How to Care for Kokedama

How to Care for Kokedama

Enjoy beautiful kokedama, or string gardens, in your home or office with our easy care tips. By Justin Hancock
By Justin Hancock

There are lots of ways to display your favorite houseplants, but kokedama (also called moss balls or string gardens) are one of the most distinctive. Forgoing a pot, this form of gardening looks striking because you grow plants in a ball of soil wrapped in moss and string. That may make you wonder, however, how to care for kokedama. Here are our tips.

Sanseveria in kokedama moss ballHow to Water Kokedama
The first thing you’re probably wondering is how do I water my kokedama? Because it’s not in a traditional pot with a saucer, you don’t want watering to make a mess. Instead, you can soak your moss ball in a bucket of room-temperature water for 5 to 10 minutes or so. Then take your moss ball out and let it hang over the bucket or a sink for it to stop dripping.

How do you know when your kokedama needs water? The easiest is by weight. Get a feel for how heavy your kokedama is five days or so after you soak it (but before your plant wilts). The size and type of plant, the amount of light, the air temperature, and other factors will affect how often you need to water your kokedama.

How to Fertilize Kokedama
Kokedama care also includes fertilizing. The thing about fertilizing that can be confusing is that there’s not one best amount to fertilize. It depends on how much and how fast you want your plants to grow. You can fertilize most plants grown as kokedama as little as twice a year, or as often as once a week. If you use a water-soluble fertilizer, you can mix it in the water in the bucket you use to soak the moss ball in. Alternatively, if you use a water-soluble fertilizer, you can feed the foliage by misting the leaves with a water/fertilizer mixture. Or, if you use a time-release fertilizer, just mix it in the soil ball you use for your kokedama. The product will slowly add nutrients to the soil for several months. No matter what type of fertilizer you use, be sure to follow the directions on the product packaging.

Light for Kokedama
Just like with watering, the amount of light you provide your kokedama depends on the type of plant. In general, display high-light plants in a bright window. You might want to avoid especially sunny spots, though, otherwise the moss ball will dry out too fast). Low-light plants don’t need to be grown in a window. Instead, suspend them above your desks or tabletops. This makes them fun additions to offices. If you don’t wish to hang your moss ball, display it on a decorative plate or tray that matches your home or office décor.

Wherever you display your kokedama, avoid spots with hot or cold drafts (such as from heating or cooling vents). These blasts of hot or cold air can make leaves turn yellow or brown prematurely, especially on more tender plants like ferns. Most houseplants appreciate a spot with average to high relative humidity, as well.

Learn how to make your own kokedama with our short video!

Get more care tips: Houseplant Basics.