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Vermont Garden Journal: Get The Hang Of Kokedama Houseplants

Kokedama is a small houseplant in a ball of clay and peatmoss held together with twine. It can be hung in a room or placed in a tray or stand.

I'm always looking for new plants and growing techniques. That's why I'm fascinated with kokedama hanging houseplants. Kokedama is an ancient form of Japanese bonsai. It's also called "poorman's bonsai" because it is so easy to do.

The idea is to plant a small houseplant in a ball of clay and peat moss surrounded by green sphagnum moss and held together with twine. The ball and plant can then be hung in a room or placed in a tray on a table or plant stand.

Interested? Here's what to do. Choose slow growing plants with small root systems, and ones that like a wet soil. For a shady spot, try using pothos, ivy, begonia or creeping fig. In a sunnier room try sedum, mint or wandering jew. To make a small kokedama, create a four-inch diameter root-ball using clay and peat moss. Soak it until wet. You can also use a heavy potting soil.

Select a small plant, remove it from its pot and knock off as much of the potting soil as possible. Open the clay and moss ball and place the root system in the center. Then seal it back up.

Next, moisten the green sheet sphagnum moss. Take pieces and wrap it around the soil-ball. Using twine or fishing line, secure the sphagnum moss to the root-ball. If you're hanging your kokedama, make a loop with the twine  to attach to a hanger.

Keep your kokedama healthy by soaking it in a bowl of water for five to 10 minutes when it's dry. You can tell its dry by the weight of the ball. Periodically, add fertilizer to the bowl of water. Once you get the hang of kokedama houseplants, you can make outdoor kokedama flowers and even woody plants.

Now for this week's tip: do a check list of seed starting supplies and stock up on potting soil, pots, labels and trays. Replace old grow lights and create a schedule of seed starting for winter.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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