Kicky Kokedama

A vintage designer jewelry find and the right plant create a kicky kokedama look for an indoor or outdoor garden! Read more of how I created it:

The Japanese art of Kokedama (moss ball) is a form of bonsai that is hundreds of years old and is still trendy today. The roots of a plant are wrapped in a ball of peat and akadama (clay-like material) then the piece is covered in moss. The moss ball is then held together with string or wire.

I found this pre-made moss-covered wire form with a detachable hanging chain and thought it would make a quick way to get the kokedama look. It’s kind of cheating because there’s no work hand-forming a ball of soil around the roots. All I needed was a small plant and a bit of potting soil to fill the ball.Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree

One day while antiquing, I was inspired by an adorable vintage butterfly pin. It was missing a few stones, but I loved the look of it. The green eye stones caught my attention and intuition told me that this brooch, with its aged gold patina, would make the perfect accessory on my moss ball so I grabbed it for just two dollars!Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree vintage butterfly pin

I envisioned gold wire wrapped around the ball and the pin attached to it backed by the mossy green. Though it’s not the authentic look of kokedama, I thought it would be something unique and stylish.

Well maybe I’m getting a little glitzy here and kokedama doesn’t get glammed up, but it’s my party and I’m having fun, besides, I love being original and “kicky” kokedama could turn out to be the next hot planting and/or decorating trend!

I really needed to find a plant to complete this moss ball project so I headed to Berlin’s greenhouse. I caught sight of the deep-maroon, almost black color of a purple shamrock  (Oxalis triangularis) (aka Love Plant) backlit by the sun. I thought it would make a great accent plant for the moss ball and visualized it hanging from my window.Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love Plant Purple Shamrock

A greenhouse staffer said it could take some sun, would do well as an indoor plant and appreciate being moved outdoors in summer. Its upright form and contrast of the white flowers (with a tiny pinkish tinge) against dark leaves made a striking statement.Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love Plant Purple Shamrock1

To plant it, I first soaked the moss form then added a small handful of plain potting soil to the ball. I could have purchased bonsai soil but I’m a rebel. I removed the plant from its pot then gently teased away some of the soil from the top and bottom and worked the remaining roots into the moss ball; it barely fit.  I filled a bowl with water then set it in to completely soak the ball and to remove trapped air pockets around the roots. I let it drain well (you don’t want a drippy plant hanging indoors).

I had gold thread on hand and wrapped it around the ball in a haphazard manner then attached the pin to the thread. I may decide to replace the string with gold wire if it breaks.Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Vintage Philip Hulitar Butterfly Pin

Wallah! Here’s my new kicky kokedama hanging in the kitchen window! I LOVE it! The gold thread adds just enough glimmer to the moss and the pin is perfect!Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love plant Purple Shamrock vintage butterfly pin

Kokedama can be placed in a bowl or on a plate if hanging plants aren’t for you. I needed a quick table centerpiece, so I unsnapped the chain and set the ball on a black plate then added some white rocks to balance it. It looks even more kicky now!Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love plant Purple Shamrock vintage butterfly pin1.jpg

My kicky kokedama centerpiece looks great after one month so I’m not going to hang it. The flowers are gone and the stems have grown taller and lean towards the sun so I rotate it.  The leaves seem to be doing well and I’m seeing signs of new growth. When the weather warms, it will be placed outdoors. I’m quite happy with my new “vintage” living art piece!Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love plant Purple Shamrock vintage butterfly pin2

Give kicky kokedama a try, it’s fun and there are so many ways that you can decorate these balls and change the look with jewelry. I think they would look cute with beads (maybe vintage ones) strung along the wire. The possibilities are endless 🙂

About the pin: I learned that the vintage brooch is a signed piece designed by Philip Hulitar. Although there are signs of age showing on the metal and it’s missing some rhinestones, I feel that this lends a nod to wabi-sabi (Japanese concept of imperfection).Kicky Kokedama New garden trend decorating trend Crabtree Gardens Sandi Crabtree Love plant Purple Shamrock vintage butterfly pin3

About the plant: Oxalis triangularis has three common names: Purple Shamrock, False Shamrock and Love Plant (my favorite). Oxalis grow from tiny bulbs that increase in number. The leaves are heart-shaped and arranged in groups of three joining at their points as they emerge from the top of the stem. The leaves close at night and open in the morning.  I think they resemble the wings of a butterfly (maybe that’s what also attracted me to them in the greenhouse).

Do you like the glitzy look of this kicky kokedama? How about that “Love Plant?

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About crabtreegardens

I am a passionate decorator and the head gardener at Crabtree Gardens, LLC, which is a five acre naturalized garden located in Drums, PA. I advocate chemical-free, low maintenance gardening methods and working along with nature. I'm a freelance garden writer and member of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.
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6 Responses to Kicky Kokedama

  1. Chris Leskosky says:

    I love glitz on anything! This is adorable.

  2. Jacki Rydzefski says:

    It is so neat! I love the butterfly , they are special to me.

  3. Rebecca says:

    That is awesome. It would make a great gift, especially with Mother’s Day just around the corner.

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