How to Make Kokedama of Succulents

Among the many possibilities that succulent plants offer us is to carry out projects popularly known as DIY that, in addition to being entertaining, are great decorative elements that provide something different to each corner of our home.

Some time ago we taught how to make a succulent terrarium step by step and we will give you new ideas so that you can carry out some very interesting projects with your succulents.

In this article you will learn very simply, step by step, how to make kokedama, but…

What is a Kokedama?

A kokedama is a centuries-old Japanese craft technique. The word kokedama translates “ball of moss”. And, basically, that's it: a moss ball. 

Kokedamas are spheres of substrate that surround the roots of a plant and that are covered with moss on the outside. Thus, the plants grow in the sphere, feeding on the substrate and do not need a pot or container.

It is said that they were originally used for the cultivation of bonsai and, since they did not use pots, they became known as “poor man's bonsai”. Since the kokedamas were made with elements of nature and the cost of the pot was saved.

Traditionally, this art is made with elements originating in Japan, such as plants, components of the substrate and varieties of moss. However, with the expansion of kokedamas in the world it has become clear that it is possible to make them by substituting some components for others and that they work very well with different types of plants.

In this article we will show you how we make kokedama of succulents and how you can adapt them to your conditions to make them in your own home.

What You Need

  • Kokedama soil mix
  • Water
  • Succulent
  • Moss
  • Thread or rope
  • Scissors

Tips for Making Succulent Kokedama

1. Prepare a suitable soil for succulents
How to Make Kokedama of Succulents 1

Before you start making your own succulent kokedama, we recommend that you use a suitable succulent soil and, if possible, keep it light. You can follow any of our recommended recipes or make your own mix. 

For succulents to be able to live in kokedama, it is key that the substrate allows aeration in the roots, that it drains quickly and that, at the same time, it retains moisture long enough for the plants to feed. We recommend using coconut fiber, perlite or vermiculite in your mix to keep it light. We personally also like to add a bit of charcoal to prevent fungus growth.

In some countries and regions the marketing of moss is prohibited. If you can't get it in your area, you can substitute it with coconut fiber.

As for the thread, if you don't want it to be seen in the final result, we recommend using a fine or florist thread in a green tone to camouflage itself among the moss (or brown if you decide to replace the moss with coconut fiber). You can also go for transparent nylon thread. 

If, on the contrary, you want to give it a final look a bit more rustic or produced, you can use thick cotton or jute rope, or twine dyed the color you want. 

Part of the charm of kokedamas is that they can be adapted to different conditions and tastes. So don't be afraid to try and experiment to create the kokedama of your dreams.

2. Prepare your succulent

You must remove all the substrate from your succulent until only the bare rooted plant remains. We recommend doing this with the substrate completely dry, so it is easier to remove the substrate.

3. Wet the moss or coconut fiber

The moss will be easier to handle if you hydrate it beforehand. We take a bowl full of water and soak the moss for about 5 minutes. After that time we take it out, squeeze it in our hands to remove a little moisture and reserve it.

Instructions for Kokedama DIY

Now let's get to work!

We are going to explain step by step in a very detailed and simple way how to make a kokedama of succulents.

1. Put your kokedama soil mix in a container and gradually add water until it acquires a moldable consistency

You have to put your hands in the mixture (you can use gloves) and knead it until you can form a ball of size according to the plant.

To make kokedamas with succulents you must find a balance in the soil. Remember that if a soil becomes too caked, it will not be very suitable for the roots of succulents, since they need aeration and porosity. And at the same time, for the kokedama to maintain its shape, the wet soil ball must hold up.

We make balls that hold up when wet, but if left to dry they crumble.

2. Make a hole in the ball with your thumbs

This should be large enough for the roots of your succulent plant and part of the stem to enter.

3. Insert the roots and lower part of the stem into the hole and mold again until you have a ball of soil that surrounds the succulent
4. Take the previously hydrated moss and spread it on your table or work surface in a circular way

It should not be too thick or leave gaps.

5. Put the ball on the moss mat and start wrapping the entire substrate with the moss

Remember that there should not be spaces without moss (or coconut fiber).

6. Take the thread or rope of your choice, put it around the ball and tie a knot so that it holds the moss attached to the soil

Then loop the yarn in all directions until it wraps around the ball and holds the moss in place. When you see that it is attached, make another knot to secure everything in place.

7. Cut the protruding parts of moss or coconut fiber with a scissors

Lastly, place your kokedama in a place that meets the requirements of your succulent. Take into account how much light the species you use needs.

You can support the kokedama on a base or saucer or you can hang it. To hang it you can insert a clip or hook into the kokedama or tie it with a rope. Try to make it easy to hang and unhook, to facilitate watering (to water it you will have to unhook it).

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