First things first, what exactly is kokedama? The loose translation of the word is 'moss' (koke) ', ball' (dama). Kokedama is a sculptural plant living in a ball of soil and special moss bound by string to create its natural planter.

Originating in 17th century Japan, kokedama carries deep roots. It's actually derived from the bonsai – Nearai bonsai, to be specific – and is believed to encapsulate the ancient practice and philosophy of Wabi-sabi, which centres around the notion of finding beauty in the transience and imperfections of nature.

The intention behind his unique planting technique is to recreate a natural habitat that promotes health and relaxation. Not only do these miniature gardens contain all that is needed for a plant to flourish, but they can help you flourish as well! The Japanese believe that kokedama can eliminate negative energy from your space by absorbing them. These hard-working moss balls offer peace and calm, helping you wade off stress and balance your mind, body and spirit.

Image source: Pinterest

Kokedama has seen a resurgence in popularity as a modern sculptural art form. They're an impactful way to display some of your favourite indoor plants in a fresh, organic style and make for an exceptional, personalized gift. They're also super versatile – you can go the traditional route by featuring them in bowls, affixing them to a piece of driftwood, nestling them in a glass vessel, or letting them stand 'naked' as a distinctive display piece. Alternatively, the new 'string garden' approach takes the kokedama one step further by allowing you to suspend these little green orbs in the air! You can also group your kokedama creations for a dramatic look or get super fancy and wrap the moss in coloured twine. Your options are limitless!

Image Source: Architectural Digest

So, which plants are best suitable for kokedama? Many different plants would work with this method – from orchids to citrus plants to grasses. However, our team at Merchant & Green has an affinity for small, air-purifying plants like ferns, spider plants and dragon plants, as well as air plants and succulents. The key with kokedama is to work with only one plant – wrapping more than one might cause the plants to struggle in this habitat. You also want to avoid using plants with large root balls.

Image source: Martha Stewart

While they look impressive, there's no need to be intimidated. Kokedamas don't require much skill, and you can practice the art yourself with just a few items, along with some expert tips and tricks. Then all it takes to maintain these beautiful moss balls is a little love and care! Water about once a week in warm weather and once a month in cool weather by submerging the ball in water for ten minutes, leave it to drip outside in the shade for a short time, and then bring it back in. Like most indoor plants, kokedamas prefer to grow in bright but indirect light, and they need some pruning from time to time, removing any dead or diseased foliage to keep the plant healthy. Plant care doesn't get much simpler!

Try your hand at kokedama by joining us for one of our upcoming group kokedama workshops!

Prefer a bit more one-on-one attention to hone your skills? We also offer private workshops at our Sydney studio, where you can book in for a solo class or bring a friend!

Image Source: Muddy Hands