The creation and maintenance of a Kokedama plant are considered quite a task. For this reason, it can become very heartbreaking to wake up one day and see your kokedama dying.
The most common reasons a kokedama is dying are under- and overwatering, insufficient light sources, inappropriate temperatures, pests, or diseases. You can revive a dying kokedama by carefully following the care instructions of the plant and by repotting it in fresh soil.
In this article, we will try to provide you with all the information necessary to be aware of why your Kokedama plant might be dying and for that matter, how to prevent it.
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Why is my Kokedama dying?
Here are the 5 most common reasons why your kokedama is dying.
1. Under or overwatering
Most people don’t fear overwatering a Kokedama because of the design it’s constructed with. Although it’s partly true that Kokedamas have a well-drained structure, there is still a chance you may be overwatering it. The most common signs of an overwatered Kokedama are yellow and/or brown leaves that end up falling off, blisters on leaves, and paused growth. Another obvious sign of overwatering would be the soil of the ball being always wet.
But don’t get too obsessed with overwatering because you may end up going the other way. With Kokedamas, underwatering is just as risky as overwatering. Your Kokedama may be lacking water if it presents dry withered leaves that end up dying. Other underwatering sigs are the same as the overwatering ones, that’s why it’s best to check the soil to avoid confusion.
The risks in overwatering are root rot and the encouragement of insect infestation. While the risks of underwatering will simply be your plant drying up and eventually dying.
The easiest and most common way to control any watering issues will be to only water the kokedama when the soil is dry. You can easily check if the soil is dry by poking the kokedama with a toothpick.
If the toothpick is moist, then you don't have to water the plant. If the toothpick is dry, it's time to water the kokedama.
Always water you’re Kokedama with the soaking method. Place the bottom half of the ball in a bowl of water and let it absorb for at least 10 to 25 minutes depending on the type of plant. After this, remove the ball from the bowl and squeeze it until all the excess water is drained.
2. Insufficient lighting conditions
Lighting will always be a key factor in you’re Kokedama’s growth and health. Many make the mistake to hang their Kokedama plant in a place where it isn’t receiving enough light. Even though this might look tempting if you’re taking into account aesthetic purposes, you’re Kokedama will never survive without the right amount of light.
When the leaves begin to change from dark to light green this is a clear sign of lack of lighting. If the problem continues, the leaves will eventually turn yellow and die.
Another sign of not enough lighting is paused growth. If you’re Kokedama plant stops growing for a couple of weeks, consider checking its lighting conditions.
On the other side, too much light can also be a problem. When the plant receives too much light, the light will burn the leaves. This will cause the leaves to become brown or black.
Make sure the plant receives bright indirect sunlight, and you will always be good.
3. Cold or warm drafts
Kokedamas hate cold or warm drafts and are extremely sensitive to these kinds of drafts.
To maintain a healthy kokedama, you want to make sure you have the right temperatures around the plant. Although it often depends on the type of plant that you are growing in a kokedama, room temperature is in most cases good enough for the plant.
Extreme cold or warm drafts can be lethal for your kokedama and will slowly kill it.
Sources of cold drafts that you want to avoid are the front or back door, patio, drafty window, and air conditioning unit.
Sources of warm drafts that you want to avoid are heat vents, radiators, a space heater, an oven, and a fireplace.
4. Inappropriate temperatures
One can grow a wide variety of plants inside a Kokedama. For this reason, you need to identify the correct weather conditions for the plant you’re growing. Temperate plants will require colder temperatures and may need to be placed outside, while tropical plants will prefer warmer rooms and humidity.
Tropical Kokedamas will need extra attention during winter since they are at risk of not receiving as much heat and eventually wilting. Tropical plants also need to grow in humidity, so you can either buy a humidity tray or you can mist your Kokedama every day several times.
Temperate plants will require some sort of contact with the outside. So be sure to hang them near a door or window for them to grow as healthy as possible. If you keep a temperate plant too closed up, then it will eventually show yellow leaves.
Highly elevated temperatures are dangerous for both tropical and temperate plants because the roots of Kokedama plants are less protected than the ones in regular pots. This means the roots run a higher risk of getting dried out.
5. Check for pests & diseases
Even though you could have been taking care of you’re Kokedama every day and following all the instructions you need, you can still wake up one day and find yourself with a plant that presents yellow leaves and stunted growth. If this happens, your Kokedama plant has most likely caught pests or diseases.
Since the plant isn’t living in a regular pot, you’re Kokedma will be very vulnerable to insects so you must catch the infestation at an early state
The first measure of prevention you must take is to use dry moss to wrap your Kokedama ball. Living moss with moist soil is very attractive to some pests like gnats. If they happen to like the soil of the living moss you chose for you’re Kokedama, they will most likely lay eggs on it.
Root aphids are a little trickier. These insects will drain the nutrients of you’re plant and cause the leaves to be discolored. To get rid of them you might need to take your Kokedama ball apart and let the soil bake.
Even though it’s always better to attack the problem from the root, you can always buy pesticides or neem oil spray to get rid of these problems.
How to revive a dying kokedama
There are a couple of things you can do to revive a kokedama and make it healthy again.
Carefully follow the care instruction
Depending on what plant you are growing as a kokedama, it's always best to follow the care instructions carefully. Caring for the plant in the right way means that you give the plant the right amount of light, soil, water, temperature, and fertilizer.
It's best to search for the relevant care guide online to make sure your plant stays healthy and happy.
Check out UnicaPlants care guides for more info on specific plants.
Repot into fresh soil
Another reason your Kokedama may seem to be dying is that it simply needs to be repotted into fresh soil.
Kokedamas usually last between 18 and 24 months before they need to “re-ball”. So before you move it to a better lighting setting or pour any pesticide in it, consider the age of your plant.
The best way to check if the plant needs repotting is by looking at the roots, if they are coming through the ball, then it’s time to move your plant to a bigger ball or a regular pot.
Thank you for reading this article until the end, hope you enjoyed it and were able to get some useful information to save your Kokedama plant.