While nurseries, greenhouses, and other plant retailers offer an incredible array of species and horticultural varieties, not all are equal in terms of their benefits to pollinators. For example, some varieties don't produce pollen, which is an important source of nutrition for pollinators. Flowers from other continents may provide the resources for their local pollinators, but not necessarily the species we find in Canada. Additionally, many flowering plants are grown with the use of systemic (residual) pesticides that can still cause harm to pollinators after being planted in the garden.
To make it easier for customers to select pollinator-friendly plants, we launched the Bee Better Manitoba Plant Labelling Program for growers and retailers!
Growers and retailers participating in the program affix a Bee Better Manitoba label (seen on the right) onto plant stock that meets the pollinator-friendly criteria established by the Bee Better Working Group. The label means that this flowering plant: is native or derived from the prairie region; provides a food source including pollen and nectar for Manitoba’s pollinators and; has been grown without the use of systemic (residual) pesticides.
The Bee Better Manitoba label shows that your plant grower and retailer are supporting pollinator conservation. In addition, adding plants to your garden with this label will help you support pollinator conservation in your own backyard!
Bee Better Manitoba would like to help your customers make pollinator-friendly purchasing decisions when shopping for their home or community gardens. Producing/selling plants that meet these criteria will help the consumer feel confident in their purchase, while also showing that growers/retailers are taking steps to support pollinator conservation in your community. For a grower or retailer to affix/associate this Bee Better label to plants, plants offered for sale must meet the following pollinator-friendly criteria set out by Bee Better Manitoba. Plants must be:
- Native Perennial, Derived from a Prairie Perennial, or Pollinator-Friendly Non-Native Annual
a) Native Perennial – This flowering plant is endemic to Manitoba and contains local genetics. It provides the resources that native pollinators require to complete their life cycle and is well-adapted to local growing conditions. It may be a food plant for caterpillars or pollinators with a narrow range of hosts.
b) Derived from a Prairie Perennial – This horticultural variety was developed from a species that is found in the Prairie Provinces, but may differ in genetics and physical traits. It may still provide many of the benefits ofits native counterpart.
This category includes cultivars of native species. A cultivar is a plant that has been produced from crossing plants of the same species to promote certain human-selected traits. Traits may include bigger blooms, petal shape, or hardiness. The resulting generations of this plant have deviated from the wild type - the plant that you would find in nature. This category also includes hybrids derived from native species – when two species of closely related native plants have been crossed to produce a plant with desired traits.
Example: Gaillardia aristata is a blanketflower native to North American prairies. Gaillardia pulchella is native to southern North America and Mexico. The two species were crossed to produce a hybrid called Gaillardia x grandiflora that is available in several colour varieties. A strongly yellow variety is known as Gaillardia x grandiflora “oranges and lemons”. The X indicates a hybrid, and “” refers to the variety.
c) Pollinator-Friendly Non-native Annual – These plants are not endemic to Manitoba, but may provide some resources to pollinators. Non-native annuals must have accessible pollen and nectar (no pollenless varieties). They must not be included on the Declaration of Noxious Weedsin Manitoba.
- Certified Organic, Produced Free of Pesticides, and/or Applied with Minimal Pesticides
a) Certified Organic: No pesticides were used, orthe pesticides were designated as organic. Note that to use this designation, the product must be officially certified as indicated in Manitoba’s Organic Agricultural Products Act.
b) Pesticide-Free Production: No pesticides are used from seed to sale. However, growers have the option of applying a non-residual pesticide if a pest outbreak occurs while maintaining the pesticide-free designation. This category was defined by the University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. Learn more here.
c) Minimal Pesticide: Non-residual pesticides were applied only when needed to prevent economic damage. This may include Integrated Pest Management - pesticides and natural controls used in combination to minimize financial loss and health risks. This category was defined by Bee Better Manitoba.
We have created a two-page document that provides more information on the program's eligibility criteria and how the program works. Click here to view the document.
Are you a grower/retailer looking to participate in this program?
Our Bee Better Manitoba Working Group will review your submission and get in touch with you as soon as possible.