How To Make A Kokedama For Indoor Gardens: A Quick Guide

kokedama guide

If you’re tired of growing your plants in the old pot fashion way, then you should consider making a Kokedama. Kokedama is a ball of soil covered with moss in which a plant can grow without the need for a pot.

The moss ball will be the support of your plant or sculped tree for a good 2 to 3 years. Once the roots of the plant start growing out of the structure, then it’s a sight to make a bigger Kokedama or move the plant to another place.

Kokedama was created in Japan and it is said that it was used to absorb the negative energy around you, offering a peaceful and calm vibe in the room it is placed. This is in some sort, scientifically true because Kokedama will absorb any dangerous chemical in the air and transform it into real pure oxygen.

Kokedama is a combination of Narai bonsai and Kusamono planting styles. At first, you could only find Kokedama in Japanese gardens, but nowadays this style of planting has gotten so popular around the globe that you’ll be able to find Kokedama almost everywhere.

Table list of the things that you need for one normal size kokedama ball.

Tools & ingredientsQuantityBuy link
Light potting mix10 cupsPREMIUM Potting Soil Mix ($19.95)
Sheet moss16×16 inches squarePreserved Sheet Carpet MOSS ($6.00)
Sphagnum moss4 cupsSphagnum Moss 1oz ($4.99)
Water4 cups~
Thin thread of cotton~100 feet longBlack and White Thread ($1.50)
Big bowl1Galvanized Tin Container ($12.59)
Mug1~
Pair of scissors1Vintage Black Garden Shears ($8.00)
A plant of your choice1~
All links are from Etsy

Note: Although most of the things on the list are easy to get, they can be replaced with similar objects as long as the result is the same.

If you don’t want to buy all the ingredients separately, you can also buy a kokedama kit from Etsy (click here to check it out).

How to make a Kokedama in 4 easy Steps

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to make a homemade Kokedama with only the materials we mentioned before.

1. Mold a mud ball

The first thing you’ll need to do to make a Kokedama is grabbing your bucket and pour the 10 cups of potting soil in.

Now mix in some water and firmly stir the soil to a muddy consistency. Don’t add too much water, the potting soil has to become mud that can be molded into a ball.

If you put too much water in the mixture, you won’t be able to mold a ball.

2. Prepare the indoor plant

In this step, you want to put the ball of mud aside and focus on the indoor plant that you want to use.

Remove the plant from its original pot and gently shake off the soil that it has around its roots.

After you have done this, you should only have a plant with roots and without soil.

Take the 4 cups of sphagnum moss, make it damp, and gently put it around the roots of the plant. Take a thin cotton thread and wrap it very loosely around the sphagnum moss (so that it doesn’t come apart).

3. Put the plant inside the mud ball

You want to take your ball of mud again and divide the ball into two pieces with a simple but gentle twist. After you’ve done this successfully, place the plant between the two halves and firmly reform the ball around the plant. 

Pay attention to the size of the ball. Aim to make the compost ball as big as the original pot.

Continue to give shape to the unity between the new compost mix and the plant until you have a solid ball sustaining the plant.

4. Wrap the Sheet moss around the mud ball

Once the mud ball is holding together firmly, wrap the sheet of carpet moss around it and gather the moss around the stem of the plant.

Once you’ve done this successfully, it’s time to wrap the thin thread of cotton around the ball.

Wrap the thread firmly around the moss ball until the ball is round. You might have to squeeze the ball to make it around.

use your scissors to trim the excess moss around the root ball until you have a nice-looking plant wrapped around a ball of carpet moss.

Lastly, if you want to hang the kokedama, wrap another piece (or three) of twine around the neck of the ball, and your Kokedama will be ready to hang anywhere you like.

How to water a Kokedama

The first thing you need to do to water a Kokedama is to fill a bowl or recipient with water. Once you’ve done this put your Kokedama inside the mater (plant side up), making sure it is only submerged halfway in. This is important because you only want to water the roots, not the whole Kokedama.

Wait until the Kokedama is completely submerged, you’ll notice it will begin to absorb some of the water of the bowl. The soaking will be complete after a good 10 to 25 minutes (depending on the size of the Kokedama). Pay attention to pull it out if it gets saturated with water.

Once the Kokedama has absorbed as much water as it needs, take the moss ball out of the water and squeeze it until you eliminate all excess water.

Finally, hang the Kokedama back where it was and let it dry.

How often to water a Kokedama

As a general rule, a kokedama has to be watered only once a week.

There isn’t really an exact period for watering a Kokedama because this will always depend on where the plant is located. But you’ll notice the best frequency for your Kokedama as you continue to water it.

Before you water a Kokedama make sure it needs it. To find out, jab in a wooden toothpick or anything similar inside the moss ball. If the toothpick comes out dry, then it’s time to water the Kokedama.

Let your Kokedama dry out completely between soakings, it is very important to not overwater a Kokedama.

Another way to check if your kokedama needs water is to pick it up. If the ball feels heavy, there is enough water inside. If the ball feels light, there is not enough water in the kokedama and you probably want to give it some water.

Can you make a Kokedama without moss?

Yes, you can make a Kokedama without moss.

There is more than one way to make a Kokedama. Everybody knows about the most common way to make a Kokedama, which is wrapping the bail of soil with a sheet of carpet moss, but there are also other alternatives.

One way is replacing the moss with a piece of cloth. Prepare the wall of soil and move the plant from its original pot just like the average method, but later wrap the soil ball with a piece of cloth to later tie it with the garden twine. 

You can even wrap your Kokedama with cotton-colored twine afterward to give it a better look.

Another way to wrap the soil ball is with a tubular net. First pot the ball around the net, and later make a hole in the ball to put in the plant. Finally, secure everything with garden twine once again to hold your plant tight inside the soil ball.

Where to put a Kokedama

This will always depend on what type of plant you’re growing inside your Kokedama, but for instance, it’s always better to avoid sunny spots because the moss will dry out for sure.

Kokedamas will also not tolerate very cold winters. So if you live in a cold area, make sure you place you’re Kokedama someplace inside the house.

Why is my Kokedama dying?

This could be many reasons. The most common reasons for your Kokedama dying will be overwatering, or underwatering. Monitoring the watering of your plant is key for healthy growth.

Another reason your Kokedama is dying can be wild temperatures, this means either it’s too hot or too cold for in the room you hung your Kokedama.

You’re Kokedama may also by dying because you used the wrong type of soil or insufficiency of nutrients. So if you’re a beginner in gardening, try to seek help from an expert to take care of you’re Kokedama.

How long will my Kokedama live?

A Kokedama usually lasts between 1 – 2 years if cared for correctly. After this time, you’ll start to notice the plant needs a repot or a re-wrap to freshen up the soil.

Conclusion

Kokedama sare a very decorative way to grow your plants that will give your home a very calm and serene vibe. They will also freshen up the air in the room and eliminate bad energies. So feel free to make your own homemade Kokedama and live this incredible experience.