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String Garden Party!

On Saturday, my nursery pals Michael and Audrey and I headed for Santa Cruz for a String Garden workshop at DIG Gardens. The workshop was conducted by DIG’s garden manager Jen Dumford. By the end of the workshop, we had each created our very own “Moss Ball”… “String Garden”… “Kokedama specimen” to bring home. Jen brought her experience and friendliness to the table and taught us all the steps (and tricks) for making a hanging Moss Ball.

If you Google “string gardens” or “moss balls” or “kodedama”, you will see an amazing array of moss balls… from the tiniest fern to a fruiting or blooming tree… suspended from a hook or sitting in a bowl or shallow dish. Many articles have been written, and while Kodedama soil recipes and tutorials vary quite a bit, enough step by step instructions are online to get you started, like here on Design Sponge.

These were easy and super fun to make, and a great excuse (as if you need an excuse) to spend a day in Santa Cruz! ♥

What You Need


  • scissors
  • pencil
  • crochet needle (optional) or medium gauge floral wire


  • sheet moss, preserved or living
  • jute, 1 roll
  • water
  • Kokedama soil mix (generally 70% peat moss, 30% topsoil or Bonsai mix)
  • plant specimen, generally in a 2-4″ pot


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The Steps

  1. Add water to soil mix and knead with hands until you get a consistency that holds together and doesn’t fall apart when squeezed slightly.
  2. Remove plant from pot and gently rub away existing soil around the root ball.
  3. Add soil around root ball, patting gently to shape into ball. Repeat as necessary until you reach the desired ball diameter. Squeeze out excess water.
  4. Wrap moss around soil ball. Remove excess moss and patch any gaps with moss pieces. Pin as needed with floral wire bent into a U shape (remove after).
  5. Start wrapping mossed soil ball with twine, continuing until gaps between string are approximately 1 inch. You can use one continuous piece of twine, or you can use long sections (3-4 feet) cut and tied off. Using cut pieces of string allows you to tie off to other pieces and adds to the overall strength of your ball.
  6. Add 1-4 pieces of string to the sides of your ball, cut to desired length, and make a loop at the top for hanging. Use crochet hook or floral wire with a bent “hook” end to fish twine through wrapped portions of twine. Cut tied-off ends to about 1/2 inch and tuck into ball using sharp end of pencil.
  7. If you prefer not to hang your ball, skip step 6 and display your moss ball in a bowl or shallow dish.
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Jen wrapping her moss ball.


Audrey forming her soil ball around a coffee plant’s rootball.

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My asparagus fern, loosely wrapped with moss.


Proof from Michael that this is a hands-on workshop.

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My fern, shaping up with twine.

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Michael figuring out where to add twine.

Ta da!!!!!


Angela’s asparagus fern Moss Ball!


Michael’s fern moss ball!


Audrey’s coffee plant Moss Ball!

Here’s a start-to-finish video tutorial from another nursery. Note: It is different from DIG’s. Still fun to watch… but different.

It’s not exactly the same technique, but it give you some visuals on how to make a string garden. If you are in northern California, try to attend one of DIG’s workshops! I’d love to attend more.

Here’s my little Moss Ball, back in Sac, hanging from my backyard patio cover.

My Moss Ball, out on the back patio back in Sac.

My Moss Ball, out on the back patio back in Sac.

kokedama, moss ball, string gardens

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