The main applications of John Innes Composts and recommended methods of use are as follows:

Fill seed tray or pot brim full with John Innes Seed or No.1 Compost, strike off level and firm gently to a level just below the rim.

Water with a fine rose and allow to drain.

Sow thinly and evenly, then cover if recommended on the seed packet.

Cover the tray or pot with glass or clear plastic and keep in a warm shaded place until the seeds germinate.

Once leaves have appeared remove covering and water using a fine rose.

Fill seed tray with John Innes No.1 or No. 2 Potting Compost but do not water.

Make holes with a dibber.

Separate the seedlings carefully and plant in straight lines, taking care to hold by the leaves, not the stems.

Gently firm around the seedling and water well using a fine rose.

Stand the tray in a bright position, out of direct sunlight.

Water the plant and allow to drain.

Put some John Innes No.2 or No.3 into the bottom of new pot.

Invert and carefully tap out the plant from existing pot.

Keep the root ball intact and put it on the compost in the centre of the new pot.

Pour more compost in around the root ball, then firm gently, ensuring new compost fills the gap between root ball and pot wall.

Leave at least 1cm space below the rim for watering. Water using a fine rose.

Make sure that the drainage holes are not blocked, then cover the bottom with a layer of horticultural grit to prevent water-logging.

Fill with John Innes No.2 or No.3 up to about 3cm below the rim and firm lightly.

Make holes for the root balls of the plants and then ensure that the spaces around the roots are filled.

Firm gently and top up with compost, leaving a 2cm watering space below the rim.

Water well and do not allow to dry out.

John Innes Ericaceous Compost can be used indoors or outdoors, in pots or containers or planting out into the garden. Use for taking cuttings and potting young and established plants.

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. 

Close the bag of compost after use to keep it moist and to prevent contamination.

Keep it in a cool dry place away from weed-killers.

John Innes Compost should not be stored from one season to another as the nutrient content may become unbalanced.


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.


John Innes Potting Composts contain enough plant food for 1 - 2 months, depending on the plant and the season. Feed regularly during the growing period with a proprietary liquid fertiliser. Do not allow to dry out!