Do it Yo’self: Kokedama String Garden



Kokedama (pronounced ko-kay-da-ma) is the traditional Japanese art of arranging a plant inside of a moss ball. This technique has been around for centuries, and actually developed as an inexpensive alternative to the bonsai. Unable to resist the siren call of Pinterest gardening DIYs, Nelson finally broke and turned one of our windows into a kokedama string garden, or as we’re calling it on our World Heritage Site application, the Hanging Gardens of Lambertville (seriously, UNESCO, call us back!). Nelson’s display has attracted a ton of attention from shoppers and passersby , many of whom have made dark and personal confessions to us about their secret habit of killing houseplants. While we both love and fear being privy to this kind of information, we don’t feel super guilty sending these plants home with anybody who has a rap sheet. Kokedama plants are actually super low maintenance, requiring only a daily spritzing from a spray bottle to keep them alive.

Kokedama has become an increasingly widespread art form, gaining popularity in the Netherlands and the United States over the past couple of years. In 2011, Design Sponge published this definitive kokedama tutorial from Dutch design superstar, Aura Scaringi.

We probably can’t provide better instructions ourselves, so we thought we'd just share a few pointers here, should you decide to do it yo’self.

  1. We’ve been watering most of the plants daily with a spray bottle in the store. The moss ball should be slightly damp when you’re done.
  2. Depending on your level of dedication, you might think about hanging bigger plants on a simple pulley. That way you can lower them into a bucket for five to 10 minutes of extreme hydration once or twice a week.
  3. We hung the plants at varying heights for our display, but you could simply stick them in a bowl or on top of a plate. Wherever you put them, indirect sunlight is best.
  4. Mix it up! We hung a number of wire Eiffel Tower sculptures alongside the plants for a little East meets West action.
  5. Know what you’re talking about. In Japanese, “koke,” means moss and “dama” means ball.