Sustainability and performance in growing media – vital for horticulture

Sustainability, performance and quality are three key focus areas for Westland, and this will continue as we head into 2020, once again reiterating the company’s commitment to putting gardeners at the heart of its strategy.


Westland will continue to drive sustainability across the whole business, which will be highlighted by its developments in the growing media category next season. The outstanding success of the New Horizon range saw its retail sales more than double in 2019 and the experience New Horizon is now giving gardeners has laid the foundations for even stronger growth in 2020.

Discussing this, marketing director Keith Nicholson, commented: “New Horizon was never about being just another peat free compost, it was a new generation of growing media built on performance, look and consumer engagement. We are continuing to develop and invest in high performance products for gardeners, which will have a real impact on the overall sustainability within the garden market.  R & D is a key part in shaping the future and materials such as BIO3, used in New Horizon, when, in combination with our patented West+ material, have made a fundamental change to our industry and our sustainable footprint. Not to mention the experience of millions of gardeners across the country.”

Since 2009 Westland has seen it use of non-peat materials increase from 38% to over 70% in 2019.  Looking forward to 2020, Westland is committed to making this position even stronger. Its peat reduction programme will be extended on key volume lines such as Multi-Purpose with John Innes, UK’s leading compost; a move which Keith describes as “the most significant step in reducing peat consumption across the whole industry in 2020”.

Westland is also conscious that the retail industry needs to learn from history.  Keith continues “we are passionate about protecting the gardening consumer, and highlighted caution to not repeat the mistakes made in the mid 2000s. The sudden rush to use low grade, poor materials in growing media led consumers to lose trust in peat free and growing media products as a whole.  However, in recent years we have seen this trust return and perception of growing media has never been better. Hopefully, the sector has learnt the lesson and won’t rush to replace peat with materials that have not been proven and put consumer horticulture at risk.

“Some companies will continue to use green waste as an alternative to manage cost inputs.  However, its quality and origins still vary by region which can lead to poor quality materials and inconsistent results for gardeners. We are very clear, Westland will not and do not use green waste in our growing media.  Gardeners are at the heart of our strategy and they deserve the right quality and performance, whether peat based or peat free.”

To underpin the importance of performance, 2020 will also see the introduction of new range of high-performance grade of composts by Westland. The new specialist range is focused on delivering the best growing results for high value plants, or ones which need particular growing conditions. Utilising a blend of specialist micro-nutrients, macro-nutrients and stimulants combined in a medium with an optimum structure, will ensure the best-ever growing results.

Keith commented: “Trees, shrubs and buxus are a significant investment in the garden, each have different challenges and requirements. Our new specialist range is a true first for the home and garden sector. It really establishes a new level in performance, quality and enriches the health of the plant.  This range will deliver added value for the end consumer and strong attachment opportunities for the retail sector.”

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