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Wabi-Kusa: The Emersed Aquatic Garden

Updated: Mar 28, 2019

Back in 2017, SFAS plant expert Leon Garden provided a unique experience for SFAS members at a Special Interest Group (SIG) before the August meeting. He presented a demonstration on the preparation of a wabi-kusa, an emersed miniature aquarium garden. Wabi-kusas have become increasingly popular in the aquarium hobby and it’s obvious why, they’re really beautiful to display.

Joanne Garden helping Leon wrapping the 'mud ball' with thread

Here’s Leon’s guide to preparing one:


WABI-KUSA SIG August 2017



1.5 cup Organic Potting Soil Mix Any brand from your garden shop

0.5 cup Rich Planted Aquarium Substrate I use ADA AquaSoil

2 tbsp Seed Bomb Clay Powder Can be found on Amazon

1 qt Sprayer Bottle From any household goods store

1 sq ft Black Nylon Tulle Mesh A fabric store – or on Amazon

Black Cotton Thread From any hobby supply store

Bamboo Skewer From your kitchen drawer

Aquatic Plants From your aquarium or SFAS Auction

Planting Forceps If you have them – fingers work too

Decorative Container Clear, with a lid – a small aquarium, food container, etc


You are going to mix the potting soil, substrate, and seed bomb powder then wet it with the sprayer bottle until it just holds together. Wrap the mud ball in the tulle mesh and tie it off with the thread. Place a few small carpeting plants on the edge of the ball and poke some holes in the tulle mesh. Stick in a center plant and some taller stem plants using your forceps. Wrap the whole thing with lots of cotton thread. Put it in your container with water up to about 1/3 up the ball. Mist now and then for a few weeks with the cover on and watch it all grow wild. Trim the plants, take the cover off and mist every so often, depending on the humidity in your setting. Keep some water in the bottom of your container so the ball is damp.


Photo courtesy of Leon Garden

Photo courtesy of Leon Garden

Do you have a wabi-kusa? What plants did you use? If you would like to share it with the blog, email pictures of your wabi-kusa(s) to

Jeff, SFAS Webmaster


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