The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has committed to being 100% peat-free by 2025 as it trials alternative responsibly sourced growing media.
Peatlands, from which peat is harvested, are the world’s largest carbon store and provide valuable ecosystems for wildlife. As such, the charity has long championed the use of peat-free growing media among its members and over the next few years will be trialling sphagnum moss from sphagnum farming, anaerobic digestate, forest co-products, and waste materials to achieve peat-free status.
RHS gardens are currently 98% peat-free with the exception of some rare and exotic plants. The RHS also stopped selling peat-based bagged compost in 2019, and from 2025 plants sold in its retail outlets and on display at its shows will be peat-free.
The commercial horticulture industry is required to be peat-free by 2030 but, with an estimated two million cubic metres of peat to be replaced, the RHS is calling for greater government support in helping industry make the transition to responsibly sourced alternatives. This includes:
Alistair Griffiths, Director of Science and Collections at the RHS, said: “Our work reveals that the UK’s 30 million gardeners are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their gardens and as part of that are seeking out sustainable alternatives including peat-free products. However, the challenge for industry in finding a replacement for the two million cubic metres of peat used should not be underestimated and is why government support will be crucial in helping to protect this precious resource and ensure our plots are truly green.