If one thing’s for certain, it’s this: the world can never have enough flowers. After you’ve figured out how to send flowers online, it’s time to move onto planting more flowers in the world. Planting a garden or scattering seeds are great ways to accomplish this, but making seed bombs is a creative way to improve the environment and have some fun.
Homemade seed bombs are a perfect way to get kids (and adults) involved in gardening and caring for the environment. They’re the perfect craft for Earth Day, plus they make a great gift for teachers, friends, and neighbors. We’re going to cover all you need to know about making seed bombs so you can spread the joy of gardens everywhere you go.
What is a Seed Bomb?
While you may think seed bombs sound a bit dangerous, there’s nothing harmful about these homemade crafts. Instead of creating war, seed bombs help create gardens!
In nature, seeds are spread via animals, water, and wind. When these seeds make contact with the soil, they wait for the right conditions and eventually germinate. That’s right, there are no little gnomes planting wildflower fields…it’s all Mother Nature.
Seed bombs are essentially seed balls that can be planted or thrown to produce new wildflowers and plants. By tossing them out into the world, you help to mimic the seed dispersal methods that naturally occur…because even nature needs a little help.
History of Seed Bombs
While many gardeners now know about seed bombs, this wasn’t always the case. Seed bombs likely existed for hundreds of years, but the modern pioneer was Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka. Fukuoka, the author of One Straw Revolution, is well known for his passive method of growing. Rather than planting and tending neat rows of seeds, he would scatter seeds and let nature do the work.
Seed bombs became further known due to guerilla gardeners. If you haven’t heard of guerilla gardening, it essentially involves planting flowers and edible crops in areas where they don’t “belong.” We’re talking about places like abandoned yet privately held lots.
Since these abandoned lots were often located behind fences in New York City, it was hard for guerrilla gardeners to plant seedlings or even scatter seeds in these hard-to-reach places. However, the gardeners could lob seed bombs into the lots. Talk about a creative seed dispersal method!
Eventually, rain would hit the seed bombs and the seeds inside would germinate. What was once a lot covered in weeds and invasive species would blossom into an area filled with native wildflowers that provided food for butterflies, bees, and birds.
How Many Seeds Per Seed Bomb
The number of seeds per bomb is largely up to personal preference. To create the largest chance of success, you should include at least three seeds in each bomb. However, you can include up to ten.
If you include too many seeds, there’s a good chance they will crowd each other out after germination. Plus, you’ll have to obtain more seeds.
If you’re buying seeds, take a look at the seed packet. Seed packets should include information about the germination rate, or the percentage of seeds that will grow into mature plants. If the number is low, add more seeds than if the number is high.
How to Make a Seed Bomb
Wildflower seeds, air dry clay, potting soil, dried flowers for decoration
Once you have your supplies, follow these steps.
Step 1: Starting with the air dry clay, make a disc in the palm of your hand big enough to hold about 2 tablespoons of potting soil. Aim for a disc about three inches in diameter.
Step 2: Place the potting soil on top of the clay in the middle of the disc.
Step 3: Add the wildflower seeds on top of the soil.
Step 4: Shape the clay into a ball. To do this, carefully fold the edges upward and pinch them together at the top. Once the clay is sealed, gently roll the seed bomb in your hand until you have a smooth ball.
Step 5: Add some decor by rolling the ball around in the dried flowers to coat the outside.
Step 6: Seed bombs can be used immediately, or they make a lovely gift! Just store the bombs in a cool area until they are ready to plant.
Don’t forget that seed bombs make great gifts! Just like sending flowers just because is always a great idea, you can’t go wrong with sending someone some DIY seed bombs.
How to Plant Seed Bombs
When it comes time to send your seeds out into the world, you have several options. No matter which option you choose, you should plant your seed bombs in the spring or fall. Many seeds will germinate just fine in the spring, but some seeds need to experience a cold period before they can germinate. Fun fact: this is known as cold stratification.
You can plant seed bombs like you would any other seed. This involves digging a small hole and planting the seed bomb just a bit underground. Once the seeds are watered, they will germinate and make their way into the world.
Another way to plant seed bombs is to let them fly! Since seeds are encased in soil, they don’t need to be planted underground. Once the seed bombs become wet, the seeds will start to germinate. If you’re using the wild method, you should still be aware of the location. Flowers are unlikely to survive in a concrete parking lot or in an area that receives excess water.
Flowers to Use for Seed Bombs
When you’re selecting flowers to use for seed bombs the most important thing is that the flowers grow from seeds. While this may sound obvious, many flowers grow from bulbs or tubers rather than seeds. Some flowers you won’t be able to grow via seed bombs include tulips, daffodils, and irises.
Another thing to watch out for is invasive species. While you may think plants like Japanese honeysuckle and purple loosestrife are beautiful, they can quickly take over an area. When you’re choosing flowers for seed bombs, it’s best to stick with native species.
Benefits of Native Flowers
Flowers that are endemic to an area provide a variety of benefits. Here is a list of some of the reasons why you should plant native flowers.
- They provide nectar for insects like bees, moths, and butterflies.
- They attract beneficial insects that feed on insect pests like aphids and spider mites.
- They serve as host plants for insect larvae such as monarch caterpillars, painted lady caterpillars, and swallowtail caterpillars. The majority of butterfly and moth caterpillars will eat only one family of native plants.
- By serving as hosts for insect larvae, native flowers help support bird populations. Even if adult birds eat seeds of nectar, the majority of birds feed their young insects. And they eat a lot; one nest of chickadee chicks will eat 5,000 caterpillars!
Not only are native plants great for the environment around them, but they’re also easy to grow! Since these plants evolved in the ecosystems you’re planting them in, they’re pros at growing under natural conditions. That means you won’t have to worry as much about heavy clay soil, summer drought, or heavy rains.
Types of Seed Bombs
When you’re determining what types of plants to include in your own seed bombs, it helps to choose the type of landscape you’re planting into. Here are some ideas for types of seed bombs as well as seeds to include.
Prairie Seed Bombs
If you’re hoping to establish wildflowers in a sunny area that receives average moisture, you’ll want to choose species that thrive. While native plants vary between locations, here are some sun-loving wildflowers that are native to many areas of the United States.
- Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
- Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
- Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
- Beebalm (Monarda spp.)
Eastern Forest Seed Bombs
If you wish to plant seeds in the moist, rich woods of the East Coast, check out these plant species.
- Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis)
- Mayflower (Epigaea repens)
- Squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis)
- Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Wetland Seed Bombs
While all plants need water, only some will thrive in moist wetlands.
- Sweet flag (Acorus americanus)
- Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
- Spotted touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis)
- Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)
Other Ideas for Flower Crafts
Once you’ve made seed bombs, you might be looking for more flower crafts to make with your kids or friends. Some great ideas include gathering friends to make a flower crown for each of you, using an old bouquet to make a pressed flower card, and rooting cut flowers to plant an old bouquet.Shop All