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A tin of seed balls bursting with beautiful native common poppy seeds (Papaver rhoeas).
A tin of seed balls bursting with beautiful native common poppy seeds (Papaver rhoeas).
A simple way to grow wildflowers from seed.
Clay ball (plus added chili) naturally protects seed from predators, such as ants, birds and slugs.
Easy to use – no need to ‘plant’, just scatter on top of soil or compost.
Wildflower mix perfect for butterflies.
Ideal for garden beds and planting pots.
Each tin contains 20 seed balls.
Each seed ball contains approximately 150 butterfly mix seeds.
For best results, scatter in the spring or autumn.
Seed balls are a great permaculture technique for growing seed in a more simple and effective way. Here at Project Maya we’ve applied this technique to make wildflower seed balls, as growing wildflowers from seed can be super challenging! As life can get pretty hectic, we wanted to make it a bit easier for everyone to have gardens, balconies and window boxes that are bursting with native wildflowers, buzzing bees and beautiful butterflies! YAY!
Each seed ball contains a mini ecosystem: wildflower seeds are mixed with clay, peat-free compost and a smidgen of chili powder, and rolled into a small ball. Each ball is approximately 1cm in diameter, making them super easy to scatter.
The dried clay acts as a protective casing from common seed predators (such as ants, mice and birds). When sufficient rain permeates the clay, the seeds inside begin to germinate – helped along by the nutrients and minerals contained within the balls. The chili powder continues to deter predators while the seed ball slowly degrades and the seeds sprout.
Seed balls will work well in most environments (as long as the seed is well suited to the local climate and soil conditions) and they’ll work as well in planting pots as in garden beds. Our special seed ball recipe has been developed specifically with the UK in mind (and rest of north western Europe), and all seed used is naturally distributed within this region.
Our Seedball range also includes mixed species varieties – by mixing species with slightly different soil and light preferences, we’ve maximised the chance that at least one species will thrive, where-ever they’re scattered.
An unkown, but brilliant (old) idea
While we’ve developed our own take on the seed ball recipe, various forms of seed balls have been used throughout history – from ancient Chinese civilisations to Native American tribes! More recently, seed balls were promoted by the Japanese natural farming innovator Masanobu Fukuoka. Fukuoka demonstrated that with the labour of just two people working a few weeks a year, seed balls could produce high crop yields without the need for plowing, weeding, or the application of pesticides and fertiliser.
Although the use of seed balls in the UK is only just emerging, they’re commonly used in ecological restoration projects across many other parts of the world, such as the Rainmaker Project in Kenya. They’ve also been used creatively for re-greening urban areas and for urban gardening (sometimes in unusual places!).
Why use seed balls for growing wildflowers?
Our seed balls are made from a unique blend of wildflower seed, clay (to protect the seed from ants, mice, birds etc.) peat free compost (to give seeds a boost) and chili powder (an extra predator deterrent). The seed balls provide all the nutrition and protection that a seed requires for its early growth, and so there’s no need for complex propagation – the balls will take care of the seeds so you don’t need to! Using seed balls to grow wildflowers is also particualry useful as the seed often takes longer to germinate and grow than other garden plants.
How do I plant seed balls?
Seed balls don’t need planting as such – just scatter them where you want them to grow (preferably on top of soil or compost), and let nature take over! Seed balls will also grow equally well in pots or other planters.
When can I scatter my seed balls?
Seed balls can be scattered at any time of the year, although spring and autumn is usually optimal. Seed balls can be scattered in the summer with success, although flowers are unlikely to be seen until the following spring/summer. When exactly the seed ball grows and flowers will depend on the type of seed ball bought. Our mixes include a variety of seed species in one ball – some of these are annuals (the plant survives for one growing season) and some are perennials (plant survives for more than two growing seasons).
Where can I scatter my seed balls?
Seed balls can be scattered on top of soil or compost in your garden, and ideally in a nicely sunny spot. For grassy areas it’s best to remove a layer of top-soil before scattering seed balls. See here for more information on how to create a garden meadow. Seed balls can also be grown with some soil or compost in pots (or other planters) in your garden, balcony and window boxes (see our identification gallery for help in spotting which species are growing from your seed balls).
How many seed balls do I need?
It depends on how dense you’d like your wildflowers to be. As a guide we recommend that you’ll need at least twenty seed balls per square meter for your garden. If growing in a small pot, 3 – 5 seed balls will probably be enough. For larger pots or window boxes, 8 – 12 seed balls should do the trick. The more accustomed you become with growing seed balls, the better you’ll be at gauging the perfect quantities to use! If you’d like to plant a meadow of wildflowers, we also sell seed balls in bulk quantities (see ‘500g Bulk Bags’ under the product listings).
Do the seed balls need to be broken up?
No. The seed balls should be left intact. Once water has permeated the clay, the seeds will slowly begin to germinate inside the ball. Scattered seed balls should not be picked up once it’s rained, as this could damage any growing roots.
Do I need to water my seed balls?
If you scatter your seed balls outside there should be no need to water them. Just let nature take over! Saying that, a little watering during dry spells is always helpful. If your seed balls are inside or under cover then you will need to water them every 1-2 days.
How many sprouts should i expect to see?
On average you can hope to see around 10 sprouts per seed ball.
Why aren’t my seed balls sprouting?
Seed balls are an easy way of gardening because nature takes over once you scatter them. The seeds won’t begin to germinate until there’s been a good amount of rain (and it’s not too cold), and therefore it can sometimes take a while for your seeds to begin sprouting. So patience is important! You will eventually see things starting to happen when the conditions are right – growing wildflowers is definitely a long-term project.
When will my seed balls flower?
Native UK wildflowers are slow-growers compared to many of the exotic plants common to gardens. Not only may seed balls take some time to sprout but they will also take their time to fully grow and flower. While some species will flower within the first year, many will not flower until the second year. Although they require patience, growing wildflowers is a beautiful and rewarding experience for you and for wildlife. See our identification gallery for help in identifying wildflowers before they’re in flower.
Why are there so many seeds per ball?
As not all seed is likely to germinate in the same year (or sometimes at all), we include a lot of seed to try and ensure that at least 10 sprouts will grow from each of your seed balls in the first year, even for the novice gardeners among us! This ‘survival of the fittest’ approach also means that for the mixed species seed balls, those species most suited to the conditions in which they’re scattered will be the ones to thrive. It’s also likely that you’ll have fresh sprouts emerge over the next few years from the area where the seed ball was first scattered.
Do I need to thin the sprouts that grow from the ball?
No, you don’t need to do anything! The seed ball will begin to grow as a cluster of plants, but will later disperse as the clay itself disintegrates and disperses.
How long will my tin of seed balls keep?
They will keep well for planting the next few years if they are stored in a cool and dry place.
Where are they made?
Our seed balls are hand-rolled by Project Maya in London.
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