The Art of Kokedama

Kokedama (literal translation: moss ball) are sometimes called ‘Japanese string gardens’ or ‘kokedama hanging gardens’.  Most often they are hung, but they can also be displayed on decorative plates or pedestals.  They are easy to care for, but as in choosing any plant, selection of the best variety for you is based on the amount of light the plant will receive.  You can choose almost any type of plant, but succulents or those with thicker leaves are better for people with limited time to water.  Slower growing plants need less frequent re-mossing than more vigorous growers.

Hickory Grove always has a selection of kokedama ready for purchase; however, if you’d like something special, we’d be happy to make one for you.  Please allow several days for special orders.

Caring for your kokedama

  • Display in an area that has the correct amount of light for your plant’s needs.
  • Water the kokedama when the plant feels light.  Submerge the plant in a bucket of water to completely cover the ball.  Soak until bubbles stop (approximately 3-5 minutes).  Let drip at least 10 minutes before placing back on display plate or hanger.
  • Regularly remove any brown, spotted, or damaged foliage.
  • Fertilize as necessary.  For kokedama, this usually means fertilizing twice per month April through October using half-strength fertilizer.  Use a balanced fertilizer such as Jack’s Classic 20-20-20. Use half the amount of fertilizer in the recommended amount of water.  Soak your kokedama in the fertilizer solution the same as you would normally water the plant.  Never fertilize an extremely dry or wilted plant.  Rehydrate the plant and then wait several hours or until the next day to fertilize.
  • On rare occasions, mold can form on the moss.  This may be due to too frequent watering or lack of air around the plant.  If this happens, wipe off the mold with a damp rag moistened with diluted dish soap.
  • If roots grow out of the moss ball you can trim them or plant the whole moss ball in a pot (after removing the string) or add another layer of soil, moss and string.   You can also leave the roots exposed; they provide an interesting look at no detriment to the plant.