KOKEDAMA – A QUICK GUIDERachel Patey
Kokedama in English, literally means “moss ball” and is a ball of soil, covered with moss, on which an ornamental plant grows. The idea has its origins in Japan, where it is a combination of both bonsai and kusamono planting styles.
Kokodama encapsulates the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-sabi, which can be explained as an appreciation of nature’s imperfections and the transience of natural beauty. Characteristics of Wabi-sabi include simplicity, warmth, earthy, irregular, rough, natural, acceptance and observation. Like Bonsai Kokedama are created as a reflection of the Wabi-sabi principles.
Although it is an ancient Japanese art, Kokodama has experienced a resurgence as a modern art form of uniquely presenting plants and flowers in the home.
Traditionally kokedama were displayed on alter like platforms, slabs, or driftwood. Contemporary kokedama are often hung, think homemade Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Mostly for indoor appreciation, you can hang your Kokodama outdoors in partial shade in summer, try under a parasol over an outside dining table.
Epyphitic plants are good to use as they rely on getting moisture from the air rather than from the soil. Or use moisture loving shade plants like ferns or ivy. Other successful plants are Anthuriums, philodendrons, asparagus ferns, begonias, angel hair vines, coleus, staghorn ferns, echeverias and other succulents. Small flowered orchids looks especially good as a contemporary dining table display.
As the plants don’t have a pot to prevent the soil drying out, keep your Kokodama out of direct sun for any length of time. Mist regularly or hang in a humid bathroom.
Depending on the plant, water once or twice a week, use the plants weight as a guide to when it requires watering. When the moss ball feels lighter than usual, that’s a good clue that it needs to be deeply watered. When watering dunk the ball in water and watch for bubbles. When you no longer see bubbles, your plant is fully watered. Leave to drain before rehanging. Add a good liquid fertiliser to the water as directed by the packaging.
Kokodama are often available (when stocks allow) from Capital Garens garden centres at Neals Wandsworth, Alexandra Palace Garden Centre and Woods of Berkhamsted. Why not join one of our workshops to learn to make your own? Just click here for information and tickets or you can join our email newsletter to hear about any further upcoming events!