Mossball Care Instructions

Mossball (Kokedama)

Kokedama is a Japanese word that, simply translated, means “moss ball”. They are sometimes called the “Poor Man’s Bonsai” or “string gardens”. The of art of binding plants into green, mossy orbs dates back centuries to the Edo era in Japan (around 1600 AD). To make a kokedama, soil is removed from the plant’s roots and special soil blend is used to encase the roots and shape it into a ball. The ball is then bound with moss.

Common Symptoms

Leaf Browning and crisp leaf edges: Crisping around leaf edges and browning indicate under-watering. Decrease time period between waterings.

Yellowing leaves, black stems at the base or a brown ‘mushiness’ of the leaves or stem indicate over-watering. Increase time period between waterings.

Care Instructions

  • Origin: Various places - many plants are suitable for Mossballing.
  • Light: Usually moderate to bright indirect light.
  • Water: Soak the mossball about once a week in summer and every two weeks in winter. If the plant is a succulent or water-retaining plant such as a Spekboom, Ponytail PalmDainty Crassula or Natal Ivy, you should reduce watering even further (about every two weeks in summer and once a month in winter) Depending on the size of the mossball, fill a bowl or bucket with water and place the mossball into the water, plant side up. Push the mossball down until it is fully submerged. Allow it to soak for 10 – 20 minutes, and ensure that it is fully saturated. Remove from water and squeeze the ball gently to remove excess water. Allow the mossball to drip dry in a colander or on a draining board before re-installing it.
  • Humidity, Temperature:  See specific Care Instructions for the plant.
  • Fertilizer: Feed the mossball monthly during the spring and summer months with a balanced liquid plant fertilizer at half the recommended concentration. Simply mix the fertilizer into the soaking water and soak as usual.
  • Repotting: After about 18-24 months you may need to 're-ball' your plant to replenish its soil and give it more room to grow. If there are roots coming through the ball then re-potting is necessary. Either replant into a larger kokedama or transplant into a new pot.

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