Choosing the Right Branded-Compost (or Making it Yourself)


  1. Introduction
  2. 'Houseplant Compost'
  3. Desert Cacti & Succulents
  4. Carnivorous
  5. Orchids
  6. Bonsai
  7. Citrus
  8. Ericaceous
  9. Terrariums
  10. Making Your Own Potting Mix (A Must-Read)

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1. Introduction

It's a well-known fact that a healthy plant grows in the appropriate potting mix. A soil-profile that's too water-retentive will strip the roots of oxygen, causing them to respire and slowly breakdown anaerobically. Buying (or making your own) compost that's tailored for the specific plant will benefit its overall health on many levels. The composts listed below can be found at any good garden centre, with prices starting around £3 for 4L. Even if you're not from the UK, still use this list to help you choose which is best suited for your plant. Most of these products have an alternative in different countries, for example, Brunnings for Australia & Miracle-Gro for the US.

If you're looking at placing different plants into one container to create an indoor garden or display, try to use specimens that belong in the same 'Compost Category' on our list. Have a look at the image below for inspiration of a successful 'Indoor Garden' that's now over two years old!

Making an arrangement with different specimens within the same 'Compost Category' (written below) is both fun and highly beneficial for the plants!

Another great example of using different plants within the same 'Compost 'Category'.

2. 'Houseplant Compost'

Brunnings (AUS),  Levington (UK)  &  Miracle-Gro  (US)

• Despite the name, this compost isn't acceptable for all houseplants, and instead is only for moisture-loving plants. Cacti and Succulents shouldn't be placed in this stuff unless extra doses of sand and perlite are added.

• Introduce some extra grit, sand or perlite if the plant is grown in a shady location. In essence, this will improve the drainage and aeration of the soil while reducing the chance of root rot from over-watering (familiar with dark areas).

• Bulbs (like Daffodils, Hyacinths, etc.) & Herbs (Capsicum, Tomatoes & Strawberries, etc.) can be placed in Houseplant Compost. For bulbs, introduce some extra grit and perlite to improve drainage and aeration.

• Fertilisation isn't needed for the first six weeks due to the stored nutrients in the soil.

Other Houseplant Potting Mixes (UK)

3. Desert Cactus & Succulent Compost

The Top 3 UK Cactus Composts

• Suitable for all desert / tropical cacti & succulents

• Slightly more difficult to find in garden centres, but still relatively cheap

• Can be substituted with Houseplant Compost when extra sand, grit and perlite is used (see the No. 10 on this list)

4. Carnivorous Compost

ukhouseplants' Recommended Carnivorous Potting Mixes
• Contains almost no nutrients which is mandatory for most insect-eating plants

• Carnivorous plants cannot be placed in any other soil

• Can be used in carnivorous terrariums, too

5. Orchid Compost or Bark

UK Orchid Barks

• Provides oxygen & nutrients to the roots

• Can be purchased at all garden centres & online stores

• Mandatory for all Orchids, whether it's on its own or a mixture of this & Houseplant Compost

Westland & Levington

These products include a splash of fine-graded compost, meaning that this isn't just bark segments. This potting-mix is best used for:

Orchid Focus

This product consists only of bark segments, meaning that there isn't peat or coconut coir. This is acceptable for Orchids that need good airflow between the roots. (Think of the potting-mix used in supermarket Orchids).

6. Bonsai Compost

The Top 3 Bonsai Soils (UK)

• Houseplant Compost can be substituted if necessary

• Bonsai Compost is well equipped for the development of a healthier rootball

• Cheap and available at some garden centres

7. Citrus Compost

ukhouseplants' Recommended Citrus Soils

• Aids the flowering and fruiting process

• Provides a blend of nutrients and a loam-based texture for better overall health

• Can be substituted for Houseplant Compost when extra sand or grit is added

8. Ericaceous Compost

• Mandatory for lime-hating plants

• Houseplant Compost should not be used as it'll cause burning roots with Ericaceous specimens

• Can be bought at all garden centres - typically sold outdoors but can be used for indoor specimens

9. Terrariums

• Desert Terrariums - 'Cacti & Succulents' Compost

• Tropical or Foliage Terrariums - 'Houseplant' Compost (add sand & perlite, too)

• Carnivorous Terrariums - 'Carnivorous' Soil

10. Making Your Own Potting-Mix

Creating your own potting-mix from Multi-Purpose Compost is beneficial to your experience and understanding of how plants interact with their soils. The image below comprises the five main ingredients needed to create your own compost.

You may think that using a water-retentive soil-profile like Multi-Purpose Compost is a bad idea - but hold your horses. Mixing this with the correct amount of perlite, sand, or grit will ensure that even succulents can thrive in it. For each of the following images, have a look at the textures and ratios of each ingredient.

The five main ingredients which are used in our ratios below!

...also  Bromeliads, Chinese Evergreens, Cissus, Coffee Plants, Common Ivy, Dinner Plate Aralia, Fatsia, Fiddle-Leaf Figs, Lipstick Plants, Maidenhair Ferns, Murdannia, Pachira, Pellionia, Streptocarpus, Syngoniums.

Book a 1-to-1 Call with Joe Bagley

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