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A Miniature Moss Garden for Your Tabletop

April 28, 2015

We're teaming up with Squarespace for a week of inventive DIY centerpieces, from classics with a twist to totally wild takes. We invited a few of our favorite designers and stylists to participate, so join us as they share their tips and tricks—and scroll down for a code to get 10% off a yearlong subscription to Squarespace.

Today: La Fête's Allison Baddley shows us how to make kokedama, or Japanese moss balls, to rest on your table or suspend from the ceiling. Allison uses Squarespace—check out her site here.

You know it's really spring when flowers pop up everywhere—thanks, April showers!—and we're all in favor of throwing together easy arrangements whenever you can scoop up a bunch. But say you're looking for a more inventive centerpiece, one that won't take all day to create. Enter kokedama, a Japanese moss ball made with soil and twine. Allison's tutorial proves they're much easier to make than expected, to be hung from the rafters or rested on the table.

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What You'll Need:

1 piece of sheet moss, approximately a 12-inch square
2 to 3 cups soil mixture, about 60% peat soil and 40% clay or garden soil
Spring bulb, orchid, succulent, or fern (or experiment with different plants)
String or twine

How to Make a Japanese Moss Ball:

1. Decide how large you want your kokemenda to be based on the size of the roots of your plant; the diameter of your moss ball should be about twice the size of your bulb. Cut string or twine long enough to wrap around the kokedama ball at least 20 times, with plenty of extra if you're going to hang them—err on the side of too much, so you don't come up short!

2. Soak the sheet moss in a bucket of water until fully saturated. 

3. Add a small amount of water to soil mixture so that it clumps together when pressed, and form the soil mixture into a ball.

4. Form a hole in the middle of the ball with your fingers. Place the plant in the hole, and pack the soil around its roots until it's secure. 


5. Carefully wring excess water out of sheet moss, and wrap it around the soil ball. This layer does triple duty of sealing in moisture, keeping the soil together, and looking pretty!

6.  To wrap the ball with string, start at the middle of the length of string, and wrap with both sides of string until all sides are secure. Don't worry too much about keeping it orderly—the idea is to criss cross the string in all directions!


7. Secure with a square knot at the top of the plant, and you're ready to decorate or hang just as you would with a planter. Don't forget to water your kokedama in accordance with plant directions, but use caution not to let them get too damp! 

Allison Baddley Kokedama Japanese Moss Ball Tutorial

Photographs by Lindsey Stewart

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Jamie C. April 30, 2015
Is this a permanent planting solution? I am looking at some low maintenance but small, decorative plants to put in my bathroom and I love the look of these.
Jimmy H. April 30, 2015
Soil less mix is basically shredded tree bark. Look for orchid mix at any big box hardware store or at a local florist.
Lindsey L. April 30, 2015
So if orchids don't take soil, what would a "soil-less" mix mean? I'd love to try this.
Jimmy H. April 28, 2015
So pretty! Wouldn't you use a soil less mix for orchids? I don't think they like actual dirt. I guess you would just soak them for a few minutes in a tub to water them?
Samantha W. April 28, 2015
Thanks for pointing this out, Jimmy! You are right -- a soil-less mix would be the ticket for orchids.