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Peat free alternative

Hi all. Can anyone recommend an alternative to John Innes no3. I've a large wooden planter which I intend to fill with mature plants. Two clematis to start with. I want to avoid peat. Regards Jon


  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 35,051
    Hello Jon. It is possible to buy peat free John Innes No3 and this is the ideal potting medium for your planters. SylvaGrow is one example and Levingtons have a version that is multi purpose compost with added John Innes.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,950
    Or just buy topsoil and add whatever is needed to that - compost, manure, leaf mould etc.
    I hope the planter is big enough to accommodate two clematis though. Unless they're varieties that are completely suitable for pot culture, most 'planters' aren't big enough.  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks for responding. Planter is a wooden type I made from recycled wood. Holds approx 130 litres. Very large.
  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,288
    I've done similar for a couple of years and use my own mix of garden soil, well rotted manure, peat free compost, my own compost and grit.  It's pretty random and really just layered with a little mixing.  It's working well so far and I add to it every other year of so with peat free compost to keep the containers, which are old cattle troughs, topped up.  I also grow clematis' in them.  If you look on Taylors Clematis website they state which varieties are suitable for container growing.  
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,950
    I'm afraid it doesn't sound very big if it only holds 130 litres, bearing in mind that a container of around 50x50x50 cm would take around 150 litres. That would be the kind of size you'd need for 1 mature clematis, and that would also depend on the variety. A montana, for example, would struggle in something that small.

    The soil depth is also important for most clematis, so if it was 100 cm long, by 40 cm depth [front to back] the height would only be around 25cm. 

    What are the actual dimensions of your container?  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • 105cm x 38cm x 32cm
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,950
    I think only the smaller types would manage in that - some of the early Group 1s, or the smaller evergreen ones. Worth checking the specialist sites to check what will work, as @Ladybird4 says. 

    A foot of soil [30cm] isn't really very much for clematis roots, even if they have room to spread sideways. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • The clematis in mind were in the ground. No idea of the names. Small summer flowering types 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,950
    I'm slightly confused. Do you mean you're digging up existing plants? 

    Most summer flowering clematis are larger flowering [and large plants]  unless it's the texensis types, which are generally smaller flowered, although still large plants.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Seems like we've wandered off track here. I wanted advice on peat free alternatives. If clematis are not suitable they won't go in.
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