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Which soil for planters?

Sorry, newbie question again! I'm am making up some planters for the garden. I'll probably be growing a bay tree and some Ilex shrubs in them. What soil is best for these? Do I just buy topsoil or do I buy compost or mix the two? 


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,401
    I take it these are big planters? I would mix topsoil with some normal compost - say two bags of topsoil to one compost (I think it's also a good idea to add some sharp sand or grit).
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,353
    Ah, but what do you mean by compost?
    MPC, home made compost, manure?
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,076
    I would use John Innes No 3 which is formulated for growing shrubs in containers long term and includes slow acting nutrition. 

    For the ilex I’d mix a bit of leaf mould or garden compost or even multipurpose compost in with it just to lighten it a bit … using 4 parts JI3 to 1 part leaf mould or what have you. 

    For my bay,which needs the growing medium to be very freedraining, I have used 3 parts JI3 with the addition of 1 part horticultural grit … I repot every couple of years replacing as much compost as is possible without damaging the roots … using a similar mix. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thanks all for the advice...I really appreciate the knowledge on here!
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