Kokedama is a Japanese gardening method where a plant’s roots are wrapped in moss, bound by string and suspended. The name comes from the Japanese koke, meaning “moss” and dama meaning “ball.” Although this art form is centuries old, it now takes on a more modern and minimalist form.
String gardens are a great way to add a natural element to your home and bring the outdoors in. They’re easy to create and simple to care for, making this DIY project a win-win.
To help you create your own, we’ve compiled a how-to guide with 7 simple steps. Before you get started, check out the materials you’ll need below:
Plants that require little root space are best for string gardens. Before making your selection, research which plants will thrive in the elements of your desired spot. We recommend the following:
There are also certain plants that won’t work well for a kokedama string garden. Cacti and succulents may seem like a viable option due to their trendy reputation, although the loose, sandy soil of these plants make it hard to create the ball you need for your kokedama. Use our list below to help you create a garden that will flourish and thrive.
With your supplies in hand, it’s time to get to work. Create a few kokedama at a time for a larger display, indoors or out!
Step 1: Remove the plant from its current home and prune the roots.
Be gentle as you remove excess soil and untangle healthy roots just as you would when repotting a plant quick soak in room temperature water. At this point, you’ll also want to soak the sphagnum moss in water too.
Step 2: Wrap the roots with sphagnum moss.
Remove the sphagnum moss from the water, and be sure you have enough to surround the plant’s roots. Ring out the moss to remove any excess water and wrap it around the roots securing with the cotton thread.
Step 3: Mix the peat, bonsai and potting soil together.
We recommend a mixture including 4 cups of potting soil, 1 cup peat, 1 cup bonsai and 1 cup of water. Although, you will know you’ve achieved the right consistency when the soil is clay-like and easily sticks together.
Pro Tip: Gradually add water to the mixture if necessary.
Step 4: Use the soil mixture to mold a ball around the roots.
Use the soil mixture to create a ball big enough to surround the moss-covered roots. If you’re having trouble getting the soil to bind together just add more soil and water.
Step 5: Cover the ball with sheet moss.
Wrap the sheet moss around the soil base and fasten with twine. You’ll want to be sure the twine is secure as this is what your plant will be hanging from.
Step 6: Attach more twine and create a loop the plant will hang from.
Continue to wrap the twine around the moss and tie a knot when you think it feels secured enough to stay put and hang properly. Don’t forget to attach a loop to the existing twine, be sure to measure out the appropriate length for the twine since this is what your kokedama will be hanging from.
Step 7: Pick a spot and hang it up.
With proper maintenance and care your string garden should prosper just about anywhere. Most indoor plants tend to enjoy the humidity and in-direct sunlight. Display your string garden where the conditions are best suited for the plant’s needs.
Now that you’ve created your own kokedama string garden, make sure you continue to care for it properly. Although maintenance will depend on the specific plant you’ve selected, we’ve listed a few general care guidelines below.
Take your gardening skills to new heights and create your own Japanese inspired string garden. You can find our complete guide with step-by-step instructions below. Save them for a later project, share them with friends or print them to use as you go!
Take your gardening skills to new heights and create your own Japanese inspired string garden. You can find our complete guide with step-by-step instructions below. Save them for a later project, share them with friends or print them to use as you go. Happy DIY’ing!
String gardens make a great gifting item, whether for a special occasion or for no reason at all. Just pick out a few of your favorite plants and create something unique for anyone on your list.