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I must admit that I have become a very lazy gardener and now do the bare minimum I can get away with.
In an ideal world I would have a beautiful cottage garden with plants packed together, tumbling over paths and climbing up trellises and filled with beautiful scents.
Unfortunately that does not go hand in hand with lazy gardening and living with someone whose ideal garden would not have any plants or greenery. My husband is the kamikaze of the gardening world, who over the years has cut back and dug out many prize specimens, always with the excuse that he thought it was a weed, so much of the garden is now paved and I limit myself to planters.
As a very lazy gardener I look for products that require the minimum of effort, but still allow me to have a nice display in my pots and planters.
So Miracle Gro was made for me, not only is it a high quality potting compost, but this particular version contains plant food and aqua coir which retains moisture. That means that you don't have to feed your plants for 6 months or water as often and are more or less guaranteed a beautiful plant display.
Miracle Gro is a multi - purpose compost that is suitable for pots and baskets in this particular formulation.
I have a large collection of containers and they are planted with bulbs for spring colour, some perennial plants and small shrubs and roses . If they are not culled by my hubby, I plant summer bedding around the existing plants and have some other pots and containers that I simply fill with bedding plants each year.
Using Miracle Gro to completely fill all my pots and containers would be very costly as I have so many so here is what I do:
Planters with shrubs , bulbs and Perennials
I take out the top layers of soil taking care not to disturb the plants and bulbs and add Miracle Gro to the existing soil. That means that the existing soil is improved and the new plants are mostly planted in the new compost. So all the plants benefit from the plant food for 6 months and they require less watering as moisture is retained in the coir in the soil.
Planter with Bedding Plants
I usually do these from scratch each year. As bedding plants tend not to be deep rooted I go to my supply of broken crocks that every garden has in plentiful supply - only joking I use pebbles grit and stones at the bottom for drainage. Then put squashed up plastic plant pots or polystyrene to fill up the bottom layer , then top up with the compost which means I use less compost and the pots are not as heavy, so easier to move around.
I don't profess to be an expert, but I do know that plants grown in containers need more water and feeding and if you allow them to get too dry , they do not flourish , become stressed and are prone to attack from green or white fly. I find that my pots and containers now do much better since I started using Miracle Gro as they don't have to rely on me for their food and water.
I planted my pots last week and my hubby has thrown the bag away (still had some in) also a bamboo met its maker whilst he was helping!
I have checked online for the mix.
Scotts who manufacture Miracle Gro say online that they use peat moss , compost made from leaves grass bark and animal manure, perlite the little white bits for drainage , fertiliser and composted coconut hulks that absorb water.
This is lovely compost it smells earthy and nice and has a lovely consistency which is nice and rich. You get the odd bit of bark or coconut that hasn't fully composted , but this is a quality compost from a brand that is famous for its plant foods.
It comes in a strong plastic bag that I usually open with scissors as it is strong plastic. I buy 50 litre sizes , which are quite heavy. I have not seen it in other sizes.
I used to get the cheapest compost , but I have found that doesn't pay off in the long run as the plants don't do as well as the compost shrinks, doesn't drain well and the compost is not as rich so requires more watering and feeding.
I planted in what must be the hottest week of the year so far and can say that with ordinary compost my pots would have needed watering at least twice a day, but I have managed to get away with doing this just once a day as the compost retains the water.
So less water is used, which is good given the drought conditions , less cost as I have metered water and more time to sit in my chair admiring the plants!
I usually water early in the morning or later when the sun has gone down and I watered this morning and the soil is still moist and most of the pots have been in full sun. What I would say is that do make sure you water well in these conditions and don't just sprinkle a little on the top layer as this means the roots don't get the water they need.
Having used this before I know that the plants will thrive and grow much bigger than they would in ordinary compost as they are kept well fed. My pots and planters have survived better when we have been away as even if it does rain ,that isn't generally enough water for a pot or container, so other than the odd plant, they have done well unattended.
Would I Recommend?
Yes this is brilliant stuff for people like me who forget to water and feed regularly. I also like to pack my plants in as I I like to have flowers and greenery tumbling out of the containers to the point where you can't see the pots. So to get a great display like that the plants need lots of food and water as they are packed together so tightly. Miracle Gro delivers that with great compost food and moisture retention, so ideal for a lazy gardener.
When you have invested money in plants you want them to do well , so I think it is worth the investment.
I have planted a mix of pansies, bizzie lizzies, gerbera, geraniums, verbena , dianthus, violas , palms , nepeta and trailing petunias in primarily white pinks and purple with some pink thrown in. Not quite the jubilee colours but close without realising it !
I am confident these will give a great display without too much effort on my part . Miracle Gro say plants will grow twice as big and need 50% less watering. As I have not conducted a controlled experiment to test this, I can't confirm , but they do grow much bigger and need less watering than other composts I have used.
I just need to protect them from my husband!
Price and Availability
I bought mine from a local garden centre but could have got 2 x 50 litre bags for £12 at Homebase and B&Q .
Prices vary so shop around. I usually try to buy where I get most if my plants so I do the buying and planting the same day .
5 stars from me
Absorbs twice as much water as ordinary multi purpose compost so plant roots stay more moist.