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John Innes Ericaceous Compost

The normal John Innes Potting Composts Nos 1, 2 and 3 are NOT suitable for most lime-hating subjects such as Azaleas, Heathers and Rhododendrons etc. The recently re-launched JOHN INNES ERICACEOUS COMPOST is a specially formulated sterilised loam-based, lime-free compost with essential plant foods for such plants. It is a traditional loam-based formula with added lime-free grit ideal for all acid-loving calcifuge plants such as:-

  • Azaleas 
  • Camellias 
  • Ericas 
  • Heathers 
  • Magnolias 
  • Rhododendrons

John Innes Ericaceous Compost can be used indoors or outdoors - in pots or containers or planting out into the garden

Taking Cuttings

Fill pot level, insert cuttings spaced so that leaves do not touch. Gently firm compost around cutting and water using a fine rose. To maintain humidity put a plastic bag or dome cover over the pot or place in a propagation unit. Keep in a warm well-lit place, out of direct sunlight. Water when compost looks dry or if cuttings wilt. 

Potting Established Plants 

Only re-pot in the growing season - between early Spring and Autumn. Water the plant and allow to drain. Partly fill the new pot, tub or planter with fresh compost, leaving enough room for the root ball. Place the plant in the middle of the pot and fill around with compost, firming gently. Leave at least 1cm (0.5 inch) below the rim of the pot to allow adequate space for watering. Water well. DO NOT ALLOW TO DRY OUT. 


Plants need light for growth, but avoid excessive direct hot sunlight for sensitive plants. Allow fresh air circulation but avoid fumes, draughts and hot dry air. A moist atmosphere is beneficial. Avoid excessive heat, cold shocks or any sudden changes of temperature. 

Planting out 

Line the hole with enough compost to completely surround the roots. Place the plant in position and fill the hole with more compost. Firm gently and water well. 


John Innes Ericaceous Compost contains enough plant food for 6 to 8 weeks after potting, depending on the plant and the season. Thereafter feed every 7 to 14 days during the growing period with a liquid ericaceous fertiliser. 

Compost Storage 

Close the bag after use to keep it moist and to prevent contamination. Store in a cool dry place away from weed-killers. 

Benefits of John Innes Ericaceous Compost 

When compared with most peat-based or peat-substitute soil-less composts for growing established lime-hating plants in containers, John Innes loam-based Ericaceous Compost is generally:- 

  • Easier to Water - J.I. Compost take up water more easily and need watering less frequently. 

  • Higher in Nutrients - plants suffer less in J.I. Compost if feeding is overlooked. 

  • More Stable - the natural weight of J.I. Compost provides greater stability and resistance to wind. 

  • More Tolerant - J.I. Compost can cope with wider fluctuations in feeding, watering, and weather. 

  • Longer Lasting - J.I. Compost lasts for a longer time before it is necessary to water and feed plants.

  • Multi-Purpose - John Innes Ericaceous can be used for all types and sizes of acid-loving plants. 

NOTE: The following JIMA members currently produce a John Innes Ericaceous Compost:-

Eden Park Ltd                               

Gem Gardening                             

The Scotts Co (UK) Ltd                 

Wm Sinclair Horticulture Ltd        

Westland Horticulture                    







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