Easy Kokedama: Moss Ball String Garden

Here’s another great garden craft that is new to me, but not new at all. Kokedama is a Japanese craft, similar to bonsai, where plant roots are covered with a small amount of soil and wrapped in moss. Many are hung near a window with twine or cotton string. Others are simply displayed on a pretty dish or tray.

Easy Kokedama: Moss Ball String Garden

Grouped Moss Balls - Kokedama String Garden - gardenmatter.com

The traditional method for kokedama requires a special mix of soil with clay used for bonsai plants, but I thought that simply covering the plants with moss using their existing soil would work, and it’s a much easier process.

Materials - kokedama string garden - gardenmatter.com


Small plants
Sheet moss
Waxed twine
Natural jute or cotton string

The Process

Purchase plants that will do well in the area where you will be keeping them. My plants will be in a window that gets indirect lighting, so I went with two ferns and a small orchid. If you have a space with bright light I think succulents would be a good option, as they need little water.

Prepare plant - kokedama string garden - gardenmatter.com

Prepare  your plant by watering well early in the day, or the night before. Then remove it from its pot, shake off the excess dirt, trim any wayward roots, and gently mold it into a ball shape.

Wrap in moss - kokedama string garden - gardenmatter.com

Next take some sheet moss and cover the roots.

waxed twine - kokedama string garden - gardenmatter.com

Using waxed twine, wrap the moss up firmly around the root ball, crisscrossing, similar to rolling a ball of yarn, until the moss is held in place.

Moss ball on dish - kokedama string garden - gardenmatter.com

You can then display the plant on a dish or tray, or, make a hanging string garden. To hang the moss balls, use two pieces of jute that cross underneath, and tie together at the top. I hung them from simple white nails at the top of the window.

Hanging string garden - easy kokedama -gardenmatter.com

This way I can easily remove them for watering, which I plan to do by soaking them in water for a few minutes, about once a week if needed. They should be very light by the time they need to be watered. I also have a little mister which I can use to keep them hydrated.

It’s so nice to have this pretty greenery to look at while I’m working, and they were so easy to make. Wouldn’t they make a nice gift?

Learn an easy way to make Kokedama to create your own indoor string garden. This tutorial requires just a few items and can be made in less than an hour.

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. They came out really, really pretty. I love the simplicity of the idea, and what fabulous little garden lover gifts they make.

  2. For the first time in my adult life at the age of 61 I was able to buy a house. Big flat ugly back yard. I want trees and flowers and a garden, a pond, a fire pit, a veranda of some sort. I want it to be inviting and when I look out I want to have my heart overflow with wonder that it is mine. I started following you the day I moved in. These that you showed to day are so pretty and will be part of my indoors. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and in turn making me more so.

    • Hi Jody,

      Thank you so much for you kind comment. You’ve made my day! I think you will love the string garden idea. They were very easy and sooo cheery in my window. Just choose the right plants depending on the light exposure, and you’ll be fine. Also, I just wanted to say that you will get there with your yard, and I know it will be beautiful. Honestly, half the fun is in the journey. That being said, I am an extremely impatient person, and I can also relate to wanting to have it just they way you want it now.
      Thanks again for stopping by,

  3. I love this project. I think it is a beautiful way to grow orchids. Thank you very much for sharing such good ideas.

  4. Suzanne Lee says:

    I am going to buy these plants today. I have a garden window over the whirlpool tub in my bathroom. Perfect place for my African violets.
    I will add these in a dish and they will be perfect addition.

  5. Great idea and so pretty when it’s snowing , must lift your spirits everyday!

    • Hi Penny,

      Thanks Penny. They really have. Also, nice comments from great people like you lift them even higher!
      Thanks for stopping by,

  6. Judy Walters Weiss says:

    Kokedama has always intrigued me & I’ve been thinking about trying it. I love how yours turned out…beautiful garden art!

    • Hi Judy,
      Thanks for your kind comment. So far they are doing great. I did not use the traditional method, so we’ll see how they do in the long run.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this.I do plan on trying this in the near future.

    • Hi Sharon,
      So glad you like them. Here’s an update. The ribbon fern is drying out the fastest so I really have to keep an eye on it. The orchid and button fern are still doing great.

  8. Arlene Blissell says:

    I never heard of Kokedama before, but used the idea for a program at the Somerset Garden Club on February 8. The women really seemed to enjoy it, in such a short time they could create a new way to grow and display a plant. I saw Kokedama in a catalog called Viva Terra, and three plant were $98! And nothing rare or unusual, so we may make some to sell at our annual plant sale in May. Thanks for the great idea, and I love to receive your new posts.

    • Thank you Arlene! I’m so glad you shared this idea with others. I found mine tend to dry out pretty quickly but the orchid and the button fern are doing well. The ribbon fern needs more watering and may do better in a pot. I guess that’s why the traditional ones use the fancy clay based soil. I wonder if the moisture control soil would be better, but I usually do not like to buy potting soil with the extra additives. I think they would be great for a plant sale. Succulents are pretty popular and don’t require a lot of water. They may be a good choice.
      Thanks for stopping by. I miss you. We need to get together soon.

  9. Hi Patti ,
    It look so pretty I will definitely try . I follow your page all the time . Can we buy moss from home depot . I am not good with gardening but I love plants. So I always buy them and my husband take care . Now I want to try this and see the results.
    thanks for encouraging .

  10. I love these. Tell me about waxed twine. Is it a floral supply or would I find it in another section of the store?

    • Hi Karen,

      I have not seen this product in the store. I bought a set of them years ago online. There’s a link to one on amazon.
      Have fun making your Kokedama!

  11. Amber Purvis says:

    How long have your plants lived? I notice this post is from early 2016. I just came across kokedama at my local Home Depot. Orchids, bromeliads and staghorn ferns range from $9-$13 each. I purchased all they had. I am looking into making my own and I was curious if you knew how long these will live? Will I have to re do them?

    • Hi Amber,

      My orchid is doing great and it just about to bloom again. the twine is a little ratty and I probably need to use some new pieces by now. However, the ferns did not do as well. They really needed to be watered every couple of days and last summer I went away for two weeks and my house sitter (my daughter) neglected to water them and I lost them. So your orchids should do well and I think starghorns to as they are epiphytes. Not sure about the bromeliads.
      Thanks for stopping by,

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