What is Kokedama Origin Materials and how to make kokedama


Kokedama is a type of plant arrangement that consists of a sphere of earth, covered in green or live moss, and which can be hung from the ceiling or on the trunk of a tree, for example. It is customary to use only one plant in each kokedama, replacing a common pot. Shade or semi-shade plants are used, with a preference for moist substrates, so kokedamas are widely used to decorate indoor spaces.

Furthermore, if you have little space in your home, but want a plant to brighten up the space, it is perfect for you. As it can be hung, it is possible to use spaces that are rarely accessed and also give the room more dimension.

Meaning of kokedama

Despite seeming like a single word, kokedama is made up of two terms that, together, literally mean “moss ball”. Thus, “koke” is moss, and “dama” means ball in Japanese. This name explains very well what kokedama is, as it is a plant rooted in a sphere of substrate, which is covered in moss.

Despite being a technique linked to the Wabi Sabi philosophy, kokedama has now re-emerged as an alternative and great ally in decorating indoor environments with limited space.

Origin of kokedama

It has its origins in Japan, in very ancient times. It is known that kokedama is a cousin of bonsai, another Japanese plant cultivation technique, and is called “the poor man’s bonsai”, due to its ease of care.

The kokedama and bonsai techniques are strongly linked to the philosophy of Wabi Sabi, which has as one of its principles the appreciation of the imperfection of things. So, while you’re assembling your kokedama, take a deep breath, enjoy the process and don’t worry about achieving a perfect sphere for your plant.

Materials and how to make kokedama

To assemble your kokedama, you only need a few materials, some of which you may already have at home. You can find everything in a garden center and in a craft or construction materials store. See below everything you need and how to create a kokedama!


The materials you need to assemble the kokedama are: substrate, sphagnum moss, green moss, some type of thread or rope, and scissors. As for the substrate, clayey soil is traditionally used, as it allows the earth sphere to be shaped well. To cover the kokedama, you can use green moss, which is sold in trays, or moist sphagnum moss.

And, to finish assembling the kokedama, use nylon thread, for a cleaner look. Sisal rope is also a good alternative, which can be used to create designs on your kokedama and add a rustic touch to the decor.

2-Riding the ball

Now that you have all the materials on hand, it’s time to assemble the kokedama ball. First, leave the sphagnum moss in water for a few minutes. Then, remove excess water from the sphagnum and mix it, little by little, with the soil, until it acquires enough consistency to shape. You will feel a muddy but still firm texture.

With this earth, start shaping your kokedama ball. If you can’t form a ball of soil, add a little more water or sphagnum moss; If the soil mixture is too liquid, add more substrate.

3-Placing the plant

After starting to shape the ball, make a hole in the middle or divide the ball into two parts, to then place your plant. Then, shape the ball of earth a little more, to start surrounding it with pieces of green moss. This process is a bit laborious, so have a little patience.

At this stage, don’t worry if the green moss coating isn’t giving the appearance of a ball. This will be resolved in the next stage of making it.

4-Tying and hanging

Once you’ve finished covering the entire ball with green moss, it’s time to tie your kokedama. Carefully thread the rope or thread firmly so that the moss is firmly attached to the ball. The important thing is to feel that the plant and the moss ball are firm.

After tying a knot with the thread, your kokedama is ready! You can now hang it in your home and, to do this, you can make a support with the sisal rope or colored thread that you used to finish the kokedama.

Plants used to make kokedamas and tips

You’ve probably already seen kokedamas made of succulents, bromeliads and orchids. But, did you know that these are plants that require different preparation for kokedama? Come check out our tips, as well as discover how and which other plants to choose to create your own kokedama.

1-Indoor or shade plant preferences

The plants used are, preferably, shade plants. It is also good to give preference to plants that like humidity, as the green moss, used in kokedama covering, is also a shade and humid environment plant. Because of these characteristics, kokedama is widely used to decorate indoor spaces. Furthermore, as it can be hung, it is a great option for decorating small spaces or spaces with few available surfaces.

There are several indoor plants that do well in kokedamas, such as peace lily, anthurium, alocasia, watermelon peperomia, zamioculca, and many others.

2-Kokedama of orchids or bromeliads

For the most part, orchids and bromeliads are plants that do well in shady environments, so they are great alternatives for those who want kokedamas with flowers. These are plants that require moist soil and a moist environment, but cannot live in a soggy substrate.

Because of this, the preparation of orchid and bromeliad kokedama changes when making the substrate ball: in the center of the sphere, where the roots are, place a mixture of pine bark, coconut shell and charcoal, to ensure that the roots do not become waterlogged. You can also add pieces of Styrofoam or pebbles.

3-Succulent kokedama

Just like orchids and bromeliads, succulents require special preparation of the substrate. As succulents have fleshier structures, which retain water, they require much less watering and well-drained soil. To do this, add sand to the substrate when assembling the succulent kokedama, and do not add sphagnum moss, as this would make the soil too wet.

The maximum proportion is one part land to two parts sand. Add sand and water little by little, so that you achieve the ideal consistency to shape the substrate ball.

4-Hanging plants

These are famous for being hanging plants, and their beauty is enhanced when hanging plants are used. There is a wide variety of hanging and shade plants, which have beautiful foliage to decorate the environment. Some examples of this type of plant are the Brazilian philodendron, the hanging asparagus and the boa constrictor.

You can also opt for a fern or a maidenhair, which have smaller leaves. And, if you want a hanging plant with beautiful flowers, the May flower is a great option for you to place in the kokedama.

How to care for kokedama

It does not require much care for its maintenance, but there are some key points to pay attention to, such as lighting, watering and fertilization ideas for kokedama. Check out the tips below to keep your kokedama strong and healthy for much longer!

1-Lighting and watering the kokedama

As shade plants are used, make sure not to let your kokedama receive direct sun, but keep your plant in a very bright place. A good place for the kokedama is near a window, as this ensures that it receives indirect lighting.

For watering, use a common watering can; just be careful not to get water on furniture or the floor. Or, every week, just dip the kokedama ball in a pot or container of water for a few minutes. Let the excess water drain and return the kokedama to its place. This ensures that the plant receives enough water to survive.

2-Kokedama maintenance

Its maintenance is very simple. In addition to basic care, such as lighting, watering and fertilizing, be aware if your plant presents sudden changes. Burnt leaves, for example, can occur from too much sunlight. If you notice dry leaves, remove them from your plant and make sure it doesn’t become dehydrated, especially if the climate is very dry.

Remember that moss is also a plant and likes plenty of humidity. So, if you notice that the moss is dry, do an emergency watering; or, if you prefer, spray water only on the moss between waterings.

3-Kokedama fertilizer

For easy and simple fertilization of kokedama, use a slow-release fertilizer, such as cote. It comes in the form of granules or small spheres, which are added to the substrate and guarantee the fertilization of your plant for a few months. The cote is very practical, and its dosage depends on the manufacturer, so follow the instructions on the packaging exactly.

Another way to fertilize it is using a water-soluble fertilizer. Simply dissolve the fertilizer in a pot of water and water by dipping, as explained above.

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