6 Tips for Marimo Moss Balls

DID YOU KNOW…Marimo Moss Balls

Marimo moss balls aren’t actually a moss, but algae? Did you know they can live up to 100 years and that they are native to lakes in Scotland, Ireland and are a national treasure in Japan? Their folklore tells a tale of two lovers who were forbidden to be together. Heartbroken, they both fell into the water and drown and their hearts became the first Marimo. Because of this sweet story, Marimo are often given as gifts to signify love and commitment.


Personally, I love caring for these beauties and find them fascinating to observe and adore how their bright green aesthetic adds vibrancy to any sacred space. Over the years I’ve learned some wonderful ways to keep them happily thriving too!

HERE ARE MY TOP 6 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR MARIMO HAPPY:

Tip no. 1

Keep them away from direct sun but in a brightly lit location. I find them growing happiest floating in a large vase on my dining room table next to northern exposure windows, so they get plenty of light, but never actually see the sun.

What happens if they get too much light? They will develop brown spots. Think of it as their way of getting a sunburn. I will guide you through how to help them recover in Tip no. 4

Tip no. 2

Change out the water every 7-10 days. Here’s my step by step process: Marimo Moss Balls

Remove each Marimo from the vase of water, gently cup your hands around them to help retain their round shape to keep them from tearing. Then, slowly squeeze until all the water is removed. For reference, Marimo balls can condense to a little bigger than half their hydrated size, so don’t squeeze too much or you can break the round shape. (it won’t kill them, but you will lose that nice orb aesthetic)

Place each Marimo on a clean surface while you clean the vase or aquarium. I use hot water and a clean towel to wipe away any residue inside the vase, then I rinse the vase thoroughly with cool water to make sure it’s cooled off once again. Remember, these green beauties are native to cold lakes prefer to be chilly. 

Next, fill the vase with cold tap water and add a few ice cubes. Replace the Marimo into their new water and back to their indirectly lit home. You can also give the vase a swirl or turn every so often to give them a chance to rotate and retain their nice spherical shape. 

Tip no. 3

The little extras that make a big difference!

I add carbonated water to the vase every month. The extra intake of CO2 gives them a boost to help photosynthesis. I’ve found the ratio of half tap water and half carbonated water (roughly half, I’m a notorious non-measurer) is a safe and effective addition to your ongoing Marimo care routine. Here’s one of the recent posts about this method:

Tip no. 4

For a sick Marimo ball, here are my suggestions from past experience:

Add a pinch of sea salt to the water when treating Marimo with brown spots or sun damage.

Since they sometimes live in brackish water, a slight dose of salt actually helps them heal their wounds. I also suggest keeping any Marimo with spots in a separate vase so you can keep track of the healing process. I’ve had success bringing damaged Marimo balls back to health by changing the water out more frequently (about every 5-7 days) adding carbonated water with every water change, and a pinch of salt. 

I also use this method for any Marimo with a slightly stinky odor. If you remove the Marimo, squeeze out the water and smell a stinky, dank or swampy odor, I suggest using the above method. Be sure to squeeze out the water every time you do cleaning too. It’s very important to remove those impurities to help it recover and thrive again.

***Note: If your Marimo is stinky AND has grey spots, I’m sorry to say that there is little to be done to save it. I suggest removing it from the water and composting it. Be sure to clean the vase or aquarium before adding any new marina.

Tip no. 5

Create your own ‘Living Arrangement’ 

I LOVE using Marimo when propagating my monstera, sansevieria, maranta or philodendron cuttings. Since they don’t need to be in direct light while propagating and growing roots, I often add these cuttings in with my Marimo moss balls. Here are a few examples:

I’ve recorded a few videos on my Youtube channel covering this process too. 

Marimo Moss Balls

Marimo moss balls also make for a fun centerpiece as they are often the root of many conversation starters, especially for children, who I always encourage to touch or hold the Marimo. It’s a fun sensory experience for them.

Tip no. 6

Where to find them? I’ve been extremely happy with this online source, Plants for Pets. They grow them sustainably, have beautiful products and are always happy to answer questions. Looks like they just set up a new amazon store


Hope that helps my friends! As always, sending out love with the hope to inspire you to create a sacred space in your world too. Natural World Therapy for all!! 

Oh, and, did you know I’m working on a book? Sacred Elements Guidebook, preorder begins December 2019! I’ll send out an update in my seasonal newsletter too.

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