Kitchener-Waterloo Nurseries and Plant Retailers That Sell Neonic-free Plants

Kitchener-Waterloo Nurseries and Plant Retailers

That Sell Neonic-free Plants

May 2022

Compliments of The Saunders Tremblay Realty Team

Garden Buzz!

Save our Precious Pollinators!

Thinking Spring and Spring garden? Before you buy that ravishing ranunculus, perfect pansy, or heavenly herb, know your poison! That showy bloom in your cart might be a death knell for the bees and butterflies in your garden.

Pesticides are wiping out Canada’s pollinator species. This gardening season, make a wise and informed choice and buy from local retailers that sell neonic-free plants. 

Think of neonicotinoids as a cancer that runs amok in a plant. A systemic pesticide, neonics spread through the entire plant, contaminating the pollen and nectar. Toxic cocktails for our precious pollinators. Even minute concentrations of neonics can bump off bumble bees, butterflies, solitary bees, and honey bees.

Here’s a quick primer on neonics.

So, read the label carefully and buy plants and seeds that are untreated and free of neonicotinoids.

Listed here and rated from best of the bunch to the absolutely awful:

Zehr’s Garden Centres (Rating: Good). Zehr’s buys its plants from Warren Greenhouses at 115 Strange St., Kitchener and Freeman Herbs based in Lincoln, Ontario. Warren’s grow and sell neonic-free plants. Freeman’s is primarily an organic grower (they sell organic plants to grocery produce departments throughout the year) and does not use neonics.

Sheridan Nurseries. (Rating: Good). Sheridan’s local nursery is located at 100 Elmsdale Drive in Kitchener – on May 10, 2022 a rep told us that they do not sell plants that have been treated with Neonicotinoids.

Rona (Rating: Good). Not all Rona stores have garden centres, but we contacted the Dawson Road Guelph Rona location. They told us that Rona’s plant suppliers are Meyer’s Farms based in Niagara-on-the Lake and Fernlea Flowers out of Delhi. Meyer’s stopped using neonics 3 to 4 years ago. A rep at Fernlea’s Delhi location told us that they sell neonic-free plants.

Home Depot (Rating: Bad). On May 10, 2022 we asked a clerk at their Kitchener West location if their plants were “neonic-free”. She told us “we are not exactly sure...they are grown in greenhouses, but we aren’t sure at all”. We went further afield into the GTA to see if anyone in their organization had a clue. To date, no one has returned our call and our inquiry about neonics seems to have fallen on deaf ears with no one in the Home Depot family familiar with the term!

Lowe’s. (Rating: Downright Rotten). On May 10, 2022 we spoke with a clerk in their Ottawa Street location garden centre who said that “they don’t sell any neonic-free plants”! In 2021, Lowe’s Corporate announced a 48-month phase-out of neonics, but it doesn’t seem to have filtered down to their retailers.

What about those seed packets sold in nurseries, grocery, and hardware stores?

McKenzie Seeds out of Brandon, Manitoba is a great choice as they do not sell any seeds treated with neonicotinoid chemicals. Also, they sell organic seeds and only sell non-GMO seeds. McKenzie Seeds can be found at some local Dollar Stores and at Peavey Mart outlets.

Florabunda Seeds is another great choice! None of their seeds are treated, let alone laced with nicotoids. Go to their website and click on the “Supporting Bees and Butterflies” link to find a list of flowers that attract bees and butterflies.

West Coast Seeds out of Delta, B.C. “does not knowingly carry or sell any genetically engineered seeds” and guarantee that their seeds are not treated with neonics. 

While Richter’s Seeds website states that “we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants”, a clerk on the phone was dumbfounded when asked about neonics, not knowing the term. She went on to say that they use “Avid”, which is an insecticide.

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