Kokedama bonsai are undoubtedly cute, but they’re not the easiest plants to look after at home, says our gardening expert
Outside a tiny shop on the way to one of Kyoto’s most famous temple gardens, I saw a tiny tree. A bonsai pine, perhaps 20cm high, sat on a pretty ceramic saucer, its root ball wrapped in moss. It was perfect.
Kokedama is a form of bonsai. It does away with the pot and instead wraps the roots of the plant in soil and moss, the whole thing tied together with nylon fishing wire or waxed cotton string, so the roots resemble a ball. It has become hipster heaven, thanks in no small measure to Instagram. The moment may be passing, but I still see them in trendy coffee shops. Often, these are slightly tortured versions, with the moss clearly dead. But then, kokedama does not make for easy house plants, because the moss needs to be dripping wet all day and, without a pot to hold in the moisture, the roots tend to dry out.