Why we don’t recommend wildflower seed mixes
At the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, we are often asked, “should I plant wildflower seed?” Our answer is always that pollinators themselves would say “no”.
Wildflower seed mixes often contain non-native species
Our pollinators need the native wildflowers they have evolved alongside. Studies have shown that the seeds in many wildflower seed mixes are imported from other countries, and are not native, despite what the packet might say. There is a huge risk of accidentally bringing in invasive species like Black grass that, if spread, would be devastating to the Irish agricultural industry.
If you decide to buy wildflower seed, you should source it carefully, and please only ever plant in your own garden and not in the wider landscape. View it in the same way as you might planting Lavender, Comfrey or Crocus. It’s a colourful ‘garden action’, it’s not a ‘biodiversity action’.
What can I do instead?
By simply reducing mowing, amazing wildflowers like Dandelion, Clovers, Self-heal and Bird’s-foot-trefoil naturally pop-up year after year at no cost. These common flowers provide the nutrients our insects need.
You’re also genuinely helping biodiversity – by returning pockets of natural grassland meadows and verges, no matter how tiny, the collective benefit to wildlife is enormous. They’re a long-term and sustainable solution to the biodiversity crisis. It’s very tempting to plant what we humans find attractive, rather than doing what our declining pollinators actually need.
In our lawns, verges, towns, villages, and parks, let’s really help bees and biodiversity by not planting wildflower seed. Instead, reduce mowing and allow our beautiful natural Irish meadows to return with native flowers that are meant to be there. It won’t look like the front of a wildflower seed packet, but that’s not a natural habitat and is not what pollinators want. These images show what a meadow should look like.
Let’s change our expectations and create thousands of natural mini meadows that genuinely help biodiversity, not artificial ones that are attractive to humans!
How can I find out more?
These pages are dedicated to the issue of wildflower seed mixes. On the left you will find articles written by experts, and resources which explore different aspects of this problem, and the various solutions including reducing mowing and collecting wildflower seed locally.
If you find a word or phrase you are unfamiliar with, take a look at the glossary which provides definitions for some commonly used terms in this part of our website.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan strongly endorses natural regeneration of meadows
#LetDandelionsBee; #NoMowMay; #Don’tSowLetItGrow
Read the other expert opinions on this issue, many highlighting the dangers of commercial wildflower seed mixes to our biodiversity.
If you decide to plant commercial wildflower seed, please don’t sow it outside of a garden setting
Please note that the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan does not endorse any wildflower seed mixes, despite what third party websites may imply.