DIY Kokedama Moss Ball

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If your looking for something a bit different and a little more challenging to try with the kids, why not turn a few left over plants into kokedama Moss balls?

Honestly, if your looking to try a new garden project this one is a must!

Simple DIY  kokedama made with strawberry plant

What is a DIY Kokedama Moss Ball

Kokedama are simply balls of soil held together with moss and string, they’re used to contain the roots of small ornamental plants in Japan, however we decided to try our own method.

Traditionally in Japan they are used to grow bonsai or ornamental plants indoors which clean the air and help bring nature indoors. You can buy a Kokedama moss ball here but its so simple to make your own.

Materials we used to make a kokedama

Supplies you need Kokedama Moss Ball String Gardens.

The traditional way to make kokedama is to use peat moss and clay, however we decided to try to make ours using what we had available  so this is what we used.

  • Multipurpose Compost or a good soil based compost
  • Broken egg shells
  • Blood fish and bone powder.
  • A little well rotted manure
  • String, twine, wire, fishing line or wool.
  • Scissors
  • Water
  • A water mister -optional
  • Live Moss or grass clippings or thatch from your lawn
  • Some small plants. We used some rooted strawberry cuttings from last year , a few fern cuttings and even some ivy seedlings that needed potted up, but you could do this with any small plant.

Don’t be tempted to use large plants here as they will struggle with the conditions. These kokedama’s are meant to be a temporary container for your plants. After a year they really should be transferred to a bigger space or pot.

Where to get Moss For your Kokedama

I believe collecting wild moss is restricted in the UK, so I bought my moss here. Collecting moss can destroy ecosystems so please be responsible when trying this craft.

Tightly wound kokedama Moss ball
Use wool or string to bind the moss tightly around the soil ball.

So, How Do You Make A Kokedama Moss Ball Garden?

Take your chosen plants out of the pot and remove any loose soil from around the roots.

Make up a mix of compost, well rotted manure and perlite or egg shells with a handful of blood fish bone fertilizer.

Spritz with water to make the soil damp. It should be damp enough so it sticks into a ball when squeezed together.

Gently, take a ball of soil big enough for the roots to be contained inside.

Crack it open and  place the roots in between the 2 halves of the compost ball

Press them together and mould the ball back into a ball shape.

Now simply take your damp moss and lay it out on the table in a sheet. Try not to leave gaps or holes.

Lay the moulded compost ball with your plant roots inside and gently wrap it in the moss like your wrapping a present.

Start wrapping string or wool (we used bright blue wool here so you can see what we did and also because it matches the blue pots in the rest of the garden) around the ball trying to go in different directions so the thread or string holds in all the loose ends of the moss.

Tie off the string to stop it from unwinding once you’ve secured the moss to the ball. Now create a large loop of string so you can hang your moss Ball and remove the excess string.

Gently lay your moss ball in a bucket of water so it can soak up some water and your all done.

All that’s left to do is to hang your new Kokedama. Hang indoors or out anywhere you like and enjoy the beautiful garden activity. We made ours to decorate the rather plain fence we have.

How to care for Your Kokedama Moss Balls.

Try to mist the kokedama moss ball everyday with a plant mister or sprayer.

And once  a week, take down the kokedama and check the wool is still intact and holding well.

While you have it down you will need to remember to fill a bowl of water with some liquid fertilizer or home made comfrey tea (watered down). Then sit the kokedama in it to soak for a while before you hang it up outside to let the excess drip out, before hanging them up again. 

Also, make sure you take off any dead leaves or insects you see to keep your kokedama fresh and looking good.

If you like this garden activity why not try a few more?

Leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve tried making a kokedama too or if there’s another activity you’d like us to try.

Remember, These aren’t true bonsai, so they’re not intended to stay small over the years.

I plan to keep mine for a year, then plant them out in the garden once they’ve outgrown their moss balls. Usually when you see the roots growing out of the moss ball. Then it will be time to make new kokedama moss balls!

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