I can hear you right now: “What? Why not? Cheerios is doing a good thing! What’s wrong with their wildflower seeds?” Well, mostly nothing, but it’s the invasive ones that would be better off staying inside the packet:
Forget-me-not is banned as a noxious weed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, for example. The California poppy is nice in California, but listed as an “invasive exotic pest plant” in southeastern states. And many of the flowers on this list are not native to anywhere in the US, so they are not necessarily good matches for our local bees.
Cheerios is doing a great job of helping to keep pollinators on the public radar, but there are better things you can do to help more pollinators than just honeybees and it doesn’t have to involve spreading invasive plants that will spread through the local ecosystem like wildfire.
The article has a good collection of resources if you need a nudge in the right direction.
Source: Don’t Plant Those “Bee-Friendly” Wildflowers Cheerios Is Giving Away
Please don’t promote the lies in the blog “Don’t Plant Those ‘Bee-Friendly’ Wildflowers Cheerios is Giving Away”. There were no noxious or invasive weeds in the seed mix. The blogger got it wrong on the seed identifications. The forget-me-not was not Myosotis scorpioides, which isn’t even available in the seed trade. California Poppy is not invasive throughout the southeast. Also many non-native flowers are recommended for pollinators by University extension websites, which is where the blogger sent people to check out pollinator plants. Therefore the criticism of non-native plants by the blogger was entirely unfounded. Many botanic gardens list both native and non-native plants suitable for home gardeners, and there’s a great book written by entomologists, Gordon Frankie and Robbin Thorp called “California Bees & Blooms” that recommends native plants as well as garden cultivars and flowers that are not native for pollinator gardens. Any avid and experienced gardener knows that bees utilize many non-native garden flowers because they produce nectar and pollen. Honey bees and 80% of native bees are generalist foragers, which means they’ll utilize what’s available.
I’m not comfortable with calling it “lies.” That would imply an intent to deceive and I have no evidence of that. However, when I posted this, I wasn’t aware that the Canadian seed supplier, Vesey’s, was sending out seeds appropriate to the destination region. That can only be a good thing.