Kokedama translates to “Moss Ball” and is a Japanese method of creating beautiful live plant decorations! Creating these kokedamas can be very rewarding and is a fun way to explore some unique epiphytic plants, however they do require extra care. Potted plants are only exposed to air only on the top, however kokedamas are exposed to air on all sides. This results in rapid moisture loss.
Let’s examine how to care for a Kokedama once it’s created.
Kokedama moss balls typically do not require a great amount of sunlight. Many of the epiphytic plants that lend themselves well to Kokedamas are understory plants. As they climb or sit in a tree that acts as their substrate, they are shaded by the canopy above. Avoid putting your plant in direct sunlight as it could burn. It is best for these plants to have less sunlight in the summer and more sunlight in the winter since the angle of the sun has changed and the light is less harsh in the winter season.
As mentioned previously, Kokedamas are exposed to air on all sides, so moisture loss is a huge concern! It is incredibly helpful to keep your creation in a high-humidity room. Consider placing it in a bathroom where it can get lots of humidity from showers.
For the plant to get sufficient water, submerged in room temperature water for 15 minutes about once a week (scroll down for specifc plant notes). When you remove your kokedama from the water, allow excess water to drain out.
If you have an Orchid Kokedama, as you “bathe” it, the base of the foliage should not be submerged. Only submerge the moss ball that house the orchid roots. This prevents the cluster of leaves from holding onto water and rotting. Other plants, such as Bromeliads, need water to stay on the foliage, so find what your specific plant needs.
For vibrant moss, mist the moss with a water spray bottle every morning to keep it hydrated.
As an indoor plant, the plant inside the moss doesn’t have the same access to nutrients that wild plants do. Epiphytic plants have the ability to gain nutrients and minerals from the tree they live on, so when we bring it inside, they need a little help from time to time. Fertilizing your plant once a year at the start of the growing season (spring/early summer) will help immensely. When you are watering your plant, add a pinch or two of soluble fertilizer into the water so your Kokedama can soak it up.
If you have created an orchid Kokedama, try to find a fertilizer that is specific for orchids as their nutrient requirements are a little different from many other epiphytic plants.
Different plants have unique growth requirements. What sort of plant did you use? Below are some helpful pointers for a handful of species: