Houseplant of the week: moss balls

Soothing and mysterious, marimo sits perfectly on a bedside table or home office desk

Why will I love it?

This is a supremely calming plant. Despite its common name – “moss balls” – it’s actually composed of velvety balls of filamentous algae. I love watching the furry globes bobbing gently in the water.

Light or shade?

They require low-to-medium indirect light, and protection from direct sun.

Where should I put it?

On a bright home office desk or a bedside table, two places you will appreciate its soothing nature.

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How do I keep it alive?

Place in an open glass bowl or jar filled with water. Change the water every two weeks – tap water is fine. If the room temperature exceeds 25C in summer, move the container to the fridge or a cool spot near an air conditioner until temperatures fall.

Did you know …

The Japanese call this plant marimo and regard it as a national treasure: it has been a protected species there since 1920. The balls’ round shape is formed and maintained by gentle wave action that occasionally turns them. In addition, they have a mysterious ability to float by day and sink at night. They can grow up to 30cm in diameter, and with the right care they can live for decades, making them a plant pet for life.

Contributor

Gynelle Leon

The GuardianTramp

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