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John Innes Number 3 alternative?

Hello,

I purchased myself a 'syringa palibin' lilac yesterday, and want to make sure I plant it in the best conditions I can. Everything I have read recommends John Innes number 3, so I've tried to buy some and can't find it anywhere. it's not easy for me to get to a garden centre, but the two local to me don't have it anyway. Easiest for me is Wilkinsons, which used to stock the Westland one but has discontinued it. They do sell Miracle-Gro 'Enriched' - would this be an okay alternative?

Thanks.
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Posts

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,255
    John Innes is a loam based planting medium ... do you have access to any topsoil?

    If so I would use that, with the addition of some multi-purpose compost (even some used in pots last year would be fine as long as there are no vine weevil grubs in there) and a few handfuls of horticultural grit together with some Fish, Blood & Bone which is a slow release organic fertiliser, following the amounts on the pack. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,877
    It doesn't sound like a very fussy plant from the RHS info.


    The main stipulation is well drained but moisture retaining soil. What kind of soil does the spot you've got planned for it at the moment have? 
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,255
    I was assuming it was going to be in a container ... if it's going into the ground I'd just plant it and give it a sprinkling of FB&B, water it and make sure the grass doesn't grow around it.
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,574
    If it's going in the ground, it doesn't need compost except as a soil conditioner or mulch at planting time.   If it's going in a pot, then a loam based compost with a bit of multi-purpose added will be fine.

    This is what the RHS says about this plant - not fussy really as long as the growing medium or soil is not acid/ericaceous - https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/202850/Syringa-meyeri-Palibin/Details  
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks for the replies. It is going in a pot, yes. I have horticultural grit and I'm pretty sure I can buy fish, blood and bone in a few places. So I'll try and get hold of some topsoil. The topsoil I have in my vegetable beds has had manure dug through it recently, would that be okay?
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 7,132
    Quite an unfussy plant, which seems to grow in anything... my neighbour has one 4 foot tall and she gives it no attention.. so there is no need to fret about compost..  I had mine in a pot for years..

    Intoxicating scent …  please enjoy your Syringa...



  • Marlorena said:
    Quite an unfussy plant, which seems to grow in anything... my neighbour has one 4 foot tall and she gives it no attention.. so there is no need to fret about compost..  I had mine in a pot for years..

    Intoxicating scent …  please enjoy your Syringa...




    Thank you. I've always been a bit of a 'multipurpose compost for everything' person in the past, and wanted to try and start paying a bit more attention to what I was doing. Little less trial and error. So it's nice to know sometimes you can just go with what you've got.

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,877
    If it like a moister soil then it would be worth giving the pot a top dress of grit to control evaporation. With my potted acers I like to remove the grit and top layer of soil and topdress with John Innes every year so if you manage to pick up a bag at some point you can always add some on top.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • DampGardenManDampGardenMan Posts: 1,054

    The main stipulation is well drained but moisture retaining soil. 
    Does anybody actually have any of that?
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,877
    Mine is getting to that point now after years of heaping mulch onto clay. It also helps that half my garden is steeply sloping so gravity does most of the drainage work.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
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