Neonicotinoids (Neo-nic-uh-tin-oids) are systemic pesticides that are shown, across many scientific studies, to cause serious harm to bees, caterpillars, earth worms, and other wildlife and last for YEARS. Regulation is slow to catch up here in the US, so it's up to us to tell nurseries that we care about this topic. Seeds can also be coated in neonics so ask about those too! Your voice is powerful. Nurseries are changing!
Note: Neonics aren't the only nasty chemical. I'm working on compiling a list of vendors that only use biological controls. For now this is a start.
Don't be Fooled by Green-Washing
Home Depot and other big-box retailers were petitioned by thousands to label their "bee friendly" plants when neonicotinoids were used. Home Depot promised to take action. They responded by posting labels touting the benefits of neonics, mentioning nothing about it hurting bees. With this kind of dirty marketing, it's hard to ensure your plants are not just drawing bees to your garden to die. If a vendor, like Lowes, says they are going neonic-free look at the timeline. (Lowes is looking at 2019 as their phase-out).
Nurseries may not Know
Nurseries often carry plants that they themselves grow, as well as the plants of many vendors. They don't always know the individual growing practices of each vendor so we may have to research for ourselves. Look at the tag to see who the original source is. I have a list of retail nurseries (where you go to buy the plants) and wholesale vendors (whose tags you may find at the retail stores).
Have one to add to the list? Let us know! This list will grow as we learn more.
Birds and Bees Nursery
Garden Fever! (they tag their bee-safe plants)
Naomi's Organic Farm supply
Portland Nursery (they have a list of safe vendors at info desk)
Tony's Garden Center (the plants they grow themselves)
Vendors with a fab native plant selection
Bosky Dell Natives (retail and wholesale)
Native Grounds (wholesale)
SevenOaks Native Nursery (wholesale)
Wholesale Vendors (look for these tags at nurseries that sell plants they don't grow themselves)
Blue Heron Nursery
Cedarglen Floral Company
Champion Acres Nursery
Dancing Oaks Nursery
Echo Valley Natives
Ekstrom & Schmidt Nursery
Humble Roots Nursery
Iwasaki Bros (biological controls except for poinsetta and hanging baskets)
Langley Fine Gardens
Little Prince of Oregon Nursery
Log House Plants
Monrovia (shrubs 2 years and younger)
Motz and Son Nursery
N&M Herb Nursery
Northwest Grown (Usually not, those with neonic use are tagged)
Red Barn Nursery
Spring Greek Gardens
Terra Nova Nurseries (biological controls)
Trapold Greenhouses (except hanging baskets)
T&L Nursery (not on flowering plants, but avoid grasses for the sake of butterfly larvae)
Westwind Gardens (tagged "Planet Wise")
Wild Ginger Farm