Compost Guide

Which compost you will need depends entirely on what it is you are planting or re-potting. Find out which one is best for your planting needs.

Why are there so many choices?

There is a huge choice of compost nowadays and with good reason, as each type is formulated differently to support specific plants and stages of growth.

For example, seedlings benefit from a lower concentration of nutrients. It sounds unusual, but young plant growth can actually be hindered by high nutrient levels! More established plants require more nutrients.

Beyond this, there are some plants that prefer more acidic soil or benefit from better drainage. We have broken down some of the choices and explained what they are useful for below.

Multi-purpose / All Purpose

For many jobs, a multi-purpose compost will do the trick. There are different blends of multi-purpose – some of which contain between 6 weeks and 6 months worth of plant food.

We recommend multi-purpose for use when planting:

  • Hanging basket plants
  • Bedding plants
  • Leafy veg such as lettuce

Seed Compost

Seedlings are understandably tender and sensitive, which is why seed compost is very different to other growing media.

Other composts are higher in nutrients that can hinder early plant growth. You may also find that seed compost is higher in phosphate, which supports root development.

If you enjoy taking cuttings, some seed composts are also perfect for this!

Vegetable Planters / Grow Bags

If you want to try growing your own vegetables, a quick and easy way to get set up is by simply using a vegetable planter – also known as grow bags.

They do not take up too much room and you can plant straight into them.

We find that tomato planters are increasingly popular. Tomorite Giant Tomato planters are enriched with Tomorite feed for better flavour and root growth.

Keep the patio tidy by placing your grow bag in a tray and using plant support products

John Innes No. 3 - Mature Plant Compost

This compost recipe was first made in the 1930s and is named after its creator. It has stood the test of time and is still made today by a number of brands.

John Innes No. 3 is perfect for established plants, as it is rich in nutrients to ensure continued, vibrant growth.

So, if you have just treated yourself to an established fruit tree or shrub – this is the compost for you!

Specialist Composts

There are some plants that have very specific needs. These include Azaleas, Camelias, Cacti, Succulents and more.

For these plants, specialist composts can be used that contain exactly what the plants need. For example:

  • Azalea, Camelia & Rhododendron Compost is more acidic due to the acid-loving nature of the plants
  • Cacti & Succulent compost has excellent drainage to avoid over-watering and to emulate desert conditions
You will find a full range of compost and growing media in our garden centres. If you are ever unsure which compost to go with, always feel free to ask a member of staff or get in touch with us before you visit.

We will be happy to help you find what you need!

Parker's Garden Centres