Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

B&Q best for compost says Which? trial

Published: 8 January 2010
B&Q's own brand composts topped the tables in Which?'s research into the bet composts on the market, but Homebase came bottom of the leader board.
B&Q best for compost says Which? trial
The trial carried out throughout 2009, tested 24 composts. Each compost was purchased four times from different areas of the country to allow for variation between batches. Two trials were conducted, one to test multipurpose and john Innes composts, and one for composts specifically recommended for sowing seeds or growing on young plants.

The seed sowing trial was divided into two strands, an easy-to-grow basil and a tricky petunia. Experts at an independent site sowed 25 basil seeds into 12 pots of each compost. The number of germinated seeds and quality of resulting seedlings was recorded. The same test was carried out with the Petunias.

The three Best Buys in this test were B&Q multipurpose compost, B&Q sowing and cutting compost and New Horizon peat-free grow bag.

The B&Q multipurpose compost was consistently the best performing compost on test. It contains 63% peat, less than ever before, and costs £3.98 for a 70-litre bag making it the cheapest on test as well.

The test for growing on new plants used antirrhinum plugs, because they are sensitive to high nutrient levels, and cabbage plugs because they quickly show nutrient deficiencies. The size and quality of the plants were assessed after six weeks.

Again, B&Q took first and second with its multipurpose compost and John Innes No 2 compost respectively. Westland West+ multipurpose was also named an Best Buy.

The best peat-free composts on test were Westland West+ peat free multipurpose compost and the New Horizon peat-free grow bag

Homebase's multipurpose peat-free compost was named Don't Buy in both tests.


Published prior to March 2014
By Tamsin
We have used this compost for several years and until now have found it reliable. This year the compost is covered in a layer of mould and the seedlings are really poor. Can anyone explain this?
Published prior to March 2014
By Jane Oliphant, consultant editor, DIY Week
Thank you for your comment on this story. Please note that it was published in January 2010, and so is now out of date - which explains why your information is different.
Published prior to March 2014
By Mr S White
Have the new Which magazine in front of me. No1 was SylvaGrow, joint No2 Levingtons multi purpose waterlock system, Hpmebase, Thompson & Morgan, Waitrose, and Westland. No mention of B&Q.
Published prior to March 2014
By Ray Taylor
Hi I bought a bag of the above with the aim of sowing my seed in a nice easy to handle medium. I have used Levingtons for a good few years but this compost makes it almost impossible to sow small seeds due to its make up I am 80 years old but I can tell you I wont be buying the same compost again. I am not blaming B&Q but would you let the suppliers know that this product falls far below what it used to be
Published prior to March 2014
By brandon
this compost is great quality, is very well priced,great for all jobs and is very well draining!
Published prior to March 2014
By wb nattress
as a commercial grower i have used this compost for at least 10 yrs and found it to be a very good all round growing medium . this year they have reduced the size from 70 ltr to 60 but as a pensioner i make good use of my 10% discount on a wednesday
Published prior to March 2014
By P Brown
very course, full of twigs and honey fungus awful quality
Published prior to March 2014
By Gill
Bought three bags of this on offer last year and it was the worse I have ever bought. Full of twigs and rubbish. The plants I repotted will need redoing because of its poor quality. I have thrown the rest onto the garden to dig in,
Published prior to March 2014
By william nattress
b and q compost has now shrunk from 70 ltr to 60 ltr per bag at the same price but its water retaining properties has diminished so its not the good buy it was
Published prior to March 2014
By tony
not according to my which gardening magazine. It was only the b&q seed compost!!

(Your email address will not be published)
Already Registered?
Sign In
Not Yet Registered?
Printable View E-mail Bookmark

What do you think?

As Bunnings opens its largest Warehouse store to date (110,000sq ft) this week but also trials small format like a number of retailers, we ask: is there still a place for 'big box' retail stores in the UK?

Latest reader comments

re: UPDATE: Scotts to sell Solus brands

Lesley Bridge
for spare parts go to they are brilliant...

re: Tool Shop Group expands with Camden opening

Andy Nash
This is a fantastic shop, with a really impressive range of DIY materials at very reasonable prices and staff who are very knowledgeable, ...

re: Flooring Republic set for “monster growth” in UK

christine blackler
I really do wish I had read these comments before ordering my flooring. This company should be renamed FOOLINGthePUBLIC. I have been ...

re: Centurion offers retailers free age-restricted sales sign

Fiona Garcia
To claim the sign, please contact Centurion marketing manager Glynn Fox at or 01302 788700...

re: Centurion offers retailers free age-restricted sales sign

Hi,Please could I claim one of your free age restricted product signs for our shop.Kind Regards DianneDIANNE SUTTONBEST WISHES, 50 HIGH ...

Most read stories