We started making kokedama at Pistils as an experiment in innovative plant design. Over the years, we’ve honed our own take on the craft of Kokedama String Gardens, and are excited share our approach in an upcoming workshop series.
Kokedama is a Japanese word that, simply translated, means “moss ball”. Sometimes called the “Poor Man’s Bonsai,” the of art of binding plants into kokedama string gardens dates back centuries. The process takes a bit of practice, but is really quite simple. Here’s how it works.
- Soil – We use our own special blend that has just the right proportions of clay, fertilizers and soils – available in the nursery.
- String – Natural jute is easy on the hands, but fishing line is “invisible” – both work.
- Plant – Pick your plant with it’s cultural requirements in mind. Some of our favorites for indoor kokedama are philodendron, pothos, bird’s nest fern, and rhipsalis.
- Scissors – We use our forged iron shears because they’re sturdy, sharp and, well, beautiful.
- Remay cloth – This forms the interior lining of your new bonsai – available in the nursery.
- Sphagnum moss – Also known as “sheet moss,” this is a highly absorptive and beautifully green moss, which is the outer layer of the string garden – available in the nursery.
STRIP YOUR ROOTS
Next, we gently strip the soil from the roots of the plant, easiest when it has been recently watered. Replace with the kokedama soil blend, and place on a circle of remay cloth.
BIND WITH REMAY
Using both hands, we gather the remay cloth around the plant and soil and form a round ball. We then tie the ball with string, keeping it as tight as possible.
BIND WITH MOSS
The final step is to bind the remay ball with moss. We like to use fishing line to give the string garden a more natural look, as the fishing line disappears into the moss. The key is to bind very tightly.
You can find just about everything needed to make a kokedama at Pistils. If you need some inspiration the images on our web shop and our ever-changing in-store display provide an idea of the variety in size, species and scale possible with these hanging sculptural art pieces.
Need help getting started? Our upcoming workshop includes everything needed to make your first kokedama string garden, guidelines for care and maintenance, and some wine to get your creativity flowing!