How do you make a kokedama, this ball of foam from the Japanese tradition?

Invented in the 1990s in Japan, the art of kokedama has crossed land and oceans to become a must-have in plant decoration. Want to exhibit one at home but want to make it yourself? You can read how that works in this article.

What is this Japanese plant art?

Kokedama translates to “moss ball”. As the name suggests, with this technique you can grow a plant not in a pot but in potting soil surrounded by moss. This plant art stems from several ancestral Japanese traditions, including bonsai, forcing a tree to stay small. The care of this plant is such that the kokedama technique offers a beautiful, more accessible alternative.

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Which plant to use?

In theory, you can use any plant to make your kokedama, but it’s better to learn about maintenance conditions and exposure needs before choosing one or the other. In practice, we prefer to go for a tropical plant that likes moisture and does not need direct sunlight. This is the best option so that you can install your kokedama indoors and not risk the plant dying.

You can start with ivy or ferns, which you pick up directly in the forest, or with cacti that adapt well to this type of technique.

Photo: Shutterstock

How do you make a kokedama?

To reproduce the art of kokedama at home, all you need is a few ingredients and a little dexterity:

  • from the ground,
  • pozzolan, a volcanic rock that will be used to drain water,
  • some water,
  • moss (get it at a garden center),
  • a plant.

For the rest you can follow all the steps in this tutorial broadcast on the show Sileand it grows! secure France 5

What maintenance ensures that a kokedama lasts a long time?

Again, it all depends on the plant you have chosen. For some it will be necessary to water them regularly and give them a bath, at room temperature for about ten minutes, once a week or a month for the less greedy among them. When the bath is done, squeeze the foam to release the water and let it drain for about thirty minutes before putting your plant back in its place.

Avoid exposing your kokedama to direct sunlight and install it, directly on the ground or hanging, in a place without drafts.

Photo: Shutterstock

The most important thing is to carefully observe your kokedama. Foam too dry? It’s time to moisten it. Yellowing leaves? The plant is probably thirsty!

If your plant does get a little too big, don’t forget to prune it so that it stays in place in its bulb substrate.

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