Our Peat Free Approach & Range

There is growing awareness of the importance of protecting the important natural resource of peat bogs and particularly among gardeners and those in the horticulture sector. Following this, in May 2021 the UK government announced that the sale of peat in garden centres will be banned from 2024.  

At Hillier, we have been continually working to reduce the amount of peat across our business for a number of years, both by introducing an increasing range of peat-free products at all Hillier Garden Centres as well as reducing the amount of peat we use for growing on our nurseries. 

We highlight our approach to peat, along with our peat-free products available from Hillier Garden Centres, below.

Our Approach to Peat

We are committed to removing peat across all areas of the business; however, we must be careful to ensure peat is replaced with a sustainable alternative and not simply replaced with a product that is further damaging to the environment.

As the largest UK grower of semi-mature trees our tree production is now 100% peat-free. Production of all other plants across our nurseries has moved from, 75% peat free in 2020, to 95% peat free for 2021, with the aim of moving to 100% peat free production for 2022, ensuring all home-grown plants sold in Hillier garden centres are peat free.

Earlier in 2020, our Garden Centres introduced a number of new sustainable products, most significantly a new Hillier peat-free multipurpose compost at the beginning of 2020 to sit alongside the Hillier multipurpose compost to give the customer a clear choice in our highest selling product. Also introducing ‘Bloomin’ Amazing’, which is the by-product from an anaerobic digestion plant providing ecologically friendly heat, gas and electricity for up to 56,000 homes in Dorset.

We are continually working with our suppliers to add peat free alternatives to our range, and in 2020 have seen a 20% increase in customers choosing peat free products. Further products will be added for 2021 as we continue to expand this offer and work towards eliminating peat from our business. 

Find out more about our environmental policies and approach here.

Our Peat Free Range

You can find a growing number of products that are completely peat-free at all Hillier Garden Centres, including our own Hillier Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost, along with naturally produced soil conditioners.

Hillier Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost

In spring 2020, we launched a completely peat-free version of our popular Hillier Multi-Purpose compost. It contains a mixture of west+ ((natural fibres to encourage good rooting), coir and composted bark plus fertiliser. This mixture creates a balanced compost with enough water and air to support root growth.

Discover more about our Hillier Peat Free Multi-Purpose Compost.

New Horizon Multipurpose Compost, Vegetable Compost & Tomato Planter

New Horizon All Plant Compost is a completely peat-free formulation, blended to suit all plant types. It uses Westland’s Bio3 formulation based on biofibre – a totally natural, nutrient-rich fibre.

If you are looking for a natural compost for your vegetable garden, New Horizon All Veg Compost has been specially blended to suit all types of vegetables.

For growing tomatoes, New Horizon Tomato Planter is designed with peat-free compost, ready for you to add tomatoes, or equally chillies, peppers or cucumbers. It can be used all year round.

Bloomin Amazing Soil Conditioner

Bloomin’ Amazing is a new product that works as a soil conditioner, easy feed and mulch in one. It is the solid by-product from a sustainable energy plant powering over 50,000 homes in Dorset with gas and electricity. Cereal crops are grown on nearby farmland (taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), harvested and processed in an “anaerobic digester” with specialised micro-organisms which release natural gas to be used in the local homes and to produce electricity. The by-products of this process are a high-quality liquid fertiliser that is re-applied to the next crops and Bloomin’ Amazing which mulches and feeds your garden. It also acts as a natural deterrent to slugs and snails.

Discover more about improving your soil with Bloomin Amazing.

Coco & Coir

The Coco & Coir range of growing media products are all 100% peat-free, made from natural coconut husks. After harvesting, the coconut husks are stored, ground, washed, dried, and compressed. These husks are a natural by-product of the coconut farming industry, causing minimal impact on the environment.

Discover more about the Coco & Coir range

The Future

We know there is more we can do. With quality peat-free alternatives tried and tested, the biggest remaining challenge is to be able to source enough of the source material – such as wood fibre – to meet demand. This is something the industry is working on. 

We also need to help raise awareness among gardeners about the existence of quality peat-free alternatives.