TWINE & MOSS
Looking after a kokedama should be no more difficult than your average houseplant. The soil, moss and twine base acts like a natural pot for the plant to grow in. As with any plant, light, air and humidity are key factors which will determine whether your plant stays healthy. Please do not place your kokedama directly onto any wooden or untreated surface - they require a small plate/coaster/bowl to sit in to prevent surface damage as they remain damp after watering.
Where to position a kokedama
Having a good understanding of your plant’s needs is the key to your kokedama living a long and happy life. It is imperative that you do your own research into your plant variety, so you can better understand how to care for it.
Lighting, humidity and temperature are all aspects of a plant’s environment that are important in determining its survival.
In general, most tropical houseplant kokedama would like to be placed in a brightly lit room, but shielded from the direct sun. Some do not tolerate draughts or large changes in temperature, so positioning these plants away from open windows and heat sources is important. Some plants are less fussy than others - if you are looking for something very low maintenance, a ZZ or snake plant is a great place to start!
Some plants, e.g. ferns prefer an area of high humidity in order to thrive (a bathroom is a great option here) - research your plant’s natural environment and this will help you decide where it should go in your home.
Remember, if you have any questions I am always here to help where I can!
How to water
To water a twine kokedama, the best method is to pour in water from the top of the moss ball. This prevents premature degradation of the twine which can occur if the ball is soaked in water.
I find it very useful to use a water or sauce bottle when watering my kokedama - you will ideally need something that allows you to control the flow of water as you pour it into the moss ball.
The amount of water you will need will vary by plant type and ball size - in general most balls will need 200-300ml each time they are watered. Please note if you have a very small or very large moss ball, the amount of water required will be different. The idea is to allow for enough water to dampen the soil, but not so much that the moss or twine layers are saturated. If there is water dripping out the bottom of your kokedama, you have definitely given it too much to drink!
Once you have the water in your bottle, start to slowly pour a small trickle into the top of the moss ball. If the soil is very dry, it sometimes is slow to absorb the water and it can spill down the sides. If this happens, allow a small amount of water to be absorbed by the soil, and then wait a few minutes before trying to water again. This should help the soil soften slightly and absorb the water more easily the second time you try.
Take care when watering or moving your kokedama around - the twine is fragile and can slip if not handled with care. If your plant is in a macrame plant hanger, leave it in the hanger when watering if possible so as to not disturb the twine.
How often to water
The type of plant you have purchased will determine how often you need to water it - I highly recommend that you do your own research into your plant type, in order to better understand its needs. If you are a new plant parent or would like some basic houseplant guidance, please click here.
One of the main causes of houseplant death is due to over or underwatering - it is very important you understand your plants needs!
In general, kokedama need to be watered when the ball feels very light (almost like polystyrene). Your home environment will determine how frequent watering is - if your plant is placed in a bright area, it will dry out quicker than if your plant is placed in an area of lower lighting. Plants require more water when actively growing, and less water during the cooler months. This is a very general statement but I would check the weight of the moss ball once a week during the spring and summer (check does NOT necessarily mean water), and once every 10-14 days in the winter. Certain plants, such as ZZ and Snake plants, have very infrequent watering schedules so I wouldn’t water them more than once a month.
It is a good idea to add some liquid fertiliser to the water once a month when the plant is actively growing - ALWAYS follow the dilution instructions on the bottle!
Help! There are roots growing out the base of my kokedama?
Do not stress if you start to see roots poking out the bottom of your kokedama. When I create the moss ball, I use a lot of fresh soil, and if your plant is less than one year old, it is unlikely that it is already pot-bound, and therefore won’t need repotting yet. It is simply that your plant is growing new roots that are making the most of the fresh soil and nutrients it has been provided with. It is perfectly ok to leave the roots as they are. However, if you want to remove them for aesthetic purposes, you can simply cut them off with some sharp scissors as you notice them appear, and this will not harm your plant.
If your plant is a bit older (1-1.5 years) and you begin to see a lot of root growth, I would consider repotting the plant. By doing this you are refreshing the soil that the plant is living in, and you can also increase the size of the pot if you wish as it will encourage further growth of your plant. Continue reading below to find out how to repot your kokedama.
How/When to Repot
Eventually your plant will outgrow its moss ball and need to be repotted - though this will not be for months/years after you have purchased it! Some signs to look out for that suggest you may need to repot your plant include:
- Slow growth or any new growth is producing smaller than normal leaves
- Excessive amount of roots growing out the bottom of the ball (some root growth is absolutely fine and is not harmful to your plant)
- Or you may simply decide that you want a change of look for your plant, and repotting is an easy way to do this
Please watch the video below for indepth instruction on how to repot your kokedama.