Learn how to make a seed bomb using air dry clay – because when it comes to bees, every flower counts. It’s so easy – even the kids can get involved in creating more plant diversity in your neighborhood. You only need a few items to get this gardening project up and growing.
This is a great way to enrich a bee friendly garden environment. Wildflower seed bombs can add a wide range of flower types to the ecosystem – more is better.
DIY Seed Bombs
Seed bombs are small round objects that contain viable seed inside a “soil-like” material. While they can be made in different ways, these are composed of 3 basic materials: seed, dirt, clay.
When the seed bomb is thrown into a suitable landscape, rain will cause the seeds to germinate and sprout inside the ball. The new seedling is nourished by the soil as the clay is slowly dissolved by rain.
Of course, not every bomb will result in a successful plant. But some will survive to grow and provide food for bees to eat.
With some variations to allow for different climates and available materials, you only need 3 materials for making seed bombs with air dry clay.
- flower or herb seed
- air dry clay
- a bit of potting soil
Choosing Flower Seeds
You will find hundreds of seeds that can be tucked inside your seed bomb creations. Perennials that bees like are always a good choice because they come back year after year.
However, you will find many different bee plants that are a good fit for this project. This includes annuals, vegetables, herbs bees love and more.
Even sunflowers perform well during the warm season but make sure you choose sunflowers that bees like.
Caution – you will have more success if you take your climate into consideration. For wildflower ideas, choose plants that are native to your area or grow well without supplemental watering. (Unless you are planting them in a garden spot with access to the sprinkler)
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Keep in mind that not all blooming plants produce flowers that bees love. Plants that do not rely on insects for pollination may not produce much if any nectar.
Also, avoid plants that may be invasive (even if bees like them). They are bad for the ecosystem overall. In most situations, a wildflower mix of seeds is used to create a meadow-like landscape.
In my book, “Flowers for Your Honeybee Garden”, I talk about the advantages of both annuals and perennials.
How Many Seeds in Each Seed Bomb?
The number of seeds that you use inside your seed bomb depends on the type of flower. For plants with large seeds, such as sunflowers, 2-4 seeds will be plenty.
For plants with much smaller seed size, a larger amount (perhaps 1/8 tsp) is more suitable. Remember not every seed will be successful – a good reason to add more than one to each piece.
What Type of Clay do You Use?
The 2 most commonly used types of clay for making seed bombs are “air-dry” clay and red clay powder (mentioned under variations).
For this project, “air-dry” clay serves as the binding agent that holds everything together until the plant is ready to grow. It is a cleaner process for creators who don’t like dirty hands.
Any type of fine potting soil can be used in creating your see bombs. A small bag is sufficient as you only need a small amount. Of course, you can choose a seed soil matrix as well that is the right consistency and ready to go.
Putting It All Together
1. Use a drop cloth or newspaper to catch any spills – they will happen. Make sure you have all your materials ready.
2. Scoop out small amounts of clay (a ball about 1-1.5″ in diameter). Use your thumb to form little dish shapes and add seed to the hollow.
3. Put a pinch of potting soil on top of the seeds. Use your fingers to close the clay around the seed and soil.
4. Once you have formed a ball with most of the seed and soil encases in clay – roll the damp seed bomb in a container of potting soil to coat the surface. Then place in a safe location and allow to dry for at least a few days.
Planting and Sharing
What do seed bombs and tacos have in common? It’s almost as much fun making them as using them.
Spring is a common time to plant seeds. But, some plants need cold stratification – exposure to cold temps – read your seed packet. Most seeds should be planted outside after all danger of frost is over.
Have fun tossing them around – areas with less ground cover are more likely to be receptive. Remember not every one will be successful – make a lot.
Variation (Using Clay Powder)
A more natural version of making seed balls or bomb uses red powdered clay. The process is similar but it is messier in some ways.
A mixture is made using red clay powder, fine potting soil and enough water to form a ball – that will hold seeds inside. If you choose this method – use gloves to avoid stains from the clay.
Great Gift Idea
These easy to make DIY Seed Bombs are perfect small gifts (teacher appreciation, Mother’s Day, wedding favors,etc.)
Wrap each one (or several) in a colorful piece of fabric (7″ square). I like cotton or burlap because it allows the clay to continue drying. If you cut the material with pinking shears – it will ravel less.
Attach a label that tells the user what to do and there you have it. An eco-friendly gift that allows everyone to take part in helping bees.
You may choose to add a cute tag. This will explain how the recipient can help bees by casting their seed bomb somewhere in need of flowers.
This easy bee garden activity is a lot of fun and yet another simple way you can help save the bees.
It is a good project for young kids who are working on developing gross motor skills. But, it is also a good hand exercise for senior citizens. They are so inexpensive that you can make a lot of them.
Wildflower seed bombs really do work and are a fun way to increase pollinator habitat. However, not every one will become a new flower. Weather conditions play a role in the success of this type of gardening.
Sufficient rain is necessary to get the new seedlings established and growing. This is not unlike other forms of gardening because not every plant thrives in conventional gardens.
The whole purpose of them is to create more blooming flowers without any care by the gardener. When deciding where to throw seed bombs, consider the needs of the plants.
Tossing a handful in the middle of an asphalt parking lot is not likely to yield good results. However, any field that has some top soil and moisture is a good candidate.
Bare spots along the edge of the yard or on the edge of wooded areas are also good candidates for seeds suitable to the climate. This helps create a small natural bee friendly garden area.
These can be made several weeks ahead and stored until needed. For extra freshness, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use or give them away.
Make some air dry clay seed bombs with your family this year. This is a great project to showcase the importance of all pollinators-not just honey bees. Also, the need for a diverse pollinator and bee habitat with different food sources.
Flower Seed Bomb Tutorial
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- Table or sturdy surface to work
- Pinch off small pieces of air dry clay. We want to have enough clay to finish with a ball about 1- 1.5” in diameter. Use your thumb to shape the clay into a small bowl. They don’t have to be perfect – have fun.
- Mix your flower seeds (or herbs) together in another cup. I like to mix large and small seeds together.You can use any type but choose something easy to grow in your region. Place a small pinch of seeds in each clay bowl.
- Now, let’s add a little potting soil – any type will do. Add a teaspoon (or so) of potting mix on top of the seeds. And use your fingers to pinch the clay bowl closed, incorporating the soil and seeds into the clay mixture.
- Gently roll the clay seed bomb in loose potting soil. This natural soil covering will help nourish the seeds as they grow and give your seed bombs a more natural look.