Last Winter my little ladies and I were wandering through the pet store looking at the fish and we came across a floating ball of green. We learned that it was called a Marimo ball (Cladophora aegagropila), or a Japanese moss ball. The Marimo ball is considered a National Treasure in Japan, can bring good luck, and make all your wishes come true if you care for it well. We instantly became intrigued, brought one home, and put it in a pickle jar with a couple of rocks; for the past year it has been growing really well but we thought it deserved a prettier home, we do want those wishes to come true for goodness sakes.
Our original Marimo ball in the pickle jar home.
Supplies needed: Marimo moss ball (found in pet stores in the aquarium section), a clean jar, sand, rocks, shells, little figurines, other aquatic plants, really anything you want to pretty up the place for your moss ball
To make the terrarium: 1. In a clean jar add the sand. 2. Place any other aquatic plant in the sand so the roots are covered. 3. Place shells, rocks, and figurines in the sand. 4. Fill the jar with room temperature tap water. We have a well so our water is not the same as city water but I really don’t think it matters, the moss balls are pretty hardy plants so they can take it.
The care of the terrarium: Change the water every week to 2 weeks (in all honesty, Fauna has let hers go a month without a water change and “Tribbles” was fine). When changing the water, take out the moss ball, tap it, and gently shape to help the moss ball keep its spherical shape. Keep in a well lit area out of direct sunlight.
Marimo balls are photosynthetic and display unique behaviors according to habitat change due to water temperature and columns of light by floating or rolling in the water. They grow about 5mm a year and can live a long time, the longest living Marimo ball lived over 100 years! Marimo balls are currently protected in Japan to keep them from going extinct, the moss balls we find for sale here in the USA are a “domesticated” type.
Really, you can’t get an easier houseplant than a Marimo moss ball and it can live a lifetime with you! It’s funny, I feel like these moss balls will be to my girls what pet rocks were to me in the 70’s.