It is vital that we seek to change gardening practices to protect these precious ecosystems.
Withdrawing peat-based compost from sale
From the beginning of 2020 we stopped selling peat-based compost.
While we can ensure the growing media we sell in our retail outlets are peat-free, as a charity, we are not currently able to confirm this for the plants that we stock due to the long and complicated production cycle and because, in many cases, plants are grown by third parties and originate abroad. We will continue to work with our suppliers to explore how we can minimise or eradicate peat use. This also stands for our shows, although we already require that exhibitors and designers do not use peat in the mulching and dressing of beds.
Improving advice on peat alternatives
We have information about the impact of peat and its alternatives available for buyers at the point of sale in our plant centres.
We also have advice on peat-free growing media and how you can create your own peat-free mixes for those plants, such as carnivorous plants, that have traditionally been grown in it.
Peat free in our gardens
Across the RHS’ five gardens we are peat-free – except for a handful of rare and exotic plants important for industry and specialist growers where there is, as yet, no proven alternative. However, we are soon to start trialling peat-free products on specialist plants currently grown in peat with a view to discontinuing its use across our gardens.
Working with industry
We believe the horticulture industry needs to work together to find and promote a sustainable and effective alternative growing media. This is why we are an active member of the Growing Media Initiative and the Project 4 Responsible Growing Media taskforce which are intended to promote the use of alternative products.
Carrying out our own research
The RHS also continues to lead practical research into existing and new alternatives. This includes a decade-long organic matter experiment that found that peat-free products were as good as those containing it and a partnership with Royal Holloway, University of London looking at developing non-peat growing media for use by the industry. The outcome of this research will be shared with gardeners and the horticultural sector in order to provide a robust, evidence-based case for the use of peat alternatives.