care & grow guide: marimo moss balls

Published on 30 January 2023 at 16:25

Marimo moss balls were given their name by Japanese botanist Tatsuhiko Kawakami - Mari meaning 'bouncy play ball' and Mo is a generic term for aquatic plants. But despite their nickname, they actually aren't moss at all - they're a form of algae. They're found naturally in the lakes of Japan and Iceland, meaning they like cold temperatures and low light conditions, making them super easy to care for! 


Marimos are happiest in medium to low light, so place them somewhere away from sunlight. Remember though, they are a living plant, so they need a little bit of light to photosynthesise! I keep my Marimos on shelves, shaded from any nearby windows or artificial light sources which could scorch them. They tend to sit at the bottom of their terrarium, but when photosynthesising, they can float up and down!


Marimos are perfectly happy at average room temperature, but they love to be a little on the chilly side! If the weather is especially warm, treat your Marimo by putting the whole container in the fridge for a few hours to cool it down. Remember, these little guys are used to the cold! 


For Marimos to be in the best possible condition, they should have their water changed every 1-2 weeks. Like most plants, the best water for Marimos is either distilled or rainwater. But tap water is perfectly safe to use! To change their water, first remove your moss ball and set it aside somewhere safe. Gently tip out as much water as you can, being careful not to tip out any of the gravel! Refill the water, and remember to give your Marimo a clean before popping it straight back into the water. Marimo moss balls are also a great addition to an aquarium, and fish love hiding behind them! If you do put your Marimo in your fish tank, make sure its a fairly large size - I'd say at least a few inches in size, as some fish like to take a nibble at them! 


It's really important to keep your Marimo clean so it stays healthy! Sick Marimos can start to turn a little brown, but regular cleaning will really help to avoid this happening. When you're cleaning out your moss balls house, wash Marimo separately by submerging it in clean water, then gently squeezing the excess water out. Repeat this a few times, then carefully roll Marimo in the palm of your hand. This will help it retain its rounded ball shape! Putting a pinch of salt in Marimos newly clean home is really beneficial in keeping them clean and healthy.


how to keep your marimo moss ball happy & healthy :)) #plantsoftiktok #marimomossball

♬ Oblivion - Grimes


Turning white: too much light

Turning brown: may need cleaning, or hasn't has enough light.

Turning black: decaying - cut away any decay and keep cleaning. 


Overall Marimos are really easy to care for, as long as you keep them away from excess heat & direct sunlight, and remember to clean their water every 1-2 weeks. 

Happy growing!

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