A few weeks ago I had the privilege of learning the art of Kokedama from Mikiko Inoue. A florist with 20 years of experience, Mikiko has not only been a florist in Japan but also in Canada and Bermuda. Her love of plants, flowers and gardening is palpable.
Kokedama (苔玉, literally translated as “moss ball”) is a Japanese art form, similar in some ways to Bonsai. It has become popular in recent years, as more people are rediscovering the beauty and versatility of succulents. However Kokedama can be also used with other plants as long as they are shade or part-shade loving plants.
Creating Kokedama takes practice but as long as you have the right materials it shouldn’t be too difficult.
You will need:
- Sphagnum moss
- Bonsai mix
- Controlled release organic fertiliser
- Jute twine
Mixing the sphagnum moss and bonsai mix at a ratio of 2:1 add a handful of ground charcoal and a pinch of fertiliser. After all the dry materials are thoroughly combined, add water until it is somewhat runny. Make sure to add water slowly as a mixture that has too much water will not adhere to the roots well.
Remove the plant from its pot and add the mixture all the way around forming a round shape. Once the root area is completely covered, add the sphagnum moss all the way around covering the entire base of the plant. Make sure to clean your hands before starting this particular step as you do not want to stain the moss. Have a bucket of water nearby as the Kokedama will not be stable enough to place on a table. Wrap the twine around the base of the plant tightly.
Leave the Kokedama outside to dry, for the next three days out of direct sunlight. Once it is dry, place it in the desired spot. Moving your Kokedama often will place it under undue stress, so choose the spot carefully.
I was able to make two and I have kept them close to a window indoors. Make sure to submerge it in water for a minute or two once a week or when it starts to feel lighter. You could also spray it with water a few times a week to slow down the drying process.
Making Kokedama was not only fun but also relaxing. It is a meditative way of getting your hands dirty.
Until then, happy flower arranging!