Plants don’t exclusively belong in a garden, and gardens are not exclusively outdoors. You can create your own hanging, indoor garden with ornamental plants called Kokedama, which literally translates to “moss ball”. It is a derivative of the ancient Japanese garden art of bonsai, or tray planting. It involves wrapping a tree or plant’s roots in a ball of mud and covering it with moss, creating unique, living planters that you can suspend from a string or display on trays.
Integrating Kokedama in your home or office space can go a long way in enhancing the atmosphere and giving your space a boost of energy and creativity. You can go to a store and buy Kokedama, but you can also experience the pleasure and satisfaction of making your very own indoor string garden.
How to make a kokedama
Kokedamas are relatively easy to make and can be very therapeutic. Patience is key; the process requires using both of your hands at the same time, but independently, which forces your mind to be fully present on the task at hand.
To make your own kokedama, you will need:
- sheet moss
- peat moss
- bonsai or potting soil
- small plant of choice
- wire, twine or string
- Mix: half peat moss and half bonsai soil, dampen with water.
- Make a ball: take soil mix and form a ball around the plant roots.
- Wrap: take the sheet moss and cover ball.
- Tie it up: loop the wire, twine or string around the ball several times.
- Hang it: add a separate loop to suspend it.
Plants for making kokedama
Some of the most popular plants used for kokedama are:
- Asparagus fern
- Polka Dot
- “Rex” Begonia
- Waffle plant
- Staghorn fern
- Balfour Aralia
- Bird's Nest fern
Even though making a Kokedama is a fun DIY project and looks very pretty, it can be very tricky to take care of. Before investing your time and resources into making kokedamas, here are the basic things you need to be aware of:
Location and temperature
As most plants do, Kokedamas need some degree of light to thrive, but not that much. Direct light will dry them out quickly, so place them near windows but with some shade, and continue to monitor them. Keep them away from radiators or any form of extreme heat.
Moss thrives in moisture, so your kokedamas will be at their very best in environments with the most humidity. It is recommendable to place them on a humidity tray or have a humidifier wherever you hang them. The higher the atmospheric humidity, the better it is for the kokedama, and also for your health!
Mist daily. Although the mist evaporates almost immediately, it is important to promote a humid environment as often as you can. Whenever the kokedama becomes lighter, it means that it is drying out, so it is definitely time to give them a water bath.
Soak your kokedamas in water at least once or twice a week and let them absorb as much water as they can until they become heavy, then allow the excess to drip for five minutes before hanging them or setting them on the tray again.
To retain appearance and longevity, the kokedamas should always remain small in size. It is recommendable that you fertilize your kokedamas once every month so that they replenish the nutrients they need.
When it comes to fertilizing kokedamas, just a little bit of fertilizer goes a long way. All you need to do is add half of the suggested concentration of soluble organic fertilizer to the watering process. Just a few pinches will suffice!
Just like bonsai, kokedamas need their regular trimming to retain their shape and splendor. To promote healthy growth, you should prune them by half from time to time. As a rule of thumb, always clip off the dead leaves as soon as you spot them.
As your kokedamas grow, and depending on the type of moss you chose, you can revitalize them by repotting at least once a year. Temperature conditions for using real live moss seem to be the opposite of what your plant needs, which makes it very hard to maintain indoors with dry atmospheres. Most kokedamas tend to be wrapped with a preserved, green-tinted sheet moss that gives off the impression that it is alive and will retain this color for a long time, which is why it usually is the best choice.
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