So who’s ready to get some dirt under their nails? In this article, I’ll be blending my love for growing succulents with a fun gardening technique called Kokedama. Follow along and I’ll show you How to Make a Hanging Succulent Garden.
Recently my garden buddy Mary Jane and I were both feeling a little crafty so we decided to try our hands at making string gardens a.k.a Kokedamas. Mary Jane chose to use broad leaf plants see her result here, and check out how amazing they look in her Luxury Spa Bath post. I had so many succulent babies that needed a new home, so I decided to use them and create succulent kokedamas.
What does Kokedama mean? Well, according to Wikipedia:
Kokedama (苔玉, in English, literally “moss ball”) is a ball of soil, covered with moss, on which an ornamental plant grows. The idea has its origins in Japan, where it is a combination of both nearai bonsai and kusamono planting styles. Today, Kokedama is very popular in Japanese gardens.
What Makes Succulent Kokedamas Unique?
While we ARE using the Kokedama technique, we will be creating a soil mix that is a closer match to a succulent’s natural soil type. Succulents prefer a more free-draining soil than what is used in typical Kokedama soil.
While Cactus soil is the obvious choice, it’s too sandy and won’t hold together in the moss ball. So I’ve decided to use Organic Potting Soil specifically Pro-Mix Organic Vegetable and Herb Mix, but I’ve added about 25% more perlite to lighten the soil structure and provide some additional drainage to the moss ball.
The Benefits of Making your own Hanging Succulent Garden
Hanging gardens are great for small space gardeners, they are cheap and easy to make. They only take a couple cups of soil each, and if you wildcraft your moss.
Perhaps the best part about creating these string gardens is that they are so fun to make with friends. So invite the gals over and pour some vino and create something beautiful together.
This recipe should yield about 6 orange sized planting balls, here’s what you’ll need:
- 6-8 cups Potting soil (cactus mix is too sandy)
- 2 cups Perlite – to keep the soil free draining
- 1/2 cup Powdered Clay – to bind the soil
- Moss – Can be store-bought or wildcrafted where to find it
- Plants – I used a blend of succulents
- White Cotton string or natural jute
- Mixing bowl or Galvanized bucket
- Watering can or jar of water
Add the potting soil and perlite to the mixing bowl mix together and water slightly. Add clay a bit at a time mixing and lightly watering working up to 1 tbsp/cup of soil max.
Form a test ball with your hands. Soil should hold together but remain light and airy. The balls should hold together on their own but yield to pressure and crumble when squeezed.
Once you are happy with the consistency, remove the plants from their pots and gently teasing away any excess soil, plants don’t like to be out of soil for long so work quickly and don’t forget about them.
Take your succulent plant and start forming a ball of soil mixture around the roots. Ensuring all the roots are covered and the soil is not overly compacted. The balls should be orange to grapefruit size, depending on the size of the plant’s original root ball. In the photo below I’ve combined a few succulent plants into one ball for a different style.
On a table or your workbench, lay out an even sheet of moss, large enough to cover the balls. Place the ball in the center of the moss with the plant facing up, bring the moss up and wrap it around the plant, leaving the top of the plant uncovered.
Adding the String to your Hanging Succulent Garden:
Securing one end of the string with your thumb, begin wrapping the string around the ball. If you like a tidy ball, work your way around the ball slowly. If you’re a knitter like me, think of winding a center pull ball of yarn.
Fun tip: It might be good to practice this a few times before you start, by wrapping the string around a balled up sock or kitchen towel.
Once the moss is secured and you’re happy with the look of the ball, tuck the string in and secure it with a knot. Now, measure a long string and tie it to the back if the succulent moss ball for hanging. Hang your indoor succulent garden in a sunny window, outside on a patio or from a tree branch in the garden.
Caring for Hanging Indoor Plants:
Hanging succulent gardens are so easy to care for, as long as they have a sunny place to be. Feel free to water occasionally(maybe every other week depending on the plant’s needs) by submerging the ball in a sink or bucket of water until it sinks, leave it to soak overnight if desired but no longer that. Feel free to add a few drops of organic liquid kelp or organic cactus food to the water if desired. Before you hang it back up, be sure to let any extra water drip off the bottom to avoid making a mess on the floor. I have even given the moss balls a little squeeze over the sink to make sure they don’t drip on the carpet.
For More Succulent Goodness see my Companion Articles:
If you grow your own succulents you know they are easy to propagate and really fun to craft with, last fall I made Mini Pumpkin Succulent Planters. For more on Succulents including How to pot up Succulents see my collection of articles here.
Well, that’s it for now, to see more photos of my succulent kokedamas pop over to my Instagram page and leave a comment.
Thanks for hanging out… get it… lol
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