curled around the inside of the pot, you can gently massage the roots to remove the soil.
Next, wrap the roots in damp sphagnum moss until they are completely covered. Set your plant aside
If you bought the bonsai soil and peat moss separately then mix the two together, otherwise just pour some of the bonsai compost into a bowl. Add water to your soil and mix until it starts to clump together and you can form a ball shape without it falling apart.
You can either make a large enough soil ball that you can place your plant inside or simply shape the soil around the moss covered roots and in a sphere shape.
Finish off the soil ball by adding another layer of moss. Sheet moss is particularly good for this shape, but to be economical I used more sphagnum moss.
Finally take your twine or string and begin to secure the moss in place by wrapping the twine/string around the ball, in any pattern you desire. Tie off the end of the twine/string. Tuck in the cut end of twine/string for a neat finish.
You can add more twine or string if you want to hang your kokedama or find a nice piece of driftwood, a plate or a bowl that you can stand it on! To water the plant, you can spray the leaves with water and occasionally if the moss ball is feeling dry submerge it in water for 10-15 minutes.