My office is also the sunroom in our home. I’ve been doing some redecorating in the office to give it a more comfortable and relaxed feel. House plants are essential to helping clean the air indoors, especially during the winter months. If you haven’t read my post about 10 Houseplants that Clean the Air, you’ll want to check it out. House plants don’t have to be boring. They can be little works of art! I am so excited to show you a fun and whimsical way to display plants in your home. Today we are going to make DIY Kokedama – Japanese Moss Ball Planters!
Kokedama literally means moss ball in Japanese. They are also called string gardens. Kokedama are a type of bonsai gardening that dates back to the 1600’s. I’ve read several different tutorials on how to make DIY Kokedama and many differ on methods. Most make it look very easy. It isn’t. So after trying a few methods, I came up with the easiest tutorial that worked well for me.
REAL LIFE TIPS: So many of the tutorials out there make this look easy peasy. It’s more challenging than I thought it would be but please don’t let that deter you. I believe in being totally honest and not making DIY look easier than it is. Making your own DIY Kokedama is messy, so put on clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Your manicure will be destroyed, so if you don’t mind dirt under your finger nails then proceed! Also, I highly recommend preparing the cutting of all the twine, cheese cloth and fishing line ahead of time. Have everything set up before you start, because once you start, everything you touch will have mud on it. Good times!
To make a Kokedama you will need the following supplies: (affiliate links provided for your shopping convenience)
- a 4″ potted plant (I used Jade, Pothos, and Dracanea)
- cheese cloth
- sheet moss
- bonsai soil
- fishing line
- measuring cup
- mixing bowl
DIY Kokedama Step 1: Measure 2 cups of bonsai soil into a large bowl, dish, or tray.
DIY Kokedama Step 2: Hold the plant over the dish of bonsai soil and carefully remove the soil from the plant roots as much as possible, taking extra care to not damage the root system. Allow the potting soil to fall onto the bonsai soil. Set plant aside.
DIY Kokedama Step 3: Pour a bit of water over the soil and mix both the bonsai and potting soil together with your hands. Add more water as necessary until the soil holds it shape when pressed into a ball.
DIY Kokedama Step 4: Cut a large piece of cheese cloth into a square. This piece should be 3-4 inches wider than a dinner plate. Scoop all the soil onto the cheese cloth covered plate and form a hole in the center. This is where you will insert the plant roots. Note- cheese cloth can be found at most supermarkets in the baking aisle or online (link provided in the supply list above)
DIY Kokedama Step 5: Place the plant into the hole and slowly gather up the cheese cloth around the soil. Start forming the soil into a ball shape. The cheese cloth is my secret weapon. It allows you to easily shape and mold the soil into a ball.
DIY Kokedama Step 6: Secure the cheese cloth with twine. Avoid tying the twine to tightly around the base of the plant. We will snip this twine at the end.
DIY Kokedama Step 7: Fold down and spread out the extra cheese cloth at the top.
DIY Kokedama Step 8: Place the sheet moss into the sink and soak with water until moist and pliable. Allow to drain for a few minutes. Tear a section of sheet moss and place the moss green side down on a counter.
DIY Kokedama Step 9: Wrap the sheet moss around the soil ball and start securing with long lengths of fishing line. I cut several lengths of line that were approximately 6 feet long.
DIY Kokedama Step 10: Tightly wrap each section of fishing line around the moss ball in every direction. Add more moss where needed if you have gaps and then wrap with more line. Tie off each end securely. Twine or string can be used also to wrap the kokedama, which is a very popular option hence the name “string gardens”, but I prefer the invisible look of the fishing line.
After you are done wrapping and securing the moss, go ahead and snip the piece of twine at the top which holds the cheese cloth together. Snipping the twine will give the plant stems more room to grow, expand, and allow a more air to circulate around the base.
How to Hang a Kokedama
Once the Kokedama is finished I allowed set it upon a cup to drain any excess moisture that was still inside. Then I decided to hang them from 3 hooks in my ceiling. The way I hung the Kokedama was simple. First, decide how far down from the ceiling you want the Kokedama to hang. Next you need to cut TWO VERY LONG lengths of fishing line or string (mine were 10-12 feet long each). Tie the two fishing lines together in the middle. Then spread them apart into an “X” formation. Set the Kokedama in the middle of the “X” and lift up the lines. Tie the top in a double knot at the desired length and then hang. The fishing lines are practically invisible and give the appearance that the moss balls are floating in the air.
How to Water a Kokedama
If the moss ball feels very light or if the foliage starts wilting then you know it is in need of watering. Every 2-3 weeks (or less depending on the type of plant you choose) dip the Kokedama into a bowl full of water for approximately 10-20 minutes. A dry kokedama will float in the bowl at first then sink down once the water starts being absorbed. Remove the soaked kokedama and drain in a collander for a bit. House plants love being misted too, especially during the dry winter months so don’t skip out on misting.
My kids came home from school and loved the new, vibrant, and fresh look of my office with the new plants and Kokedama. My younger daughter was especially loving the sunny, relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
I love how the DIY Kokedama look in my office! They are fun, whimsical and I love that they are cleaning the air while I work.
I hope try making a DIY Kokedama yourself! Don’t forget to Pin IT if you LOVE it!
Happy Indoor Gardening!
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