Choosing the right flowering seed mix

Although a range of flowering plant seeds may be included in all flowering seed mixes, selecting a mix at random won’t necessarily give you the results you want for your crops.

Back to Using flowering seed mixes to improve farmland biodiversity

There are many options available but selecting a general seed mix at random is not always cost-effective.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. ‘Generalist’ seed mixes do not necessarily contain plant species suited to agricultural settings.
  2. ‘Generalist’ seed mixes often contain seeds of flowering plant species that may be used by pests of certain Small plot studies have shown that inclusion of such flowers can increase the number of pests in your crops.
  3. Most nectar and pollen mixes have been designed specifically with bees and butterflies in mind. That means they don’t necessarily cater for pest natural enemies, such as parasitoid wasps and hoverflies. Similarly, seed mixes designed for pest enemies are not always beneficial for pollinators.

It’s essential to choose your seed mix carefully to encourage multiple insect groups without attracting too many pest insects.

Table 1. Agri-environment scheme options (2015) where the seed mixes used could theoretically return multiple benefits to pollinators and pest natural enemies


Payment is not EFA

Payment if EFA

Brief description

Nectar flower mix (AB1)

Mid and higher



At least four nectar-rich plants and at least two perennials


Use wide margins and big blocks between 0.25 ha and 0.5 ha


Sow at 12 kg per ha

Flower-rich margins and

plots (AB8)

Mid and higher



The seed mix should contain both grasses and perennial flowering plants


Wide margins and big blocks specified


Sow at 20 kg per ha

Legume and herb-rich

swards (GS4)

Mid and higher (with other

conditions met)



Minimum 10% cover of red clover and an additional 10% cover of other legumes, herbs and wildflowers


At least five species of grass, three species of legume (including bird’s-foot trefoil) and five species of herb or



Can be rotated

Information obtained from 

Useful links

Why sow flowering seed mixes?

Find out about flowering seed mixes and margin management

Can flowering seed mixes fit with an integrated approach?