RHS research highlights UK list of 100% peat-free nurseries and growers

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has surveyed hundreds of nurseries and growers from around the UK to find their peat-free status and movement towards transitioning away from using peat.

The survey is the most detailed of its kind and provides a baseline from which to measure the horticultural industry’s progress towards being peat-free, whilst highlighting a list of nurseries and growers that have been verified as being 100% peat-free.

The government has committed to banning the sale of peat to amateur gardeners by the end of 2024, while the use of peat in professional horticulture is set to be banned in 2026, with some exemptions to 2030.

The RHS hopes the list of 100% peat-free growers will enable more gardeners and suppliers to access peat-free plants as well as marking the progress of the industry. The nurseries listed offer a wide range of plant types and are located across the country, with many online options too. In due course, the survey will be repeated and the list updated to reflect the progress of the industry.

Alistair Griffiths, Director of Science at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: "We are really pleased to be able to share and celebrate this list of businesses that are 100% peat-free, and look forward to many more nurseries and growers joining them as they complete their journey to becoming peat-free. Our survey provides a snapshot of the industry at this point in time and highlights the gathering momentum and desire for change within much of the sector, with many only using peat for more difficult areas to transition to, such as very young plug plants, which are often brought in from Europe, and ericaceous, or acid-loving, plants.”

The survey results show that industry progress is being made, with almost a third of 427 respondents, growing peat-free across all plant ranges, (with the exception of young or plug plants) a further 17% of respondents are now verified as being 100% peat free across all operations. Close to 100 further growers were found to be at least 80% free, including some of the largest businesses in the horticulture industry.

The use of peat in horticulture has severe environmental consequences, as peatland habitats store twice as much carbon as all the world's forests combined and can store it for thousands of years. Extraction of peat not only releases carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change, but also destroys important and unique habitats for wildlife and disrupts hydrological services that help to prevent flooding.  

At Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery, one of the nurseries on the 100% peat-free list, it has taken some experimentation to get the right peat-free mixes for the range of flowering perennials they grow, but owner Sue Beesley felt strongly that the destruction of peatlands could not be justified to produce their plants. Sue highlights the work still to be done around misconceptions about growing peat-free and the need to ensure peat is not the cheapest growing media, both of which would help the industry embrace the move away from peat.  

In 2022 the RHS co-funded a research fellowship to accelerate the transition to peat-free with Defra and industry, leading research to help the horticultural trade and support gardeners to sustainably transition from peat to sustainable growing media. This survey was carried out as part of the fellowship project.

The partnership has three new members in Hillier Nurseries, Lovania Nurseries and Volmary, adding to the original partners. The seven growers taking part in the research produce a combined 143 million plants a year, sold throughout the country in supermarkets and garden centres as well as for use in the landscape and amenity industry.  

James Ball, Head of Strategy at Lovania Nurseries, said: “At Lovania we have been growing many of our lines, such as bedding plants, peat-free for several years, but joining the research fellowship will ensure a smooth transition backed up by robust trials for the more difficult lines. We are already seeing some customers asking for peat-free plants ahead of the current government deadline of 2026, so participating in this research now will give us the time to iron out any challenges and keep producing our plants to their usual excellent standard, as well as sharing the results to benefit the industry as a whole.” 

A key way for home gardeners to help with the transition to peat-free is better home composting, which means gardeners can reduce the amount of bagged compost they buy. To see the full list of peat free nurseries and growers, please visit:  


For further information or images please contact Liz Woznicki, 07802 328811, [email protected] or RHS Press Office, [email protected] / 0207821 3080.

Notes to editors

The RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) scheme helps all gardeners make informed choices about plants.  The award is a measure of excellence given after a supervised trial period.  AGM plants should demonstrate excellent performance in the garden, they should be commercially available, and they should not require any specialist growing conditions.  Look out for the trophy symbol,  which represents the RHS AGM, and is used extensively on plant labels to help you identify AGM plants at a glance.

About the RHS

Since our formation in 1804, the RHS has grown into the UK’s leading gardening charity, touching the lives of millions of people. Perhaps the secret to our longevity is that we’ve never stood still. In the last decade alone we’ve taken on the largest hands-on project the RHS has ever tackled by opening the new RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, Greater Manchester, and invested in the science that underpins all our work by building RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science.

We have committed to being net positive for nature and people by 2030. We are also committed to being truly inclusive and to reflect all the communities of the UK.

Across our five RHS gardens we welcome more than three million visitors each year to enjoy over 34,000 different cultivated plants. Events such as the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, other national shows, our schools and community work, and partnerships such as Britain in Bloom, all spread the shared joy of gardening to wide-reaching audiences.

Throughout it all we’ve held true to our charitable core – to encourage and improve the science, art and practice of horticulture –to share the love of gardening and the positive benefits it brings.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.