Choosing the right compost can be a finely balanced decision, considering the complex blend of minerals, nutrients and organic matter, judged so that plants perform at their best. 

Peat Free: is a more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional peat-based compost, using substitutes such as recycled green waste, coir or composted bark. Fine for all general garden uses, including containers.

Soil-based composts: heavier soil-based blends are usually mixed to the John Innes formulae in 3 grades from John Innes No1 for seedlings, to John Innes No 3 for mature shrubs.

Seed compost: fine-grade seed composts are sterilised to eliminate disease and are low nutrient, so seedlings don't get scorched.

Ericaceous compost: If you garden on neutral or alkaline soils and love acid-loving plants like rhododendrons or blueberries, choose this low-ph compost to give them just the conditions they need.

Rose Tree and Shrub composts: often soil based, these are designed to mix into planting holes to get newly-planted trees and shrubs off to a flying start.

Soil improvers: organic soil improvers like Farmyard Manure open up the soils structure, breaking up heavy clay and helping free-draining soils hold on to moisture.

The John Innes recipe:

Loam is the most important ingredient in the compost as it provides the main 'body' of the compost. It also forms the base of plant nutrition by supplying clay which absorbs and releases plant nutrients as required. Loam also contains essential micro-elements and some organic matter which provides a slow release of nitrogen to the plant.

Sphagnum Moss Peat in the John Innes Compost increases the total porosity and improves both the aeration and the water-retaining capacity. Peat decomposes slowly into humus.

Coarse sand or grit is used as a physical conditioner to allow excess water to drain from the compost and thus prevent water-logging. It also helps to provide stability for larger plants.

The compound fertiliser in John Innes Compost provides the wide spectrum of plant nutrients needed for balanced growth.


We can deliver compost within a 35 mile radius of the nursery.

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