How To Make A Kokedama Hanging Garden

26th January 2017

A simple step-by-step guide on how to make a kokedama hanging plant moss ball

Almost this time last year I was shooting this tutorial piece for the book ‘Urban Jungle – Living & Styling with Plants’ and today I wanted to show you how to make a Kokedama (meaning “moss ball”) hanging garden. Not only do they make a stunning feature of an otherwise blank corner of a room, but they’re also use up very little space if large potted houseplants aren’t an option for you.

If you’re a plant lover and you’ve had your eyes open over the past year or so, you’ll have noticed this new trend of hanging moss ball plants popping up everywhere, taken from the traditional Japanese art of displaying plants. I managed to teach myself to do this on the fly as I shot it, so although the overall concept might sound daunting, it couldn’t be easier to do. The mixing of the soils and wrapping the moss and string is a therapeutic, hands on way to garden and if you choose the right plant, it’ll be happy for as long as you take good care. Mine have been thriving for almost a year now too…

You Will Need:

A space to make mess. If this is at your table indoors, put paper down (and on the floor too). Otherwise, go outside!

Moisture loving plants – ferns are ideal (I’ve used the Asparagus variety) as well as ivy, small trees and orchids.

Sphagnum moss.

All-purpose compost.

Bonsai or Akadama soil.

Garden or waxed twine or thin cord.

Sheet moss.

How to make a Kokedama hanging plant moss ball - step one

|1| Remove the access soil from to expose the roots of the plant taking care not to break them. Wrap the root ball in the Sphagnum moss. This will keep the core of the ball nice and moist.

How to make a Kokedama hanging plant moss ball

|2| In a bucket or large bowl, combine in equal parts the compost and soil, mixing it with water until the soil just clumps together as you make a ball. Form a solid ball large enough to house the roots of the plant (you may need to squeeze out the excess water to do this). Make a hole for the roots of the plant and gently insert it, squeezing the soil back around it.

How to make a Kokedama hanging plant moss ball - step three

|3| Place your plant ball onto a sheet of moss and bring the sides up around the soil, making sure to remove any excess folds, then firmly (but not too tightly) wrap the ball with the string.

How to make a Kokedama hanging plant moss ball

How to make a Kokedama hanging plant moss ball - step four

|4| Wrap the ball with the string until the moss the ball is secure. Tie three additional lengths of string on the plant ready to hang it up and choose a location your plant will love. If you’re unable to hang your Kokedama, you can also display them on a shelf or other surface with a small plate or saucer underneath to catch the excess moisture.

TIP: Keep an eye on how moist the Kokedama is – watering once a week by submerging it or regularly spritzing with water will keep it happy. I add feed into the water during the growing months (Spring and Summer) too. 

A Kokedama hanging garden against a navy background

To see more beautiful DIY plant tutorials and inspirational urban jungle stylings, you can purchase ‘Urban Jungle – Living & Styling with Plants’ here and follow the community on Instagram @urbanjungleblog #urbanjunglebook.

Photography & Styling © Tiffany Grant-Riley (with thanks to Enrich & Endure for the loan of the linen apron). 

Hi, quick question,
When we water them, should I get the water to drip down?

Hi Vania, I find it easier to take them down, water them, squeeze out any excess water and then rehang them. Alternatively, if you can put something underneath them to drip into then it’ll save a mess. Hope that helps!

Got it! Thank you Tiff 🙂

i have a very small terrace so this is a wonderful idea that i will certainly try out. thanks

Hi Anna, you have even more choices for outdoor plants, they look awesome grouped together outside too!

Nice work 🙂 Have you seen those upside-down plants?

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