The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Which compost for what?


By Madmum

United Kingdom Gb

I'm going to order compost today, but I'm just not sure what type to get. I have some large pots which I think I'm going to put shrubs in and maybe lily bulbs. I also have some dahlia tubers to plant. Is it best to buy John Innes #3 for these? Or am I on completely the wrong track? lol

Thanks for any advice you can give to this gardening novice!



John Innes #3 would be fine but it's very heavy as it's loam based and usually get less for your money.

If it was me I'd use pretty much any multi-purpose compost with the exception of west+ as I don't like it. It'd be fine for your Lillies and Dahlias and most shrubs.

27 Feb, 2009


I always use a loam based compost for all plants. In general drainage is less good than desirable in containers so I add extra grit. JI #3 will be fine.

27 Feb, 2009


Thanks for the answers, although I still don't know what to do for the best!

What about half and half? I thought the JI#3 would be better if plants were staying put for a while, but maybe mixing would be a good compromise?

27 Feb, 2009


hi madmum i sometimes do a fifty fifty mix and and osmacote type food granules for long term plants. otherwise i use a ji 3 for most of my pots.

27 Feb, 2009


Thank you! I've ordered John Innes #3 and I can mix it with multi-purpose and chicken pellets if need be. :)

27 Feb, 2009


John Innes 3 is best for permanent plants (shrub, trees etc).If you use this remember to put the pots in place BEFORE you fill them with the JI as it's heavy and the pot may be immovable! Annuals would be better in soil-less compost.

28 Feb, 2009


Thank you, that's a very useful tip as the pots are already hard to lift! I might invest in some of the little wheely pot stands just in case!

28 Feb, 2009

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?