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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 NottinghamPosts: 4,657
    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 Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 12,021
    Ah, but what do you mean by compost?
    MPC, home made compost, manure?
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,567
    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. 

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