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  • Writer's pictureHeather Green

Are Marimo’s the Next Big Thing?

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Growing up, I spent $30 of my Christmas money, on a Bonsai. I loved it. It was so cute and it gave my “Asian Themed” bedroom (because I was really into martial arts at the time) the perfect touch.


However, in Florida, we have these horrible little creatures called sugar ants that seem to find their way into homes every summer to escape the heat. They don’t sting like fire ants, but they are really annoying and seem to get into everything…which is exactly what they did to my poor Bonsai. Overnight it became infested with these little ants. I was young and didn’t know how else to handle an infestation of this manner except to spray my Bonsai quite heavily with an ant killer and it worked! er…kind of. While the ants did die, my Bonsai died too and that was my first introduction to having an indoor house plant.

Social media (like my Instagram) usually shows beautifully styled homes with lush green houseplants everywhere, but more often than not, I hear people complaining about them online. They die, they turn weird colors, remembering to water them seems to be a constant ongoing war and I’m left with the impression that perhaps a houseplant is something you give to someone like a frenemy. The idea seems nice at first, “Oh look at this cute little plant I got you!” but then GAWD FORBID they kill it, and then they’re “the ones who killed the pretty plant you gave them” and even if you don’t say anything, that plant will be hanging like an albatross from around their neck. Trust me, if I give you a houseplant, chances are I’m openly telling you that I don’t like you and I want to give you a really inconvenient gift that now you are responsible for keeping alive.

Marimos are different though…They’re kind of like a cute little water/pet/plant thing. If there isn’t a pokemon fashioned after these cute little guys then there should be! They come from Japan which makes them already pretty Kawaii. While they’re frequently referred to as moss balls, they actually aren’t a moss at all, but a kind of algae that kind of weaves itself together. It also is rolled around in streams which gives it its ball-like qualities. Never again will you “forget” to water this plant, because it lives in the water!!!

They also have a beautiful legend around them. The story says that there was a daughter born to the chief of a tribe on the Japanese lake of Akan. She falls in love with a commoner and of course, her parents disapprove of them getting married, so they decided to run away but accidentally fell into the lake and became Marimo where they could live together forever. It’s actually a national treasure in Japan and people often give them to one another to “help accomplish the heart's desire” according to Be sure that where you get them is a trusted place. Since their popularity is going up, some dealers online have opted to make fake ones by gluing moss onto styrofoam balls. Needless to say, this is not what you want. I actually got mine at PetCo, so be sure to check your local pet stores, especially if they have a fish section.

People often make little “homes” for these guys out of basically anything that can hold water. They don’t like direct sunlight, which makes them ideal for bathrooms, and office desks and the only maintenance is that you occasionally swap out their water every two weeks or so, give them a little squeeze in your hand and roll them around to help them keep their shape. THAT IS IT!!!! It’s easier to care for than a hamster seriously…and the best part is, that they can live for 100+ years, and they grow crazy slow, so you can pretty much count on not having to buy a bigger container for it for many years. Speaking of containers, there are all kinds of ideas on Pinterest as well as kits you can buy.

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