Why are peat-free plants important?

A plant display at Morden Hall Park Garden Centre

At an AGM in 1999, the National Trust voted to stop using peat to grow plants. Peat can trap and store carbon dioxide for centuries, effectively making it a fossil fuel. What’s more, peat absorbs a lot of water, making it a key part of natural flood defences. For a charity dedicated to the environment, the choice to divest from peat use was a natural one.

Peat has been popular because it is relatively cheap to produce and (because it's lightweight) it is cheap to transport. It's something that a lot of growers are familiar with and, as a result, some are reluctant to change to a different medium.

However there are very few plants that really need to be grown in peaty soil, and quite a few that will do better without it. As a National Trust garden centre, we've been working with our suppliers to make sure that the plants we sell at Morden Hall Park are peat-free. For example, the National Trust nurseries at Lanhydrock, Cornwall supply all of their plants in line with this policy.

We're pleased to be able to say that we've now achieved our goal of being entirely peat-free.

" As a grower, I wouldn’t want to go back to peat again."
- Kenneth Harris, Nursery Manager, Lanhydrock

Morden Hall Park Garden Centre is also a force for change in its own right. We work with a number of other nurseries, and are encouraging them to supply peat-free plants for us. We also work with a number of other National Trust properties and, as a group, we are an enticing customer for growers to work with. There is now a trend of moving away from peat use, towards more sustainable practices. Government policies reflect this trend.

If you want to stop using peat, why not come and shop at Morden Hall Park Garden Centre? Our plants are peat-free, and we stock a great selection of peat-free compost.