Retailers Guide: What is Peat-Free & Why Does It Matter? - The Horti House

Retailers Guide: What is Peat-Free & Why Does It Matter?

Embracing peat-free practices in the horticulture industry is not just a trend but a crucial step towards sustainability and ethical responsibility.

This guide aims to enlighten readers about peat, its traditional role in houseplant cultivation, and the imperative need for transitioning to peat-free methods. This shift is not only beneficial for environmental preservation but also aligns with the growing consumer demand for sustainably and ethically grown houseplants, offering a significant advantage for your business.

What is peat?

  • Definition: Peat is an organic material formed in wetlands from partially decomposed plant matter.

  • Usage in Horticulture: Traditionally used as a growing medium for houseplants due to its water retention and aeration properties.

Why Move Away from Peat?

  1. Environmental Impact:

    • Carbon Emissions: Peatlands store about 3 billion tonnes of carbon. Disturbing these ecosystems by harvesting peat releases significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.
    • Biodiversity Loss: Peat extraction destroys habitats, threatening species that rely on peatlands.
  2. Sustainability Concerns:

    • Non-Renewable Resource: Peat accumulates very slowly, at about 1mm per year, making it a non-renewable resource in practical terms.
    • Ecosystem Damage: Draining peatlands for extraction disrupts the natural water balance, leading to further environmental degradation.
  3. Ethical Considerations:

    • Global Responsibility: Protecting peatlands is a part of global efforts to combat climate change and preserve biodiversity.
    • Future Generations: Sustainable practices ensure that resources are conserved for future generations.

Benefits of Peat-Free Practices

  • Reduced Carbon Footprint: Switching to peat-free mediums significantly lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Enhanced Biodiversity: Peat-free cultivation supports the health of various ecosystems.
  • Sustainable Growth: Encourages the use of renewable resources, promoting long-term sustainability in horticulture.
  • Consumer Appeal: Growing consumer awareness about environmental issues increases the demand for sustainably grown products.

Peat-Free Alternatives

  • Coir (Coconut Fiber): A by-product of the coconut industry, offering excellent water retention and aeration.
  • Wood Fiber: Derived from responsibly managed forests, providing a sustainable and biodegradable option.
  • Green Compost: Made from recycled garden and food waste, offering a nutrient-rich medium.


Embracing peat-free practices is not just a trend; it's a crucial step towards sustainable and responsible horticulture. Retailers partnering with businesses like The Horti House not only contribute to environmental preservation but also align with the growing consumer demand for ethically grown houseplants. The shift to peat-free is a win-win for the planet and your business.

Check out our range of British grown, peat-free wholesale plants here

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