We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies as per our policy which also explains how to change your preferences.

Best Buy composts for containers

By Adele Dyer

You need a great compost to grow pots of bedding and bumper crops of veg. Our tests find the best composts for pots and containers.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

The best composts that we recommend here are proven to grow plants that are covered in flowers non-stop throughout the summer and large, healthy vegetables. 

Best compost for patio pots for 2019

Our tests over the years have shown us that choosing the right compost is vital as they vary widely. 

Which? members can log in now to view our recommendations below. Not a member? Join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.

Compost Our verdict Pelargoniums Potatoes Score
Compost non-member logo M **** **** 74%

Lower peat content 

Peat content: 58%

This peat-based compost was also a Best Buy for patio pots last year. It’s a blend of peat and green compost with a little sand. This means it has a lower peat content than some composts.

The pelargoniums grew strongly from the start. They were large plants by mid-summer and flowered well. The potato crop was heavy and tubers didn’t have any signs of scab.

Find out which compost we're talking about - log in or join Which?

Compost non-member logo M **** **** 72%

Good for flowers

Peat content: 90%

This peat-based compost was almost a Best Buy in our compost for young plants test this year (Jan/Feb 19). It’s mostly peat, but also contains a small amount of green compost.

The pelargoniums were particularly robust. They were among the largest in the test from early summer and were some of the best-flowering plants with more than 80 flowers stalks over the summer.

There were plenty of good-quality potatoes, too, but most were small or medium in size.

Find out which compost we're talking about - log in now or join Which?

Compost non-member logo M **** **** 72%

Consistent all-rounder

Peat content: 58%

This compost was a Best Buy for sowing seeds in 2017, and this year it scored well for sowing seeds and raising young plants (Jan/Feb 19). It’s a mix of peat and green compost.

The pelargoniums were very large plants that flowered prolifically throughout the summer. The potatoes gave a good harvest and, although most of the tubers were on the small side, they were a similar size to many we grew this year.

Find out which compost we're talking about - log in now or join Which?

Don't Buy composts for patio pots for 2019

If you want a peat-free compost, you're better off with our Best Buy peat-free choice. 

Compost Our verdict Pelargoniums Potatoes Score
Compost non-member logo M *** ** 43%

Nutrient poor

Peat content: 0%

This mainly ‘green compost’ is made from green-waste bin collections and this year, it was very lumpy with large chunks of poorly milled wood.

Within weeks of being planted, the pelargoniums’ leaves were pale with a red tinge. The plants hardly grew in the crucial first weeks and didn’t recover later on, remaining small and flowering poorly. The potato yield was also very low.

Find out which compost we're talking about - log in or join Which?

Compost non-member logo M ** *** 40%

Needs supplementing

Peat content: Not stated

This peat-based compost has controlled-release feed added to the mix.

It has scored poorly in the past and this year the pelargoniums were clearly struggling to grow a few weeks after planting. We supplemented with a liquid feed after four months, but they continued to be small with few flowers and the potato crop was also low.

Find out which compost we're talking about - log in or join Which?

SHARE THIS PAGE