Kokedama is a great addition to your home, this Japanese plant literally translates into “ball of moss.” Kokedama has its origins in both bonsai and kusamono planting styles. If you’re thinking of making your own kokedama you might be wondering if you can use potting soil with it.
Although not ideal, you can use potting soil with your kokedama. The best thing to use would be keto, a Japanese type of clay but you might not be able to find it. Potting soil can be used instead, however it doesn’t stick together as well as keto.
Having a kokedama is a great addition to your home, these plants are a wonderful decorative item but they do require regular care. The best kind of plants to use for kokedama are ones that like medium to full shade. Looking after your kokedama is easy, they just need watering when the ball starts to feel light, the preparation of the soil is what needs the most consideration.
Is Potting Soil Good for Kokedama?
Typically kokedama is made from akadama soil and keto which are then formed into a ball. You should be able to find these easily enough at an online bonsai store or at a garden center. If you can’t find it, or you have potting soil at home this can be used instead.
Potting soil doesn’t stick together as well as akadama soil or keto but is still an acceptable substitute if you want to use it. When you are making your potting mixture you will need to follow a recipe and you can replace akadama soil and keto with potting soil if you like. The remainder of the mixture can remain unchanged.
You can also buy pre-mixed soil as well and avoid the mixture process altogether. Potting soil is still a good choice, however, and your kokedama should still be able to survive. You’ll just need to make sure that the soil mixture stays stuck together otherwise it can make a mess in your home.
What Else Do You Need for Kokedama?
There are a few different things you need to make your kokedama, the first is obviously the plant you want to use. A good choice for kokedama are typical house plants as they don’t need as much sunlight to thrive. You can choose houseplants like ferns, peace lily, dracaena, philodendron, and pothos.
Then you will need to buy either pre-mixed soil or prepare the soil yourself. This can be made with keto, akadama soil, or regular potting soil. Since your kokedama will live its life in a constricted environment the soil you use will need to have good aeration.
The next thing you will need to consider is the moss you will use. Moss can be purchased online or at local florists. You can buy the moss either fresh or dried.
Next, you will need to buy twine which you can pick up online or at a craft store. Dental floss is also useable if you happen to have some at home already, it just needs to be non-biodegradable. Some things to avoid using include cotton, jute, and hemp cord as these will degrade after watering.
The last thing to consider is where you will put your kokedama, these are ideal as house plants so your options are vast. Be sure to observe any information that comes with the plant that you buy, it should include instructions on how often it needs to be watered and how much sunlight it needs. Once you purchase your plant, just make sure to adhere to those rules and your kokedama should thrive.
How to Prepare Soil for Kokedama
If you opt to make your own soil instead of buying a pre-mixed bag then there’s a specific way to prepare it. Unfortunately, you can’t just shape the potting soil into a ball and hope for the best. Here’s what you need to do to prepare your soil for your kokedama:
To start off your mixture grab a large bowl and add in your potting soil. (Keto can also be used at this point instead.)
Then you need to add in the water and mix it slightly until you have a muddy substance.
Add in peat moss to the mixture and mix until the substance is well mixed.
Now you can add in some more potting soil. If you have akadama soil then you can use that instead as it makes the mixture more coarse. Alternatively, any other type of baked clay can be used as well.
Now you mix it all together and shape it into a ball. If for any reason your ball is not sticking together, you can add more potting soil.
If the mixture sticks together well then it will be ready for you to add your houseplant into it. The whole process shouldn’t take very long to make and you can make several balls at once if you want to. Just add more potting soil into the mixture until you have the desired number of balls.
How Do I Care for My Kokedama?
The hard part of preparing the soil is over and once you have your kokedama ready for hanging or to be placed the main thing going forward is water. Watering your kokedama isn’t as simple as it is for other plants. If you were to use a watering can then you are liable to create quite the mess.
The way to determine if your kokedama needs watering is to feel how heavy it is. Once you have made your soil and prepared your plant weigh it to understand how heavy it is. Then when it feels light you’ll know it’s time to water it, another way to tell is if the moss feels dry.
If it’s ready for water, you can do so by submerging the ball in water for 5 minutes, which should do the job. You can also fertilize your kokedama once a month to help it get the vitamins and minerals it needs.