How dangerous are HOME DEPOT plants?

ZEROPILOT

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Recently, I purchased both Primrose and Begonias for my out doors enclosures and noticed a separate pesticide label. After looking around, I saw that most of the plants had the same warning. Deer and pest resistant NEONICOTINOIDS. And "Not for human or animal consumption."
I looked online and found that although it is approved by the FDA there is some evidence that it gets into every cell of the plant, rendering it toxic. Period.
It may also be linked to Honey Bee deaths worldwide.
This is bad because I had been using Home Depot plants in part, to feed my tortoises.
I'd never seen any warnings or notices before. Only labels about watering and care...
 

Michael in MO

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I shop for my torts every week when I'm getting groceries, I'm not sure actually getting landscaping for food is that cost effective or safe (I've never seen a bug or caterpillar on a Home Depot plant) I would avoid that practice..
 

HLogic

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They should work very well as decorative plants for your house but after reading the neonicotinoid info would NEVER use them as a food source for anything. 10 years from now, you may be able to feed them to your animals but I would err on the side of safety...
 

Tom

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You are just realizing this now? I've been harping on this for years. We now have 2 TFO members who are experienced tortoise keepers and have been working in the commercial plant industry for many years. They both say the same thing: Any plant you buy in a store like HD or a nursery is full of systemic pesticides. Neither of these guys would buy something from HD and put it in their tortoise enclosure.

At the same time we have many members here who simply bury their head in the sand and say, "Oh well I just buy new plants and put them in all the time and my tortoises are fine." Makes me wonder just how "fine" they are.
 

Iochroma

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I am in the horticulture industry, and I will tell you the pesticides used on greenhouse and landscape plants are horrible. Strangely enough, the Neonicotinoides are not the ones you need to worry about. They are not very dangerous to higher animals. People always worry about the thing that is in the news...
Let me just say that I do not use any plant commercially-grown in an animal environment for at least 8 months after I get it.
 

Heather H

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Does washing the plant help ? Do the pesticides leach into the substrate if planted directly in the enclosure?
 

Tom

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Does washing the plant help ? Do the pesticides leach into the substrate if planted directly in the enclosure?

My understanding is that some of these pesticides are systemic, meaning the plants absorb the compounds into their tissues, thereby making bugs not want to eat any part of the plant. So no, washing the outside of the plant will not remove these toxins.

Yes these chemicals will leach into the surrounding substrate if you plant them in your enclosure.
 

HLogic

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I am in the horticulture industry, and I will tell you the pesticides used on greenhouse and landscape plants are horrible. Strangely enough, the Neonicotinoides are not the ones you need to worry about. They are not very dangerous to higher animals. People always worry about the thing that is in the news...
Let me just say that I do not use any plant commercially-grown in an animal environment for at least 8 months after I get it.

There have been studies that demonstrate the bacterial and photolytic metabolites of them appear to be rather dangerous to higher animals - mice, rats, dogs, some birds... Do you have sources you can share that substantiate lesser toxicity? I may have missed them in my rather cursory search for info. Any info on the half-life of the metabolites (e.g. its nitrosoimine metabolite (WAK 3839)) would be welcomed, as well.
 

TortsNTurtles

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I am currently using fake plants for my baby turtles because I am so afraid of using plants for that reason. http://www.neherpetoculture.com/plantpacks raise organic grown plants and ship them. They still recommend rinsing the plants etc. and give instructions on how to when the plants arrive. Unfortunately. it is to cold to ship right now so I will have to wait a few weeks. They are also researching safe succulents to sell so maybe a tortoise or turtle expert can help them in that area :) They are really nice people to talk .
 

Iochroma

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There have been studies that demonstrate the bacterial and photolytic metabolites of them appear to be rather dangerous to higher animals - mice, rats, dogs, some birds... Do you have sources you can share that substantiate lesser toxicity? I may have missed them in my rather cursory search for info. Any info on the half-life of the metabolites (e.g. its nitrosoimine metabolite (WAK 3839)) would be welcomed, as well.

Again, the dangers of neonics pale in comparison to fungicides used widely.
Almost all of the work with neonics has been done on mammals, so is not applicable to tortoises. Amphibians were always adversely affected, but aquatic reptiles did not seem to show harm. If you found studies relevant to those secondary metabolites in reptiles, then great, please share them.
 

Tom

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I am currently using fake plants for my baby turtles because I am so afraid of using plants for that reason. http://www.neherpetoculture.com/plantpacks raise organic grown plants and ship them. They still recommend rinsing the plants etc. and give instructions on how to when the plants arrive. Unfortunately. it is to cold to ship right now so I will have to wait a few weeks. They are also researching safe succulents to sell so maybe a tortoise or turtle expert can help them in that area :) They are really nice people to talk .

My problem with fake plants is that all of my torts want to eat them. Everyone should use caution with fake plants. Just like a cuttle bone, they can be ignored for weeks or months, until one day when they are not ignored...
 

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Geez. Changes required immediately!! I'm so sorry to have ever told anyone "oh you can find that stuff at Home Depot". I thought time and replanting would do the trick. Thank you for the information.
 

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I've had a Bromeliad in my tank for a few weeks after having it sit by itself over 4 months. There are no parts available for her to eat but I will be taking it out after reading this, and doing a thorough cleaning on her tank. Rather be safe then sorry.

Thank you, ZEROPILOT, for asking this. It will benefit people to read this thread. I will point out that my plant never had any tag mentioning consumption or pesticide use, it was a barcode and it said BROMELIAD. I didn't see any signs :( it was also from Home Depot. Mine has not had the chance to consume anything, I hope yours will be ok. I would assume that you would start to see ill effects, and if you haven't, they should be fine now?
 

dmmj

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I haven't used non private nursery plants ( non home improvement store plants) in years, if I do I re-pot, in new worm composted soil, and wait 6 months to a yerar, usually a year, for food sources. Of course I grow most of my own food so....
I just don't want to take the risk, no matter how small it may be.
 

HLogic

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Again, the dangers of neonics pale in comparison to fungicides used widely.
Almost all of the work with neonics has been done on mammals, so is not applicable to tortoises. Amphibians were always adversely affected, but aquatic reptiles did not seem to show harm. If you found studies relevant to those secondary metabolites in reptiles, then great, please share them.

I have seen nothing related to reptiles.
 

Heather H

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So here's a question. How safe are organically grown plants? My niece told me today that they can still use pesticides and fungicides as long as they are from organic sources. I removed the organic plants from my enclosure. I think I will just grow my own.
 

TortsNTurtles

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I guess it depends too on what are you using the plants for. I grow the tortoise weeds/plant food indoors in the winter but for the box turtles I just want to create a vivarium for them to hide in like the forest.That would be the reason I would want to purchase plants verses growing them. I am looking to create a vivarium.I guess I could take clippings from my mother in laws indoor plants and start them but I wanted a variety .Here is Tutor hiding under silk fake leaves ( picture blown up so you can see her ) and some tortoise food growing in pots under plant lights.Seeds are the way to go for food but I would love to just purchase safe plants to create a vivarium for hiding and humidity.
FullSizeRender (1).jpg FullSizeRender (2).jpg
 

Iochroma

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So here's a question. How safe are organically grown plants? My niece told me today that they can still use pesticides and fungicides as long as they are from organic sources. I removed the organic plants from my enclosure. I think I will just grow my own.

The usual organic fungicide is sulphur; I'm not a big fan of this, but I also don't worry about small amount on my food. Organically grown should mean no pesticides that are not natural; most of these pesticides are pretty safe for humans. I don't know of any organic pesticides that are of particular concern for reptiles ( amphibians are a different story ).
 

Heather H

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The usual organic fungicide is sulphur; I'm not a big fan of this, but I also don't worry about small amount on my food. Organically grown should mean no pesticides that are not natural; most of these pesticides are pretty safe for humans. I don't know of any organic pesticides that are of particular concern for reptiles ( amphibians are a different story ).
That's where my concern comes in. We are big they are so very little. I'm not going to chance it. :) we are going to grow as much as we can this summer and dry a bunch of things.
 
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