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Make Seed Balls (With Clay Powder)

One easy way to contribute to a diverse floral environment for bees is to add more blooming plants. Learning how to make seed balls with clay powder is a good first step. And, it’s fun too. This project is good for kids of all ages – including adults. Being a bee friendly gardener involves planting many different types of flowering plants. Be sure to choose those that do well in your climate.

What are Seed Balls?

Field of flowers and materials needed to make flower seed balls recipe image.

Before we get started, let’s define our project. Seed balls is one term used to describe small (marble-sized) pieces of soil, clay and flower seed.

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These materials are mixed together (with some water) to the proper consistency. After rolling them into small balls, they are ready to plant or throw outside.

Choosing Proper Materials

This recipe for making your own seed balls is so easy. It lends well to experimentation but the basic ingredients are simple.

  • red clay powder
  • soil
  • flower seeds
  • water


First you need something to hold all the components together. In a slightly different project, you can use air-dry clay to make seed bombs, but this tutorial uses dry red clay powder or potter’s clay.

Must you purchase clay powder? I choose to buy the dry red powdered clay that is ready to use. Over 50 years of dealing with my native red Carolina clay, convinced me that I did not want to try to make my own.

No joke, clay powder can be a bit messy. However, I do like the natural texture that it gives to the finished product. I used simple red clay for my mixture – no need to get fancy.

The first time I made them, I used a bit too much clay and not enough soil . This caused them to be too dry so before making a ton of them – I suggest you experiment.


Soil or compost is needed but just a bit. This helps to nourish the new seedling and keep the seed moist enough for germination.

For the soil component -you can order a soil matrix that is prepared and ready to use (complete with nutrients needed). Or, go to a local home garden center and buy a bag of soil mixed with compost for about $3-4.

If you do this, you will need to use some type of screen to sift out the larger pieces of bark. I used an old beehive bottom screen. LOL

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Using screen to sift soil for making seed balls image.

Flower Seeds

Except for a bit of water, your only other decision is which seeds to use. Choose some that are attractive to bees and will grow well in your environment.

When using seed balls to increase pollinator habitat you can let your creative self run wild. You get to choose which types of seeds to use in your seed ball creation.

In my book, “Flowers for Your Honeybee Garden”, I talk about the advantages of both annuals and perennials.

Seeds of perennial plants will continue to provide food for years to come. But, annual flowers offer a big bee buffet for the current season.

Annuals provide more nectar at one time because all of their energy is invested in making seed before the season ends.

Flowers that attract bees may provide pollen, nectar or both. If you are designing a bee friendly garden, chose some flowers that bloom over a long period.

Our goal is to have a time of continuous bloom during the warm months of the year. This is a good reason to make a mixture of seed for your project. Native wildflowers are often a good choice. Some gardeners enjoy planting milkweed, salvias and even sunflowers.

How DIY Seed Balls Benefit Pollinators

One advantage of using this method of flower planting is that they are easy to sow. Instead of having to remove sod, till soil, mulch and water – you simply toss (or place) a seed ball where you want plants to bloom.

Of course, this would not work well for every type of plant-or every kind of soil. In the more “clayish” parts of my yard, I would actually bury the seed ball-instead of placing it on top of the soil.

But, this type of gorilla gardening gives you a chance to make an impact on a large area with little effort. In total honesty, don’t expect 100% success.

Not every one will flourish but they are inexpensive to make so you can go a little wild without spending a ton of money. This can be a low cost project.

Planting Wildflower Seed Balls

Some planting instructions may lead you to believe it is as simple as riding down the highway tossing them out the window. Then, viola – a wildflower bee meadow.

While that does happen under perfect conditions, you may consider taking a bit more of a conservative approach.

By simply tossing or dropping them where you wish to see flowers – there is less likelihood of the ball breaking apart prematurely. This gives them the best chance of survival.

When to Plant

Most people will plant their seed balls in the early Spring. After all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed, the flower seed will be ready to germinate and grow.

Of course, you can plant anytime during the growing season. But, if started late in the season you should choose plants that go from seed to flower in a short time.

Otherwise, cold will arrive before the plant matures and blooms. Of course, many bee friendly perennials planted this year-can feed bees next Spring.

It is not all about nectar. Bees need to collect pollen throughout the season but especially early in the season.

Bees use pollen to raise young baby bees and a diverse source provides better nutrition for the colony.

Create a Seed Ball Gift Kit

What a wonderful gift idea for anyone who loves bees and gardening. Purchase the clay, soil and seeds needed and make a seed ball gift kit – complete with a large bowl to mix things up in.

This is a great project to teach kids about bees and how we can help all pollinators. Adults like this project too and clean up is rather easy.

Of course, if you don’t have time to make your own – you can buy some ready to use! Then, you can toss or place them wherever you want to increase pollinator habitat.


Can you plant seed balls in Fall?

Sure, you can plant them in Fall if you live in a mild climate . Choose seed that require stratification during cold temps. Some seed require a period of cold temps before they will germinate and grow. Read the seed packets carefully.

Are wildflower seed balls good for pollinators?

Certainly, your effort in increasing bee habitat will be rewarding with an increase of bloom in your area. With good growing conditions and proper seed selection, the pollinators in your area should be enjoying some tasty pollen and nectar this season.

How effective are seed balls?

They can be very beneficial in increasing pollinator food. But, the seeds chosen and the growth climate play an important role too. Do not expect a large percentage of success.

How long does it take a seed ball to germinate?

Germination length depends on the climate and the type of seed being used. Expect it to take slightly longer than when they are planted in the ground.

Field of flowers and materials needed to make flower seed balls recipe image.

DIY Wildflower Seed Balls

Charlotte Anderson @ Carolina Honeybees, LLC
Create Wildflower Seed Balls using powdered red clay, soil and water to increase bee habitat in your area.
5 from 2 votes


  • large bowl
  • tray



  • Sifting the soil.
    If you buy special soil matrix you can skip this step. But if you are using “soil” from a garden center, remove any large pieces of bark, sticks etc.
    We want the soil to be soft and rather fine in texture.
    Potting soil sifted fine for use in making seed balls image.
  • In a large bowl, combine the soil and red clay powder. This is not rocket science so the measurements do not have to be exact.
    I used a plastic drink cup (about 8 fl oz). Wanting more soil than clay – I measured 1 cup of the clay and 2 cups of the soil.
    Fine soil and red clay in a large bowl image.
  • Choose the seed mixture that you prefer. You can choose annual or perennials and there is no real guideline on how many to use.
    Some of the bee favorites in my yard are wildflowers, zinnia, and cosmos – so I made sure to include these.
    For the soil mixture in this recipe – I added about 1/2 pound (of 8 oz net wt) of seed.
    Pour in the seed and use your hand to mix all the dry matter together. Then, slowly add small amounts of warm water.
    Mixing carefully as you go until the whole mess is just sticky enough to hold together. If you are not pleased with the consistency, don’t fret.
    You can always add a bit more water or dry matter until you are pleased. Our goal is a consistency similar to cookie dough.
    Wet ingredients ready to roll into seed balls image.
  • Use your hands to roll small bits of your seed ball mixture into little balls.
    The size of a large marble is perfect (about 1 inch diameter)– or maybe you want to make some that are ping-pong ball sized. Use gloves if you want to protect your manicure.
    That’s it! All you need to do now is let the flower seed balls dry for a day or two. 
    Finished flower seed balls drying on a paper image.
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