Choosing your compost

The following table shows the basic types of John Innes compost and what they should be used for. 


John Innes Seed Compost

The traditional mix for sowing almost any type of seed, with sufficient nutrients for early development. May also be used for rooting soft cuttings.

John Innes No.1

For pricking out or potting up young seedlings or rooted cuttings. This compost has a carefully balanced nutrient content to suit most young plants.

John Innes No.2

For general potting of most house plants and vegetables plants in to medium size pots or boxes. Contains double the amount of nutrients in John Innes No.1 to suit established plants.

John Innes No.3

A richer mixture for final re-potting of gross feeding vegetable plants and for mature foliage plants and shrubs in interior planters or outdoor containers.

John Innes Ericaceous Compost

A specially formulated sterilised loam-based, lime-free compost with essential plant nutrients for most lime-hating subjects, such as; Azaleas, Heathers and Rhododendrons. 

The normal John Innes Potting Composts Nos 1, 2 and 3 are NOT suitable for most lime-hating subjects such as Azaleas, Heathers and Rhododendrons etc.

The John Innes Ericaceous compost is a specially formulated sterilised loam-based, lime-free compost with essential plant foods for such plants. It is a traditional loam-based formula with added lime-free grit ideal for all acid-loving calcifuge plants such as; Azaleas, Camellias, Ericas, Heathers, Magnolias and Rhododendrons.

John Innes Ericaceous Compost can be used indoors or outdoors, in pots or containers or planting out into the garden.

Taking Cuttings
Fill pot level, insert cuttings spaced so that leaves do not touch. Gently firm compost around cutting and water using a fine rose. To maintain humidity put a plastic bag or dome cover over the pot or place in a propagation unit. Keep in a warm well-lit place, out of direct sunlight. Water when compost looks dry or if cuttings wilt. 

Potting Established Plants 
Only re-pot in the growing season - between early Spring and Autumn. Water the plant and allow to drain. Partly fill the new pot, tub or planter with fresh compost, leaving enough room for the root ball. Place the plant in the middle of the pot and fill around with compost, firming gently. Leave at least 1cm (0.5 inch) below the rim of the pot to allow adequate space for watering. Water well. DO NOT ALLOW TO DRY OUT. 

Plants need light for growth, but avoid excessive direct hot sunlight for sensitive plants. Allow fresh air circulation but avoid fumes, draughts and hot dry air. A moist atmosphere is beneficial. Avoid excessive heat, cold shocks or any sudden changes of temperature. 

Planting out 
Line the hole with enough compost to completely surround the roots. Place the plant in position and fill the hole with more compost. Firm gently and water well. 

John Innes Ericaceous Compost contains enough plant food for 6 to 8 weeks after potting, depending on the plant and the season. Thereafter feed every 7 to 14 days during the growing period with a liquid ericaceous fertiliser. 

Compost Storage 
Close the bag after use to keep it moist and to prevent contamination. Store in a cool dry place away from weed-killers. 

When compared with most peat-based or peat-substitute soil-less composts for growing established lime-hating plants in containers, John Innes loam-based Ericaceous Compost is generally:

Easier to Water - J.I. Compost take up water more easily and need watering less frequently. 

Higher in Nutrients - plants suffer less in J.I. Compost if feeding is overlooked. 

More Stable - the natural weight of J.I. Compost provides greater stability and resistance to wind. 

More Tolerant - J.I. Compost can cope with wider fluctuations in feeding, watering, and weather. 

Longer Lasting - J.I. Compost lasts for a longer time before it is necessary to water and feed plants.

Multi-Purpose - John Innes Ericaceous can be used for all types and sizes of acid-loving plants. 

Here are some suggested uses for different types of John Innes compost: