How to Grow: Kokedama

Listen to this podcast on how to grow a kokedama indoor houseplant.


Kokedama, Florist, SpringI’m always looking for new plants and growing techniques. That’s why I’m fascinated with kokedama hanging houseplants. What’s kokedama? Kokedama is an ancient form of Japanese bonsai. Actually, it’s also called poor man’s bonsai because it is so easy to do.

The idea is to plant a small houseplant in a ball of clay and peat moss surrounded by green sphagnum moss and held together with twine. The ball and plant, can then be hung in a room or in a tray on a table or plant stand.

Interested? Here’s what to do. Choose slow growing plants with small root systems, and ones that like a wet soil. For a shady spot, try using pothos, ivy, begonia or creeping fig. In a sunnier room, try sedum, mint or wandering jew. To make a small kokedama, create a 4-inch diameter root ball using clay and peat moss. Soak it until wet. You can also use a heavy potting soil.

Select a small plant, remove it from its pot and knock off as much of the potting soil as possible. Open the clay and moss ball and place the root system in the center. Then seal it back up.

Next, moisten the green sheet sphagnum moss. Take pieces and wrap it around the soil ball. Using twine or fishing line, secure the sphagnum moss to the root ball. If you’re hanging your kokedama, make a loop with the twine to attach to a hanger.

Keep your kokedama healthy by soaking it in a bowl of water for 5 to 10 minutes when it’s dry. You can tell its dry by the weight of the ball. Periodically, add fertilizer to the bowl of water. Once you get the hang of kokedama houseplants, you can make outdoor kokedama flowers and even woody plants.

Excerpted from the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio.

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