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Marimo moss balls: What are these adorable plant pets?

Just the cutest aquatic houseplants ever

A marimo moss ball in its natural habitat.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Though the official first day of spring may be a mere six days away in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a snow day for much of the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States. So, naturally, we find ourselves pining for greenery in all its forms.

Enter this confounding, adorable pet plant: the Marimo Moss Ball. What is a Marimo Moss Ball, you ask? Great question! We have answers.

Though they’re called “moss balls,” marimo—which means, roughly, “seaweed balls” in Japanese—are actually spherical algae grown and maintained in aqueous environments. (For the hipsters among you, that could just mean a mason jar full of water.)

According to Pistils Nursery in—where else?—Portland, Oregon, marimo are solid algae and grow at just 5 millimeters (or about a twentieth of an inch) per year. Pitsils had this to say about the lore around marimo moss balls:

A post shared by Fuzz (@kyozimarimo) on

Legend tells of two lovers who desired nothing more than to be together. When their love was forbidden, they fell into the water, and their hearts became Marimo balls. Marimo are said to bring your heart’s desire to both giver and receiver.

For those among you who kill houseplants, care sounds rather simple: Replace your marimo’s water once every two weeks and keep the plant in low, indirect sunlight.

To keep it round, give it a little whirl every so often, as a body of water’s waves would. Sounds meditative!

Want to buy your own lil’ marimo? You can purchase them here, where a mini marimo will run you $7 and a “mega” is $15, or you can get a complete set—with vitrine and two moss balls for $28 or three moss balls for $32—here.