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Bee-Safe Nursery Plants | Xerces Society Skip to main content
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Row of display tables filled with colorful flowers in an outdoor plant nursery
Photo: Nancy Kennedy, iStock

Bee-safe (or pollinator-safe) plants are free from pesticides harmful to bees and other pollinators.

 

Buy Bee-Safe Plants

Be aware that nurseries—even those producing pollinator plants—may have treated their plants with pesticides. Growers are very sensitive to consumer intolerance for plant damage, and sometimes states mandate pesticide applications to prevent the spread of certain pests. Toxic levels of insecticides and high levels of fungicides have been detected in nursery plants repeatedly. Unfortunately, bees and butterflies may encounter risks from the commonplace use of pesticides during plant production, which can leave residues on or in plants.

Choose to find, buy, and grow pollinator-safe plants to create a welcoming home for pollinators.

 

Talk to Your Nursery

To determine if plants for sale are pollinator-safe, talk to your nursery, garden center, or plant vendor. Let them know you want plants free of harmful pesticide contamination. Nurseries are more likely to make investments in pollinator-friendly production if their customers make it clear this is what they want. By respectfully asking the questions outlined here, you will signal that customers are informed and care about the safety of pollinators. We suggest these simple steps:

  • Seek out USDA certified organic plants and seeds
  • Avoid plants grown with neonicotinoids and similar systemic insecticides
  • Ask what steps the nursey takes to offer plants grown with pollinator-friendly pest management practices
  • Grow your own plants if you can’t find pollinator-safe plants for sale

Learn how to talk to your nursery
Leave your nursery with a copy of our grower/seller guide  
Listen to a webinar about how to talk to your nursery

 

Join the Movement

We need your voice to make a difference! The more people who visit, call, or write to their nurseries about harmful pesticide residues, the more pollinator-safe plants we can hope to see for sale. Learn what to ask and join us across the U.S. and Canada in advocating for bee-safe plants. Let’s do this together! 

Add your nursery conversation to the map

 

 

Offer Bee Safe-Plants at Your Store 

Three core elements of pollinator-friendly growing include using non-chemical methods to prevent and manage pests, monitoring of pest pressure, and limiting risk to pollinators if pesticides are used. These concepts are rooted in integrated pest management. Whether you are a plant retailer or grower, you can adhere to pollinator-safe practices and sourcing. 

Learn how to offer bee-safe nursery plants 
Email us about exemplary pollinator-friendly production practices 
 

 

Resources