Gardening with seedballs | Seedball FAQ

Project Maya seedball guide

 

Why use seed balls for growing wildflowers?

Project Maya 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 chilli 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 particularly 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 also grow well in pots and 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. 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 sunny spot. For grassy areas it's best to remove a layer of top-soil before scattering seed balls. Seed balls can also be grown with some soil or compost in pots (or other planters) in your garden, balcony and window boxes.

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.

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. 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.

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 handmade in London by Project Maya.

Who are Project Maya?

Project Maya is a cutting-edge sustainability project founded by scientists. Their goal is to build a global network of permaculture reserves where people and planet are in harmony. You can read more about their work and vision on the Project Maya website.