Looking for the latest method to display a houseplant? The Japanese form of ‘kokedama’ might be the answer. Picture a plant without a traditional container, surrounded by a mud ball, wrapped in
moss and string, and then suspended from your ceiling. This is certainly an adventurous, creative, and wonderfully messy undertaking. If you are ready listed here are the steps-let’s kokedama!
Clay-based akadama (bonsai soil- look for resource at garden centers or on-line purchasing)
Live-harvested sheet moss, if available (or dried sheet moss-moistened)
Waxed polyester or cotton cord (available at hardware or craft outlets)
Tropical plants: anthuriums, philodendrons, asparagus ferns, orchids, begonias, angel hair vines,
coleus, staghorn ferns, echeverias, other succulents, and herbs.
Mix two-thirds peat moss with a third akadama, a surface-mined mineral with the consistency of granular clay that drains rapidly, but also achieves the mud-cake composition (the glue) needed to
hold the roots together. In a bucket, mix the peat and akadama together until the mixture is sopping wet. Then take the chosen tropical plant and shake off the original soil until the majority of the roots are exposed (an exception are plants that wilt easily, such as coleus and ferns – their roots and the original soil are left more intact)
Then mold an inch-deep layer of the soggy akadama/peat soil mixture onto the roots, creating a ball about the same volume as the original pot Give the ball a squeeze to release the dripping moisture and lay out a blanket of sheet moss to envelope the ball, gathering it around the stem. Then comes a length of waxed polyester or cotton cord. Wrap the moss so it is secure and tie the cord into the ball – then create the desired length of cord for hanging, make a loop, attach to the ball and suspend!
CARE AND CONDITIONS –
Kokedama isn’t exactly carefree. Depending on the weather (if suspending outside) and the type of plant used, plants will need watering twice a week or more. Feel the moss ball’s weight, if heavy,
moisture level is sufficient, if lighter, it’s time to add moisture. Take the hanging plant down and submerge in a bucket of water for five to 10 minutes, then hang where the moss ball can drip
before re-hanging. Note for indoor use: Shedding (the moss) will be an issue so, you may not want to hang your kokedama over a carpeted area. Or you may want to wait and make your moss ball in the summer and hang it in a partially shaded location where watering and shedding is a less messy option.
Thanks to Peter Smith of City Planter (cityplanter.com) that has helped to put kokedama on the US map.