How to Make Kokedama

Learn how to make kokedamas for your home or garden with this fun project.

| December 2015

  • Derived from bonsai, the art of training and manipulating small trees and shrubs to evoke the majesty of their ancient counterparts, kokedamas will add intrigue and whimsy to your space.
    Photo by Ramsay de Give and Maria Lawson
  • Create a more calming, natural environment in your home or workplace with stylish DIY projects from “Root in Design” by Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give.
    Cover courtesy Ten Speed Press

Indoor plants play a large role in the design and feel of a space. And for those without a yard, they’re a way to stay connected to nature. Add simple, stylish indoor plants to your home design with Rooted by Design (Ten Speed Press, 2015) by Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give, the owners of Sprout Home gardening stores. Create minimal, otherworldly beauty for any space with homemade kokedamas.

Kokedama is a free-form planting method that derives from bonsai, which is the practice of training and manipulating small trees and shrubs to evoke the majesty of their ancient counterparts found in nature. Kokedama has intrigued the garden and craft world with its versatility and inherent charm. It involves wrapping a plant’s roots with soil and moss to create something that looks like a living sculpture. Kokedamas are designed to dangle; by suspending them in the air with colorful twine, you can create a hanging garden for inside your home or even outdoors in the warmer seasons. They can also sit on a shallow dish for display.

Kokedamas are wrapped in an exterior layer of moss. Select plants that will work well in an environment that provides bright but indirect natural light. Direct sun will cause kokedamas to dry out and fade quickly. Ideal options are Anthurium, Epipremnum pinnatum, ferns, Ficus pumila, Fittonia, most orchids, Philodendron, Pilea, Peperomia, and Selaginella, among others. As an alternative for sunnier locations, consider using preserved moss instead of living and choose your plants accordingly.

Make Your Own Kokedama

Materials List:
• 1 small houseplant in 4” pot
• Pruners
• An 8:3 ratio of peat moss and bonsai soil (for a 4” plant use 2 cups peat moss, 3⁄4 cup bonsai soil)
• Plastic grocery bag or small bucket
• A small container of water
• Gloves (optional)
• Sphagnum moss for wrapping the soil
• Strong string or twine
• Sheet moss (dried or live, depending on your project)

Step 1: Gently remove the plant from the pot that it came in. Remove the soil from the roots until most of the soil is fully separated from the root system. Plants with finer root systems may need to be rinsed in the sink to help remove the soil. Prune the roots and leaves to the size you want.

Step 2: Mix together the peat moss and bonsai soil in a plastic grocery bag or bucket. (Wear gloves if you like.) Add small splashes of water as you mix. Keep mixing until the mixture can be formed into a firm ball of soil with your hands.

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