This product is actually not that accurately named. It’s good for using when planting most shrubs and plants into the ground or for using in seasonal bedding containers but the addition of Osmocote in the latter is essential.  Good for bedding plants in baskets and tubs and garden planting.

John Innes

This loam-based compost is great for a variety of planting. The higher the number determines the amount of fertiliser it contains. The more mature the plant, the higher the number you need. If you want to have a plant in a pot for more than one season, then you will need some John Innes in some form. It is also good for adding to existing borders if levels have sunk.  Good for herbs, alpines, bay trees and olives.

Garden Compost at Burston Garden Centre

Multi-purpose with added John Innes

This gives the best of both of the above. When planting a shrub in a container this is the perfect compost. The multi-purpose helps to keep the John Innes lighter and helps root development. However over time the multi-purpose element becomes depleted and an autumn and spring top-dress (adding more soil to the surface) of John Innes no:3 will ensure the soil maintains good qualities. We still recommend Osmocote to feed the plant for the whole growing season.  Good for hardy plants in containers.


This is the ideal soil for all acid-loving (lime-hating) plants. These include Rhododendrons, Azalea, Camellia, Pieris, Blueberry, Heathers, Japanese Maples and blue Hydrangea. As with regular composts we recommend a mix of ericaceous John Innes with ericaceous compost if planting in containers or just regular ericaceous compost if planting in open ground. Ericaceous controlled release fertiliser is also available to add to containers at point of planting.  Good for Rhododendrons, Camellia, Azalea, Japanese Maples (Acers), Pieris and Heathers.

Garden Compost at Burston Garden Centre

Tub and Basket

This soil contains additional wetting agents and moisture retaining granules. Other than that it is very similar to multi-purpose compost. It’s perfect for those who often go away for the weekend and frequently leave their baskets and containers unattended for a few days at a time as they may stay wetter for longer in the summer. The biggest negative to this soil is if we have a wet summer your planters may become water logged.  Good for tubs and baskets.

Garden Compost at Burston Garden Centre

Rose, Tree and Shrub

This soil is not too different from multi-purpose so is great for planting in open ground. It does have higher levels of humates to aid in soil structure and nutrient retention which is essential for permanent planting schemes. Good for hardy garden plants and trees.


This is just pure garden loam. It contains very little (if any) nutrient content and is what you would use to level an area in the garden prior to laying turf or to raise a level in a border.

Mulches and Manures

They are both used to help rejuvenate old, tired soils and can also be used in the autumn as a slow release fertiliser. They are also good for helping to reduce evaporation and keep moisture in the soil.