Ornamental plants loaded with pesticides, including illegal ones

Ornamental plants sold in Dutch garden centres are often so full of pesticides they are extremely dangerous to bees, according to research by environmental organisation Greenpeace.

Illegal pesticides were found in over half the plants and shrubs tested by scientists, some of which have been banned for over eight years because of the danger to health.

Greenpeace bought 69 plants, bulbs and shrubs covering 31 different varieties at the biggest Dutch garden centres: Intratuin, Groenrijk and Boerenbond/Welkoop. The focus was on garden plants which are attractive to bees.

The plants were tested at a specialised laboratory and all but one was found to contain poisonous substances. In total, scientists found an average of seven different pesticides a plant. And 38 of the 69 plants had the residues of pesticides which have been banned.


Research has shown that pesticides are one of the reasons for the decline in the global bee population.

‘Some of the plants we tested were sold at garden centres as being bee friendly,’ Greenpeace spokesman Kees Kodde said in a statement.

‘But the poison used on these plants spreads out in nature and in the water supply and kills bees and other insects. This can only be stopped if growers stop using these pesticides, the government bans them and enforces that ban.’

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