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No Pot, No Problem: Here’s How to Grow Plants in Nothing but a Moss Ball

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanJune 8, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/Leo Patrizi

Most of the time, your plants are situated in pretty pots around your home. But what if I told you there’s a style of gardening that allows you to grow a plant in a ball of soil covered with moss? There is, my friends, and it’s called kokedama.

The kokedama garden art—a Japanese practice which translates to “moss ball” in English—has been around for centuries. Instead of putting your plant in a pot, per usual, you’re able to house its roots in a moss ball and hang it up like a typical hanging plant or display it in a dish on your coffee table. With moss on the outside and a soil mix on the inside, the plant is able to retain its moisture and thrive just as well as it would in a pot.

While the method looks intimidating, it’s actually really easy to do a kokedama DIY project at home.

How to do a kokedama DIY project

What you need:
peat moss
potting soil
sheet moss
a plant (ferns make a great option to start with)
your string of choice (twine, waxed string, fishing line, etc.)

  1. Mix together equal parts peat moss and potting soil in a bowl.
  2. Add water, little by little, until it’s wet enough to make a tight ball.
  3. Gently clean any remaining soil from the roots of your plant without harming the roots.
  4. Gently break your soil ball in half. Work the two halves around the roots of your plant and shape until it’s back to being a tight ball, with the roots at the center.
  5. Wet or soak your sheet moss. Squeeze out most of the water, then lie it green side-down on a table. Arrange the pieces close together.
  6. Place your soil ball in the middle of the moss pieces, and wrap the moss around the ball, using your hands to stick it to the soil the best you can.
  7. Use your string to secure the moss to the soil ball. You can use twine, a fishing line, waxed string—whatever you prefer. There’s no wrong way to do this. Just secure it the best you can, going in every direction around the ball.
  8. Once your moss ball is secure, tie the string off. If you want to display your moss ball on a table in a dish, you’re good to go. If you want to hang up your moss ball, tie a section of string near the top of the plant that you can secure to the ceiling, just as you would a hanging plant.

How to care for your kokedama

Now that you have a beautiful kokedama, make sure you know how to properly care for it. You can water your kokedama once a week by soaking it in a bowl of water for around five minutes. You can also lightly mist the moss daily in order to keep it moist. This also helps the moss stay pretty and green.

Want to skip the work? Here’s where to buy one

If you’d rather just purchase an already-made kokedama instead of creating one yourself, there are some great places you can order one online.

1. The Sill Preserved Fern Kokedama, $75

kokedama diy
Photo: The Sill

The Sill’s kokedama is preserved, meaning there’s no watering or upkeep required whatsoever. Just hang it up and enjoy.

2. Zentilly Tillandsia Hanging Kokedama, $14

Photo: Zentilly

Air plants and kokedama make the perfect combo, and this stunning hanging option is proof.

3. Pistils Nursery Philodendron Kokedama, $38

kokedama diy
Photo: Pistils Nursery

Philodendrons also make for a great kokedama plant. This one will vine down from wherever you hang it.

4. World Market Faux Kokedama Fern Set, $30

kokedama
Photo: World Market

Want to go the fake route? You can get a set of three faux kokedama plants that will fool just about anyone.

5. Artisan Moss Preserved Pine Fern Kokedama, $71

Photo: Artisan Moss

Another zero-care option, this plant is preserved, allowing you to enjoy its beauty without lifting a finger.

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