Make Your Own Kokedama String Gardens

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 in Projects | 3 Comments

Hoya Kokedama String Gardens

Hoya Obovata string gardens look beautiful in this bedroom window.

We’re fascinated by Kokedama String Gardens, those mystical floating moss balls that somehow contain live, growing plants. Sitting on a coffee table, hanging in a sunny kitchen window, or cascading above a clawfoot tub, we love Kokedama for their simplicity and versatility: they’re ideal for small spaces, live for years, and never have to be repotted.

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.

GATHER MATERIALS
Kokedama string garden materials at Pistils Nursery

Kokedama String Garden materials

  • 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

Philodendron with stripped roots for a Kokedama String Garden

Philodendron with stripped roots for a Kokedama String Garden


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

Philodendron bound in remay cloth for Kokedama

Philodendron bound in remay cloth for Kokedama.


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

Sphagnum moss for Kokedama String Garden

Use sphagnum moss to bind your kokedama.


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!

Philodendron String Garden at Pistils Nursery

The finished philodendron kokedama string garden!

3 Comments

  1. Liz
    December 7, 2015

    I have a kokedama, Heart Leaf Philodendron that I have had for 2 years. I simply soak it in water every 10 days or so. Should I be fertilizing it? If so how?

    Reply
    • Jesse
      December 9, 2015

      Hey Liz,

      Sounds like your heart leaf hoya is doing very well! My general rule is that if a plant seems happy, I don’t like to change the care regimen. If you would like to introduce fertilizer, I’d wait until spring when the plant is in active growth. Simply buy a liquid fertilizer at your local nursery, and follow the instructions to dilute it to about half the recommended concentration. Then soak your kokedama as normal in the fertilizer solution.

      Hope this helps!
      Jesse – Pistils Nursery

      Reply
  2. danijela
    December 3, 2017

    Hello,
    I Love your Kokedamas! How do you ship them not to be damaged!?

    Reply

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