8 Unexpected Facts About Marimo Moss Balls

8 Unexpected Facts About Marimo Moss Balls

Moss Amigos moss balls are tiny green wonders that do more than just float around in water. Low-maintenance, they bring a serene vibe wherever they go. 

Here are the 8 unexpected facts about these fascinating plants that might make you want to get one (or a few) for yourself.

Fact #1: Origin and Name

Moss balls come from cool lakes in countries like Japan, Iceland, and Scotland. They're not moss but algae that grows into a ball shape because of the water current. 

The name "Marimo" combines two Japanese words: "mari," which means "ball," and "mo," which stands for "algae." So, Marimo moss ball means "algae ball." 

People in Japan love them so much they even celebrate a Marimo Festival every year. These green balls are special because they're not found everywhere, making them a cool piece of nature in your home.

Also Read: Marimo Moss Balls vs. Algae: Identifying the Differences

Fact #2: Symbolism and Cultural Significance

In some cultures, moss balls symbolize love, luck, and happiness. Here's why they're so special:

  • Symbol of Love: Often given as gifts to express affection and to wish for the recipient's health and well-being.
  • Good Luck Charm: Believed to bring good fortune and prosperity to those who keep them.
  • Cultural Celebrations: There's even a festival dedicated to them in Japan, where people celebrate their beauty and significance, as mentioned in the first fact.

Fact #3: Growth Process

In nature, Moss balls grow by rolling around in lake currents, which helps them form their unique round shape. This movement allows all parts of the moss ball to receive sunlight and grow evenly. They grow slowly, about 5 mm a year, showing their patient journey through time.

When you keep Moss Amigos moss balls in jars at home, they miss the natural currents, but don't worry — they still grow. To mimic nature's touch, gently use the moss stir wand to turn them in the water. This ensures they get light from all directions for even growth, blending their care easily.

Fact #4: Reproduction Method

Marimo moss balls reproduce by dividing, a simple way to create new life. Here's how it works:

  • Division: They can split into two or more pieces when they get big enough. Each piece then grows into a new orb, continuing the cycle.
  • No Seeds Needed: This simple method means they don't need flowers or seeds to create new life.
  • Easy to Share: Because of this, it's easy for anyone to take a part of their orb and grow another, sharing the joy with friends or family.

This unique reproducing method makes them fascinating to watch and easy to propagate, spreading their green beauty to more homes and habitats.

Fact #5: Photosynthesis Behavior

Just like other plants, Moss balls use sunlight to make their food through photosynthesis. 

But here's the twist: they have a unique way of doing it that sometimes makes them float. When they soak up light and start the photosynthesis process, tiny bubbles of oxygen form inside them. These bubbles can make them lighter than the water around them, causing them to drift up to the surface

Study findings on how photosynthesis and biological clocks affect Marimo algae's floating ability.

Once they've used up some of the oxygen or when night falls, and photosynthesis slows down, they often sink back down.

Remember: This floating and sinking act is a cool trick to watch and a sign that they're healthy and doing their job right.

Fact #6: Long Lifespan

Moss Amigos moss balls can thrive for decades, often outliving typical houseplants. Remarkably, the largest recorded Marimo moss ball is over 150 to 200 years old, showcasing its incredible longevity with the right care and conditions.

Fact #7: Effortless to Care For

Moss Amigos moss balls are easy-to-care-for green spheres that thrive in conditions similar to their natural lake environments. Let's explore the basics of their care.

  • Light: These aquatic plants excel in the soft embrace of indirect sunlight or the steady glow of artificial light. Direct sunlight's a bit too much for them, but with our Moss Amigo Country Hat, they can safely enjoy a sunbath without worrying about harm.
  • Temperature: Moss balls thrive best in cooler temperatures like their preferred chilly lake environments. It's this preference that keeps them lush and green.
  • Cleaning: Occasionally, roll them in your clean hands under water to keep their shape and remove any dirt.
  • Water: Moss Amigos moss balls need fresh, clean water to thrive. While tap water can be used, it's important to let it sit for a day to remove chlorine, which can harm your moss ball. For an even better option, our Starter Kit includes Purified Water that's perfect for your moss ball, ensuring it receives the best care from the start.

Fact #8: Versatile Uses

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, moss balls have diverse roles:

  • Educational Tools: Great for classrooms, offering a hands-on way to learn about photosynthesis and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Gifts: Symbolizing love, luck, and longevity, they make thoughtful presents.
  • Stress Relief: Watching them float and interacting with them can provide a calming experience.


Now you know the unique wonders of moss balls, from their to their intriguing growth and care. These little orbs could potentially pack a big punch in purifying water, bringing calm and even living for centuries. 

The effectiveness of Marimo moss balls and microalgal-bacterial sludge in purifying wastewater,

If you're ready to add a Marimo to your home or gift one to someone special, check out Moss Amigos for everything you need to get started with these captivating plants.


Irimoto, T. (2004). Creation of the Marimo festival: Ainu identity and ethnic symbiosis. Senri ethnological studies, 66, 11-38. https://minpaku.repo.nii.ac.jp/api/records/2692

Obara, A., Ogawa, M., Oyama, Y., Suzuki, Y., & Kono, M. (2023). Effects of high irradiance and low water temperature on photoinhibition and repair of photosystems in Marimo (Aegagropila linnaei) in Lake Akan, Japan. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24(1), 60. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24010060

Umekawa, T., Wakana, I., Ohara, M. (2021). Reproductive behavior and role in maintaining an aggregative form of the freshwater green alga Marimo, Aegagropila linnaei, in Lake Akan, Hokkaido, Japan. Aquatic Botany, 168, 103309. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2020.103309

Sun, P., & Ji, B. (2023). Using marimo as a nature-derived microalgal-bacterial granular consortium for municipal wastewater treatment. Chemical Engineering Journal, 472, 144815. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2023.144815

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