Find out which composts score the highest when it comes to starting seeds, tending to young plants, and cultivating plants in containers. Find out how to choose a compost that will be just right for your gardening endeavours by reading our comprehensive guide.

All compost test results 2017

If you use poor quality compost, on the other hand, you will end up with scant harvests and plants that are unable to sustain themselves. Compost should be made from decomposing plant matter and other organic materials. However, the only way to determine whether or not a compost is of high quality is to cultivate plants in it and then evaluate the results, which is something we have been doing for more than three decades. Peat compost is becoming increasingly unpopular as it is widely believed to be harmful to the environment and a significant contributor to the phenomenon of global warming. Peat-based composts, on the other hand, continue to be the type of compost that is most readily available in garden centres and are favoured by many gardeners.

The best compost that does not contain peat for planting seeds.

Late in January of each year, the results are revised and updated.

Best compost

Compost Made of Fertile Fibre and Seeds

Score: 85%

Content in peat: 0 percent

The cost is £24 for 60L, and it includes delivery.

Price per litre: 40p

seedlings in good health.

In the past, we have had a variety of results with coir composts, and many of the pure coir products that were tested did not perform particularly well. Nevertheless, it would appear that this compost contains some nutrients, as it was able to promote healthy growth in our seedlings. In point of fact, its score was significantly higher than that of any other compost that was evaluated for this test. There was a very high germination rate, and the newly emerging seedlings all scored extremely close to perfect on all of the evaluation criteria.

Fertile Fibre Company is the place to purchase it.

Compost without peat that is ideal for starting young plants.

Late in January of each year, the results are revised and updated.

 

Best compost

Compost for a Variety of Uses, Enriched for the Home by B&Q GoodHome

Score: 86%

Peat content: 0%

The cost is £6.50 for 50L.

Price per litre: 13p

On par with peat compost in quality.

The majority of composts sold at B&Q do not contain peat anymore; this particular product is made from coir, green compost, and composted bark. It is strongly recommended that you purchase the ‘enriched’ bag rather than the standard multi-purpose bag because the latter did not receive as high of a score. Although they were not the tallest, the tomatoes had the highest fresh weight, which meant that despite their shorter height, they were the most robust. The antirrhinums bloomed beautifully and were of a respectable size.

B&Q is the place to purchase it.

When starting young plants, peat-free compost should not be purchased.

 

Best compost

Incredicoir Thompson & Morgan (Thomson & Morgan)

Score: 20%

Peat content: 0%

The cost is £8.99 for 30L.

Price per litre: 30p

No fertiliser.

This pure coir compost is sold as a block that is wrapped in a bag. To rehydrate the dried product, you pour 4-5 litres of water into the bag that the block is contained in.

In contrast to other composts sold by Thompson & Morgan, this particular product does not come with a bag of controlled-release fertiliser, and it also does not appear to contain any base fertiliser.

Because of this, our seedlings were unable to grow, but despite this, they maintained their vibrant green colour and good health. If you use this product, you should begin providing your seedlings with liquid food as soon as you pot them up.

 

Best compost

Coco & Coir Coco Grow

Score: 19%

Peat content: 0%

The cost is £6.99 for a 9L bottle.

Price per litre: 66p

a deficiency in plant nutrients.

This coir block is 100% coir and does not contain any added fertiliser of any kind. As a direct consequence of this, our plants experienced stunted growth as a result of a deficiency in essential nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, which are required for healthy root development and green growth respectively.

In spite of the fact that the seedlings retained a pleasing coloration until the very end of the experiment, they were among the tiniest plants that were tested. After conducting an experiment to determine whether or not feeding makes a difference, we discovered that if there is no base fertiliser, it is best to liquid feed seedlings as soon as they are potted on.

The best compost alternative to peat for use in containers

Late in March of each year is when the results are revised and updated.

Best compost

Homebase’s Peat-Free, All-Purpose Compost is Available Here.

Score: 75%

Peat content: 0%

The cost is £5.25 for 50L.

Price per litre: 11p

Excellent substitute for peat in containers.

Coir, bark fines, and wood fibre that has been steam-treated are the three components that make up this own-brand compost. Because it has enough food for six weeks’ worth of consumption, it may have been the reason why it got off to such a good start. More than eighty percent of the potatoes harvested were larger than four centimetres across, contributing to a satisfactory yield of approximately 920 grammes per pot of potatoes.

The pelargoniums were in good health, but by the end of the experiment, the lack of controlled-release feed caused a decline in flowering that couldn’t be reversed. The addition of feed resulted in a discernible improvement in the overall health of the plants as well as an expansion in the number of flowers.

Purchase locations: Homebase

 

 

Melcourt SylvaGrow Multipurpose Compost

Melcourt SylvaGrow is a versatile all-purpose plant.

Score: 70%

Peat content: 0%

The cost is £7.99 for 50L.

Price per litre: 16p

Versatile peat-free.

This peat-free product was not only awarded the highest score in this year’s compost for raising young plants trial, but it is also frequently chosen as a Best Buy for patio pots (Feb 21). Coir, composted bark, and wood fibre are the components that go into its manufacture. It resulted in a very respectable harvest of potatoes for us, with an average yield of 883 grammes per pot and a sizeable proportion of tubers in three quarters of the plants.

Even though the pelargoniums had fewer flowers as the summer progressed, their overall health was excellent. If you add some controlled-release feed to this compost, your bedding plants will continue to look nice all the way up until the end of September. Garden centres are the places to buy it.

Composts made of peat that are ideal for planting seeds

Late in January of each year, the results are revised and updated.

 

Best compost

Compost for a Variety of Uses Available at Homebase

Score: 79%

Peat content: 50%

Price per 50 litres is £5.75

Price per litre: 11p

Strong in all aspects.

This peat-based compost from Homebase contains 50 percent peat and 50 percent West+, which is Westland’s treatment of wood fibre. Because Homebase informed us that their peat-free compost is not appropriate for sowing fine seeds, we were unable to include it in the experiment that tests the viability of sowing seeds. The tomato seedlings were awarded perfect scores across the board. The petunia seeds did not all germinate at the same time, but the seedlings that emerged were robust and strong. They maintained their quality even after being grown on for a little bit longer.

Purchase locations: Homebase

 

Best compost

Compost for Seed-Sowing Produced by Westland John Innes

Score: 77%

Peat content: 44%

The cost is £6.99 for 35L.

Price per litre: 20p

Mixture prepared in the traditional manner.

Because it contains peat, loam, and grit, this compost comes about as close to the original John Innes recipe as it is possible to buy in modern times. It was perhaps the most conventional compost in our test. There is no wood fibre, bark, or green compost present in this product at all. Both kinds of seeds were able to germinate successfully and showed no signs of deterioration over time.

The petunias appeared to be simple to prick out and continue growing, and by the end of the experiment, the tomato seedlings were some of the largest of the bunch.

Garden centres are the places to buy it.

Composts made of peat that are ideal for the growth of young plants

Late in January of each year, the results are revised and updated.

 

Best compost

Compost for Seed-Sowing Produced by Westland John Innes

Score: 77%

Peat content: 44%

The cost is £6.99 for 35L.

Price per litre: 20p Mixture prepared in the traditional manner. Because it contains peat, loam, and grit, this compost comes about as close to the original John Innes recipe as it is possible to buy in modern times. It was perhaps the most conventional compost in our test. There is no wood fibre, bark, or green compost present in this product at all.

Both kinds of seeds were able to germinate successfully and showed no signs of deterioration over time. The petunias appeared to be simple to prick out and continue growing, and by the end of the experiment, the tomato seedlings were some of the largest of the bunch.

Garden centres are the places to buy it.

Composts made of peat that are ideal for the growth of young plants

Late in January of each year, the results are revised and updated.

 

Best compost

Compost for a Variety of Uses Available at Homebase

Score: 87%

Peat content: 50%

Price per 50 litres is £5.75

Price per litre: 11p

Peat mixture with a reduction. This is composed of fifty percent peat and fifty percent West+, which is Westland’s treatment of wood fibre. It is said to have enough feed to last between four and six weeks, and this may explain why the plants continued to thrive in our trial despite the fact that we did not water them. The tomato plants were very healthy, as evidenced by the fact that they were among the tallest in the experiment and had a high fresh weight. The antirrhinums performed exceptionally well in the test; they were very tall and had a large number of blooms.

Purchase locations: Homebase

Composts made of peat that are ideal for use in containers

Late in March of each year is when the results are revised and updated.

 

Thompson & Morgan Incredicompost

Incredicompost created by Thompson & Morgan

Score: 79%

Peat content: 80%

The cost is £14.99 for 70L.

Price per litre: 21p

No long-flowering pelargoniums allowed in the green compost.

In previous tests, this has performed exceptionally well. This year, it also proved to be an excellent compost for germinating seeds and tending to young plants (Feb 21). On the other hand, it contains the greatest amount of peat, which accounts for 80% of the total, while wood fibre makes up the remaining 20%. It also comes at a high cost. However, it does not include a base fertiliser and instead comes with its own bag of controlled-release feed. Because of this, we were unable to test the pelargoniums when they were not being fed. In the experiment, the potato yield was the highest, averaging 940 grammes per container, and three quarters of the tubers were of a size suitable for eating. Although we did not test this without the addition of feed, when compared to the pots of pelargoniums that had the addition of feed, it was one of the best.

Purchase can be made at thompson-morgan.com.

 

Best compost

 

Compost for a Variety of Uses Produced by Levington, Enhanced with John Innes

Score: 75%

Peat content: 40%

Pricing at $4.99 for a 40L bottle

Price per litre: 12p

Composting the green way calls for no large potatoes. This 40% peat mix is a good example of how compost manufacturers are becoming increasingly innovative in the ways that they reduce the amount of peat content in their products. In addition to that, it is made up of wood fibre, top soil, green compost, and grit, all of which help maintain a healthy balance between water retention and drainage.

The overall potato harvest was quite successful, coming in at 921 grammes per pot on average, with 83 percentage of the tubers being of a suitable size. Because this compost contains enough food to last for eight weeks, the pelargoniums maintained their robust health throughout the experiment. However, after eight weeks, flowering significantly decreased in the pots that were not fed, so it is important to remember to feed your plants.

Garden centres are the places to buy it.

Can you tell me about the various kinds of compost?

Compost can be divided into two primary categories: general-purpose and compost designed for a particular purpose, such as starting plants from seeds or cultivating them in outdoor containers.

Composts that can be used for a variety of purposes

It is a good general compost that is advertised as being suitable for germinating seeds, growing small seedlings, and planting plants in containers for the patio; however, our tests have shown that not all composts are great for all tasks. Examine our table of results carefully in order to find a solution that is suitable for all of your gardening needs. Compost that can be used for a variety of purposes typically costs less than compost designed for a particular purpose; however, be sure to check out our picks for the best products available because some specialised composts produce excellent results.

Composts specialised for planting, growing, and potting

Designed to promote optimal plant growth by creating an environment that is optimal for the particular type of plant being grown, such as one that is suitable for orchids, cacti, or ericaceous plants, at a specific stage in that plant’s life cycle. They typically include a different assortment of components compared to those that are found in multipurpose composts.

Compost for seeds and containers may contain trace amounts of sand, grit, or vermiculite. Orchid compost may contain bark, while cactus compost is primarily composed of gravel and sand.

It’s possible that the fertiliser has been modified as well. Because seeds only require a small amount of fertiliser to germinate, seed composts typically have low levels of nutrients. When you prick out your seedlings, a compost that can be used for a variety of purposes may be the best option to use because young plants require more nutrients to fuel their rapid growth.

When growing acid-loving plants in containers, such as azaleas, camellias, and heathers, ericaceous compost is the type of compost that is utilised. The percentage of peat in many is quite high. It is important to remember to use an ericaceous feed in order to maintain the health of your plants. Composts specifically designed for the cultivation of vegetables may be available.

These are very comparable to composts that can be used for a variety of purposes, but their nutrient ratios may be slightly altered. Some are excellent, some are less good. Take a look at the results of our grow bags.

Composts designed for a particular purpose are typically sold at a higher price point than composts designed for a variety of uses; however, there are circumstances in which the additional cost is justified.

Composting in tubs and baskets

Composts designed for use in tubs and baskets are formulated to create an environment in which summer bedding plants in containers can thrive. Granules for storing water and/or controlled-release feed may be included in some of the varieties.

Tub and basket composts are typically more expensive than multipurpose compost; however, if you use multipurpose compost in conjunction with a Best Buy controlled-release fertiliser and water your plants on a consistent basis, you will typically achieve better results.