diy project: “kokedama” string garden

The days are getting longer, and the sun is shining more; I can’t think of a better time to get my hands into soil and play around with some fun plant experiments for spring! I’ve seen kokedama — Japanese moss balls — looking great hanging in homes, but I never realized how easy they are to create. Netherlands-based designer and all-around super-creative Aura Scaringi made this simple tutorial for crafting your own hanging kokedama garden using a combination of peat soil and akedama, or bonsai soil. Like all of Aura’s work, the results are lovely — I can’t wait to try it out for myself. Thanks for sharing, Aura! — Kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • a tiny plant; moss can’t stand direct sunlight, so choose a shadow-loving plant. I have used baby ferns, grass and another lovely plant with violet flowers, the name of which I can’t recall.
  • a 7:3 ratio of peat soil and akedama, or bonsai soil
  • dry sphagnum moss (you can buy a whole bag at most plant shops)
  • scissors
  • cotton thread
  • nice packing string like twine, hemp or sisal. Mine is from the wonderful London household shop Labour and Wait.
  • gloves. Yes, it WILL get messy.
  • a jar of water
  • moss, which you can either buy in a large box or pick yourself in the woods


1. Remove as much soil as possible from your tiny plant so that its roots are exposed. Be very thorough but gentle!

2. Mix your peat and akedama soil together. You know the consistency is right when you are able to make a small ball from the earth without it breaking apart.

3. Now that your soil is mixed, start shaping it into a small, orange-sized ball. Use a little bit of water if needed. Think clay or pizza dough.

4. Make sure each ball has enough room to accommodate the roots of your plant.

5. Take a bunch of dry sphagnum moss and wrap it carefully around the roots, making a circular and compact shape. Then tie the cotton string around it several times. This will eventually dissolve.

6. Make a small hole in your soil ball, and gently press the plant inside it. Be careful to “close” the shape back to a sphere


7. Now it’s time for the fun part: take small sheets of moss (any kind of moss) and press them firmly into the soil. Don’t leave any open spaces. Wrap the twine string around the ball as if you are packing a present, and leave the sides as long as needed.

8. Choose a nice, shady place, install a hook and hang your wonderful planet of moss.


{Editor’s Note:  To maintain, water the kokedama with a mist spray bottle once a day. Try to do this early in the morning, to mimic the ‘dew’ effect. }

  1. Willowbee says:

    I love the look of your site – it’s beautiful and your tutorial is fantastic!
    I just would like to point out that in the UK it is a crime to uproot protected wild plants and to take any plant without the permission of the landowner. So, unless you are collecting the moss from your own land it is better (certainly more environmentally responsible) to buy a bag of moss from your local garden centre. :-)

    1. aura says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely compliment, Willowbee, and also for pointing that out! I was not aware of that and found a very clear website from The Wild Flower Society (wonderful name) which has a very clear code of conduct. It’s very useful for those with a private herbarium. I will be posting a couple of new tutorials soon!

  2. Ellen says:

    The third “unknown” plant looks to be vinca to me

  3. Sam says:

    It’s Creeping Myrtle, and this is just lovely. :)

  4. E says:

    How do you water these plants?

    1. G says:

      From what I’ve read, you mist them every morning.

  5. Danielle says:

    I have a hanging one.. I submerge the ball in water for 10 minutes once a week. I could never keep up with everyday… BeforeI water all my other plants I plop it in and by the time I’m done its ready. FYI.. If you have a crazy cat, do not try to make a lovely display in a cute glass jar on your coffee table! Hang them out of reach :)

  6. Tina says:

    Hi, is there anything I could substitute the for sheet moss on the outside?, would sphagnum moss do the trick?

  7. Joni Solis says:

    Doesn’t the twine rot over time and drop the plant onto the floor? Or can you use polyester string?

    1. Patriz says:

      Aluminium wire or nylon wire is usually used because the string, yes, will rot and drop the plant.

  8. Nelly says:

    gorgeous !!!!!😍😍😍😍

  9. K Miller says:

    I’m having a difficult time finding the bonsai soil at any of our local shops. Would a cactus soil work? Or must it be the akadama/bonsai? Thank you!!

  10. Diane says:

    Love this idea Thankyou from sunny qld Australia


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