How to Make A Bromeliad Kokedama Hanging Moss Ball for A Beautiful Vertical Garden as seen here
DIY,  Garden

How to Make A Bromeliad Kokedama Hanging Moss Ball for A Beautiful Vertical Garden

Create A Unique Kokedama Air Plant Garden Like A Rainforest

If you have a bromeliad and want a creative way to grow your epiphyte in the “open air” as nature intended, let me introduce you to Kokedama.  In simple terms, Kokedama is the Japanese art of growing plants suspended in a ball of moss.  Kokedama lets you turn your air plants, including bromeliads, into eye-level works of art by growing them in what is essentially a hanging vertical garden.  Visually captivating yet easy for both the experienced and novice gardener alike, the resulting garden is beautifully tropical yet low-maintenance for the right plants and conditions.  Since Kokedama is not for every plant or environment, let’s discover if you can grow yours in this fun and amazing rainforest style.  Plus, discover how easy it is to make a bromeliad Kokedama hanging moss ball for a beautiful vertical garden in under one hour…

**Note: This post contains affiliate links for which a small commission may be earned if you decide to make a purchase through a link.

What Is Kokedama?

Kokedama is a Japanese “bonsai” planting style where plants are suspended by string (or wire) while their roots are encased in a moist ball of sphagnum moss.  The unique hanging arrangement creates a versatile and striking eye-level hanging garden that manages to be both elegant and rustic at the same time.

If you are considering making your own eye-catching Kokedama, there are a few important considerations…

What Is Kokedama Made From?

A Kokedama moss ball, of course, will always include sphagnum moss for moisture.  Sphagnum moss is the best kind of moss to use since it can hold up to sixteen (16) times its weight in water.  Depending on the type of plant and growing conditions, some Kokedama gardeners have even been known to add soil to their Kokedama.

For air plants, however, a combination of sphagnum and bright green preserved moss is often all that is used.  Combining these two moss types provides the moisture-retaining properties of both sphagnum and preserved moss with the visual appeal of preserved moss.

How to Make A Bromeliad Kokedama Hanging Moss Ball for A Beautiful Vertical Garden in your yard
The inclusion of orchids in this bromeliad Kokedama adds to the hanging garden effect…

What Plants Grow Best In A Kokedama?

Choose “Air Plants”

Although proponents of this growing method claim that you can use almost any kind of plant, in reality Kokedama works best only on certain plants.  Among the best plants to grow Kokedama-style are epiphytic plants, aka “air plants,” such as bromeliads or orchids. 

**Display the beauty of your orchids by growing them in hanging baskets here…

**Want to grow your Phalaenopsis on a tree? Click here. Got Vandas? Learn how to grow Vanda orchids on trees here.

How to Attach a Phalaenopsis Orchid to a Tree_Speckled pink, purple Phalaenopsis mounted on trees
Learn How to Attach a Phalaenopsis Orchid to a Tree here…

Epiphytes & Kokedama

Growing plants Kokedama-style means growing them with little to no soil.  As a result, epiphytic or “air plants,” which do not need any soil, have the best chance to not just survive but to thrive in a Kokedama.  Since about 75% of bromeliads, are epiphytes, they lend themselves perfectly to this arrangement.

In addition to bromeliads, epiphytic orchids such as Phalaenopsis orchids also adapt well to growing in a Kokedama.  As a matter of fact, if you look closely at the bromeliad pictured on this page, you will see that it shares its Kokedama moss ball with a Phalaenopsis orchid.

Plant Size & Kokedama

Of course, when choosing bromeliads, make sure you choose small varieties that grow well in your local climate.  Since many bromeliads are rainforest natives, similar to tropical orchids, your ideal climate should be humid tropical or sub-tropical…

What Type of Environment Is Best for Growing A Bromeliad Kokedama?

Where Your Bromeliad Kokedama Grows Best

Growing in the tree canopy of the rainforests of South and Central America, the Caribbean and West Africa, epiphytic bromeliads soak up plenty of tropical moisture.  Not surprisingly, if you are thinking of growing a bromeliad Kokedama in your backyard, humid and tropical growing conditions are best and what your tropical bromeliads crave.

Another Benefit of Kokedama for Bromeliads? Bromeliads Absorb Moisture From Their “Cups” & Roots

While collecting rainwater in their cups is one way bromeliads stay hydrated, their roots offer another “thirst-quenching” opportunity.  Moist sphagnum moss in a Kokedama helps your bromeliad “drink” its water through its roots.

Can Bromeliads Grow In A Kokedama In A Dry Envrionment?

Due to the moisture-retaining abilities of sphagnum moss, it may be possible to grow a bromeliad kokedama in a dry climate if you hydrate your bromeliad kokedama frequently.  Remember, while sphagnum moss is known to hold water, it will become dry during drought.  This means you need to check your Kokedama for adequate hydration.

How to Make A Bromeliad Kokedama Hanging Moss Ball With An Orchid for A Beautiful Vertical Garden
Add some orchids to your bromeliad Kokedama for a beautiful vertical garden effect…

**Did You Know? Epiphytic Bromeliads Provide A Habitat For Frogs In the Rainforest

With bromeliads’ familiar rosette of leaves acting like a cup, tropical bromeliads can both collect and store water as well as provide a home for wildlife.  That’s right, bromeliads stay hydrated while their cups serve as water pool “homes” for tree frogs and their tadpoles.

**Don’t be surprised if you see small tree frogs using your bromeliad Kokedama as their home like this little guy is doing with this Dendrobium orchid leaf…

How to grow orchids bare root without a medium or pots like this dendrobium in a hanging basket under a tree with a frog resting on the orchid's leaf
Tropical tree frogs often make a home on orchids, as pictured here, or on other epiphytes like bromeliads…

Sunlight & Bromeliads

When hanging your Kokedamas in trees, remember different Bromeliad varieties have different preferences of shade and light.  Since there are many bromeliad varieties, always check your plant’s tag for it’s specific sunlight preferences.

Bottomline: Grow Epiphytic Bromeliad Kokedamas In A Humid Environment

If you live in a tropical or subtropical region, you are best-suited to growing your tropical bromeliad as a Kokedama moss ball.  In your garden, a Kokedama can be a low-maintenance way for you, and your plants, to experience what it’s like to live in a rainforest…

More Benefits of A Bromeliad Kokedama: Ideal for Small Spaces

A Kokedama Hanging Garden Requires Minimal Space

If you don’t have much of a yard, small hanging Kokedama will give you many of the benefits of a garden even if you have very little garden space to work with.

Kokedama Is Portable

In addition to the increased ventilation and continuous access to moisture in humid surroundings, a bromeliad in a Kokedama can be moved.  Your Kokedama can be relocated way more easily that a bromeliad planted in-ground or even one planted in a pot.  So, if a storm threatens or if you ever move house, just grab your Kokedama and go…

TIP! How Can You Create A “Kokedama Garden?”

Try hanging a variety of different bromeliads Kokedama-style in a group or cluster for mega-impact in the form of a “Kokedama garden.”

TIP! Expand Your Vertical “Kokedama Garden” With Hanging Orbs Of Flowers Like Disney

**Add gorgeous hanging flower baskets like the ones at Disney World by following the 11 tricks & tips here… 

How to Grow A Bromeliad Kokedama In A Hanging Moss Ball for A Beautiful Vertical & Tropical Garden
Growing bromeliads in moss creates a serene garden space, plus well-hydrated plants…

How to Make A Bromeliad Kokedama Hanging Moss Ball for A Beautiful Vertical Garden

Supplies You Will Need:

  • Small bromeliad with a healthy root;
  • Bag of preserved sheet moss;
  • Bag of sphagnum moss;
  • Enough water to soak moss;
  • Pan or bucket to soak moss;
  • Fishing line (to reinforce the Kokedama when the twine disintegrates);
  • Garden string (twine); 
  • Scissors & wire cutters;
  • Needle-nose pliers (to bend basket hanger wire);
  • Basket hangers (**You may use one to hang each Kokedama ball but there is a more cost-effective method described below…)
Sphagnum moss, preserved moss & hanger for bromeliad kokedama
Sphagnum moss, preserved sheet moss & basket hanger to make a bromeliad Kokedama…
Giving a classy, natural finish to any plant display, SuperMoss long-lasting preserved sheet moss not only looks good, it helps retain soil moisture for your plant’s health.

Directions to Assemble A Bromeliad Kokedama Hanging Moss Ball

Preparation:

  1. While you may use one metal basket hanger per Kokedama ball, there is a less expensive method wherein you can get multiple hangers out of one!  Start by taking one metal basket hanger, as pictured above and, using your wire cutters, cut the long wires where they separate (directly beneath the hanging loop.)  Proceed to cut the wires at approximately 7-inch intervals.  This should result in a number of smaller sections of wire, which you should set aside until you get to the step titled, “Make the Bromeliad Kokedama Hanger.”
  2. Soak and combine your moss in a bucket or pan of water until it is completely saturated.

Form the Bromeliad Kokadama Moss Ball & Wrap With Fishing Line:

  1. Grab a handful of wet moss and begin wrapping it around the root ball of your bromeliad, adding more until it is in the shape of a ball.
  2. Once you have a ball shape at least roughly the size of a baseball covering the roots, take some fishing line and wrap it around the moss ball with one hand as you hold the ball with your other.  Adding a layer of fishing line first before wrapping it with string will support the ball even when the cotton string disintegrates.
  3. Add additional moss if you find the ball compresses a lot as you wrap it.  Then simply wrap more fishing line until the moss is securely bound in a ball around the root.

Wrap the Kokedama With Cotton String:

  1. Without cutting the line, pull out some cotton string and begin wrapping it around the Kokedama ball tightly and evenly over the fishing line.
  2. Once you are satisfied that the Kokedama is well-supported, pull out enough extra cotton string and line so you are able to hang the ball when it is finished.  Use your scissors to cut both string and line.
  3. Take the ends of both and pull them under and through a tight section close to the base of the plant.  Then bring the string and fishing line over to the opposite side and again pull them both under a tight section at the base.
  4. Finish by tying and knotting the string and line.  The end result should resemble long handbag straps, which you will now use to hang your bromeliad Kokedama.

To Make the Bromeliad Kokedama Hanger:

  1. Take one of the 7-inch pieces of wire that you cut earlier and position two inches of it through the top of the string/line hanging loop you created above.  Use the needle-nose pliers to twist the wire end up into a very small loop so the wire hooks onto and securely holds the string/line.  Then simply bend the other end of the wire into a half circle to make the “hanger.”
  2. Now, hang your beautiful Kokedama from a nearby tree branch and prepare to get lots of questions and ooh’s and ah’s from your neighbors…
How to Grow A Bromeliad Kokedama In A Hanging Moss Ball for A Beautiful Rainforest Garden_Metal Hanger View
You may use one metal hanger per Kokedama, as seen here, but cutting the hanger into multiple pieces and combining with string is much more cost-efficient.

How to Make A Bromeliad Kokedama Hanging Moss Ball for A Beautiful Vertical Garden? Just Bookmark & Share These Tips

Creative and fun, growing bromeliad Kokedama on moss mimics how many grow naturally in rainforests.  Just make sure you have the right warm and humid conditions for your bromeliad, and you too can create an enchanting vertical “rainforest” paradise in your own backyard.

Be sure to bookmark and share this page so everyone you know can try Kokedama…  After all, in the right climate, Kokedama can be a low-maintenance way for you, and your plants, to experience what it’s like to live in a rainforest…

***Have you ever made a Kokedama?  Share your experience in the comments!

How to Make A Bromeliad Kokedama Hanging Moss Ball for A Beautiful Vertical Garden With Orchids