It’s Also Best To Grow Your Own Flowers From Seed
Wife Pat and I recently made one of our rare visits to a local corporate chain store and while we were there we decided to see what was being offered in their massive garden center. We generally grow our own bedding plants from seed or buy local garden center-grown plants, but we sometimes find some new variety or color that we want to try at the bigger garden centers.
As we perused the rows and rows of tables filled with plants, we did happen upon several new offerings that caught our fancy and placed them in the cart. But when we found another striking flower that we didn’t recognize, we pulled the label out of the pot, only to discover there were two labels, one placed right behind the other. Thinking that someone had simply mistakenly placed two labels in the pot, we quickly discovered that we were very wrong.
The top label was, of course, the plant identification label that we expected, but the second label hidden behind the first notified the consumer that these plants were “protected” by a relatively new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. These pesticides are “systemic,” which means they are absorbed through the roots and foliage and are concentrated in every cell of that plant—even the grains of pollen produced by the flowers. The pollen of treated plants has proven to be highly toxic to bees and butterflies.
Having been long-time growers of bedding plants ourselves, we knew that this was more of a testament to the laziness of a big-time grower who was not taking the time to monitor his plants for insect problems, but rather deciding to depend on toxic systemic pesticides blended into his potting mix to “protect” his plants. We walked all through checking the labels, and the vast majority of flower varieties had two labels, the second one for “neonic” treatment.
We did not find any on food production plants, but what if the grower mistakenly used some of the treated soil mix to pot up vegetable transplants as well? Sadly we do know that these same “neonics” are applied as seed treatments for corn used as animal feed, which means some of their residues are likely to be found in our bodies as well.
We took our plants back to checkout and asked to speak to the store manager. We showed him the labels and told him we were returning the plants to the shelves. We informed him we would not be back to purchase any plants there until he found reputable plant suppliers that did not depend on such chemicals, and we asked him to forward our complaints to the corporate offices.
Our bees and butterflies are important as pollinators for about a third of our entire food supply, so we must protect them in every way possible. Be sure to check the labels and ask your plant suppliers how their plants are grown. Better still buy your flower seeds from Seeds ‘n Such, and grow your own to insure the safety of our bees and butterflies.