SylvaGrow® with John Innes: Gold Standard in Plant Growth

SylvaGrow® with John Innes: Gold Standard in Plant Growth

Even the very best gardeners need the assistance of good quality compost in order to get the best out of their seeds, seedlings, cuttings and transplants, and for nearly a century there’s been no better guarantee of quality compost than that which bears the name John Innes.

But what is it about this particular compost that has turned it into a market leader? Let’s start at the beginning.

Who was John Innes?

John Innes (1829-1904) was a British property developer and philanthropist. When he died, he left funds to create a horticultural institute with the aim of providing “technical instruction in the principles of the science and art of horticulture and the application thereof to the industry or employment of gardening”. It was this institute that developed the compost that still bears his name today, although it never manufactured it for sale or benefited financially from it.

What is John Innes compost?

There are four compost formulae that were originally developed by the John Innes institute, a seedling mix (for sowing seeds and for young plants and cuttings until they are ready to be planted out) and three potting mixes which differ in the levels of nutrients present.

All four compost formulae originally incorporated a soil component made up of sterilised loam, peat and sharp sand. The seedling mix amended the soil component with ground limestone and superphosphate, while the three potting mixes (John Innes No.1, No.2 and No.3) contained varying quantities of ground limestone and a fertiliser mix (made up of hoof and horn, supersulphate and sulphate of potash).


SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes

Removing peat from the ground is an unsustainable activity that can cause serious harm to the environment and damage biodiversity. For this reason, it is being phased out from horticultural use, with the sale of peat and peat-containing products in the retail horticultural sector being banned by 2024, although some uses for professional growers will still be permitted until 2030.

Instead of precious peat, SylvaGrow® contains fine bark, wood fibre – by-products of sustainably managed British forests – and coir. Meanwhile, you won’t find any ‘hoof and horn’ (a by-product of the meat processing industry) either, because this compost is wholly suitable for vegans.

Why use SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes?

SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes is the culmination of 100 years of careful development that has resulted in a high-quality compost trusted by both professional and amateur gardeners.

Fully endorsed by the RHS, safe for vegans and 100% free from peat and green waste compost, it represents an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional compost that is widely used by nurseries and horticulturalists across the country. It has a wide range of uses, including raising seeds and cuttings and potting on, while our 50-litre bags can also successfully be used as growing bags, ideal for tomatoes, aubergines, strawberries, peppers, chillies and much more.


Here at KG Smith & Son, we’re proud to be a leading supplier of SylvaGrow® with Added John Innes to nurseries, businesses and homes across the UK. Available for rapid delivery or for collection from our Northamptonshire base, it represents the gold standard in plant growth and is the perfect companion for successful gardening and vegetable growing. 

Call us now to find out more or place your order online now.



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