How to make a kokedama step by step

Do you know what a kokedama plant is ? Currently, they are in fashion almost all over the world, but it is one of the oldest Japanese traditions related to gardening and connecting with nature. Actually “Kokedama” is the name given to a Japanese technique used to create ornamental plants using a ball of moss and, specifically, it is what the word means: “Koke” means “moss” and “Lady”means “ball”. With this oriental gardening technique we can have ornamental plants of small or medium size, both indoors and outdoors, in a very original way and that during its manufacture, and then having it nearby, helps us to connect more with nature and create a more environment relaxed. You can plant small plants with or without flowers, succulents or succulents, small shrubs or bonsai, among other options.

Gather the plant of your choice, moss, coconut fiber, sand, earth, clay and yarn and get ready to learn how to make a kokedama step by step at home.

Steps to follow:

1

To start making your own kokedama at home you will need to gather the following materials :

  • The plant of your choice.
  • Soil, better if it is a mixture of peat and substrate for bonsai (akadama).
  • Clay.
  • Fine river sand.
  • Moss.
  • Coconut fiber (optional).
  • Thread or twine.

The plant should preferably be slow-growing or underdeveloped, not growing much. This way you won’t need to change the ball or enlarge it very often. In the image we can see each material, except the plant of your choice, although the quantities will vary depending on how big the ball needs to be made.

Some of the most common kokedama plants are orchids , bonsai of all kinds, ribbons, small ivy, coleus, ferns, and succulents. 

Now, when you have all the material, you can continue with the following steps to learn how to make a kokedama plant .

How to make a kokedama step by step - Step 1

2

The first step after gathering the necessary material is to make the kokedama ball by squeezing and modeling the peat with the bonsai substrate, while doing it, add sand and clay , the latter especially in case you have not included a substrate for bonsai . Ideally, you should make 1 part of bonsai substrate (akadama) or clay and 3 parts of peat or normal soil for plants and a little fine river sand.

Make sure it is as round as possible and keep the moisture in the soil, which also provides oxygenation, for this if you use purchased soil already prepared you will have enough, but if you think it dries while you handle it, it is best to moisten your hands with a little mineral water.

Go moistening the mixture and giving it shape, trying to leave a hole or hole in the center, without going through the base, leaving several centimeters thick for the base.

3

Now that you have the base that will cover the roots and feed the plant, you just have to place the plant you have chosen in the hole. But, before placing it, it is best to trim the roots just enough so that it fits smoothly and make sure you place it well centered. Add a little more of the soil mixture to cover the top so that no roots are left in the air.

How to make a kokedama step by step - Step 3

4

Take the string, fine rope or thread that you have chosen to sew the ball and wrap it around the ball several times, covering it like a cobweb so that the plant support stays well together and is more stable.

Moisten the moss a little with a spray or spray and cover the already sewn ball with this moss. If you want to use coconut fiber, this is the time to mix it with the moss to place it. This will help the ball retain the necessary moisture, filtering correctly, and will give it a more decorative touch.

5

now you just have to place the kokedama at home , indoors or outdoors, wherever you prefer. You can put it on a decorative plate, giving the base a little shape or placing it between stones, or you can make a hanging kokedama , like the ones in the image, placing more thread or string outside the ball and tying it to the ceiling or some other hook.

How to make a kokedama step by step - Step 5

6

To finish, in this last step, we explain how kokedama is cared for , something that you have to apply daily from the first moment so that the plant does not die in a short time. Among the main kokedama cares we highlight the following and if you follow these tips well you will enjoy this plant for several years.

  • Do not expose it to direct sun , as the moss can become excessively dry and the plant lack water or even burn.
  • Never squeeze the kokedama ball to drain the water, let it use it as needed and expel the possible excess by itself.
  • If you live in a dry climate environment, you can spray the leaves of the plant with a water spray or spray when they do not have direct sun. If you do it with direct sun, the leaves will burn.
  • To water a kokedama you just have to wait until the ball is quite dry or completely dry to carry out the well-known immersion irrigation or “the tray irrigation technique”. Fill a large container with mineral water and place the ball so that it is covered about four fingers or half of it. Allow it to absorb water for 10-15 minutes, then remove it and allow the excess to drain. Be careful with the waterings so that the ball and the whole plant itself does not dry out, but neither does it puddle and drown, make sure it can drain well.
  • Remember to turn the ball so that the light reaches all parts of the plant well and it does not twist excessively, to reach natural light, unbalancing the ball.
  • Control possible pests such as aphids, fungi, mealybugs, etc. 
  • Clean the leaves, if they are large or wide, once a week to remove accumulated dust. Use a moistened cotton cloth or gauze.
  • After the blooms, prune the plant by trimming the parched parts and the parts where all the flowers have fallen. Leave the parts that are totally healthy.
  • You can use diluted fertilizers in the irrigation water.
  • If parts of the yarn weave break, you can either sew it to the moss ball or add more twine or thread .
  • Lastly, if you have cats or other pets that might be attracted to this ornamental plant to play with or browse, place it out of their reach. Thus, you will avoid problems in the plant and that your pets can become intoxicated, depending on the type of plant you have chosen.

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