Kokedama Fever

The popularity of bonsai has spread to practically every corner of Earth. Now you often can find people selling truckloads of bonsai in parking lots and street corners. Bonsai lovers range from the masters who can sell pieces for thousands of dollars to the novices who can barely keep their store-bought plant alive.

The new horticultural trend that is quickly spreading is Kokedama, literally translated into “moss ball.” This bonsai style is now most often associated as a hanging garden and commonly known as “the Japanese string garden,” and includes an arrangement of a variety of flowers, wild flowers, grass and other plants. Instead of miniature pots and pruning, plant growth is limited by the size of the ball.

There are a lot of DIY instructions on the web, but not too much description about the art form itself. From what I could gather, its history is unknown but derives from “Nearai” of bonsai.

Nearai is just one of the methods to appreciate Bonsai. The plants with an earth ball are removed from its container and placed on a flat dish or a shallow tray leaving the roots visible. The soil doesn’t fall away because the well-grown roots hold the soil firmly.

Example of Nearai

Luckily Kokedamas are easy to grow and have better tolerance to its environment. Here are some beautiful string garden examples by Fedor Van der Valk:


Sources: Landezine, String Gardens, Japan-i, & sala-sala


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