Traditional Japanese gardens often feature kokedama moss balls, or hanging balls of soil, moss and small bonsai trees. The kokedama portion of the ball is the actual bonsai plant, which grows no larger than a few inches tall, especially when bound in soil and moss, as in a kokedama garden. The kokedama ball traditionally sits in a bowl before a lightly lit window. Since the balls are covered with moss, you can simply place them in any ordinary bowl. This also means you can transfer your plants from bowl to bowl without worrying about digging or transplantation problems.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Peat soil
- Akadama soil
- Warm water
- Rubber gloves
- Kokedama bonsai seedling
- Live moss squares
- Cool water
- Cotton twine
- Decorative bowl
Crumble about 2 cups of peat soil into a bowl, along with about a cup of akadama, or bonsai, soil. Mix the two soils together with your fingers. Peat soil will hold water easily while bonsai soil contains the proper nutrients for bonsai plants.
Add about ½ cup of warm water to the bowl. Put on rubber gloves and mix the soils with the water until you have a soil ball the consistency of dense clay. If the soil begins to dry out, add more water.
Remove your bonsai seedling from its wrapping and crumble all the soil away from its roots. Work slowly and be as gentle as you can. Try not to break or bruise the roots.
Push both thumbs down into the centre of your soil ball. Pull your thumbs apart to widen the hole in the ball.
Gently bundle up the roots of your bonsai plant and slip the root ball into the hole in your soil. Gently push and mould the soil around the base of the bonsai plant. If necessary, add more water to make the soil more workable.
Water your live moss with about a tablespoon of cool water per 2 square inches of moss. Flip the moss over so you can see the soil side and wrap the moss around your soil kokedama ball. Gently press on the moss to make it stick. Cover the soil completely with moss.
Wrap your moss kokedama ball horizontally in a spiral of cotton twine. Wrap the twine in an X over the moss ball, finishing with a few vertical wraps. Tie the cotton twine in a knot and cut away excess twine.
Set the ball in a bowl. The bowl should be shallow, so you can see the entire moss ball. Water it from the top with cool water every two or three days.
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