Try This: Kokedama Hanging Plant

This DIY Japanese bonsai makes the perfect home-brightener for spring.
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Photgraphy: Hazel Swenson Location Credit: Work/Shop

Photgraphy: Hazel Swenson Location Credit: Work/Shop

We are admittedly inhibited in flexing our DIY muscles. So when friend and florist Sarah Renard offered to share a simple recipe for creating a cool hanging, bonsai-style plant using only 5 ingredients - we were instantly curious! 

Short on space or looking for a DIY housewarming gift for a friend? We've got just the thing!

Kokedama literally translates to “moss ball.” This Japanese craft dates back to the 17th century and originated from the traditional nearai bonsai style, in which the miniature trees are removed from their pots and displayed on trays or stands with their roots revealed. Covering the roots in moss and binding them together -- kokedama -- ensures that they maintain their packed shape and moisture content, requiring far less care. It also allows them to be hung as decorative ornaments, perfect for small homes or urban apartments. 


– succulent, climbing leafy vine or fern
– moss (you can pick your own or buy it in a bag)
– peat
– bonsai soil
– potting soil
– twine, leather or ribbon to wrap around your moss ball

– scissors
– gardening trowel
– container to mix soils

Select your plant and clear the dirt off the roots.


Combine bonsai mix, potting soil and peat together with water until it all starts to clump. The dirt should stick together without crumbling when you form it into a ball.


Break your dirt ball in half. Stuff the roots of your plant into the center of your halved ball and rework it back into one piece. You may need to add some additional dirt mixture to the outside of your ball to ensure that it doesn’t fall apart.


Wrap your ball in green moss.


Wrap your twine or string around the moss ball several times. If you’d like to hang your finished kokedama, leave two long end pieces to tie into a loop. If you’d like to display your kokedama in a pot or on a tray, tie off the ends of your twine and cut short.


Place your kokedama in a place that gets a few hours of filtered sunlight each day. Mist it daily or dunk it completely in water once a week, then squeeze out excess water. Over time, you’ll be able to tell when the kokedama needs watering because it will become particularly lightweight when it’s dry.

p.s. If an outdoor garden is more your style, here are six essential steps to get you started.