Refreshing the compost in pots

How to refresh compost in pots

Container-grown trees and shrubs benefit from a fresh supply of compost every year or so – we show you how to do it.

Do it:

Feb, Mar, Apr, May

Takes just:

20 minutes

If you're growing a tree or shrub in a large container, you should replenish the compost every year or two.

Doing so will improve the compost structure and provide a fresh supply of nutrients, which can be lost quickly in pots and containers.

If you want to grow more plants in pots and containers, but aren't sure what to grow, have a look at our top 10 plants for containers.

Discover how to refresh compost in pots, below.

You will need

  • Hand fork
  • Potting compost
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Gravel or small pebbles

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Gently loosen the compost from among the surface roots with a hand fork, working right out to the edge of the pot. Then remove as much old compost as possible.
Top it back up with a 50:50 mix of loam-based potting compost and organic-based multi-purpose compost. Firm down as you go and avoid air pockets among the roots. 
Water in thoroughly, then add a thick layer of gravel or pebbles on top. This weighs down the fresh compost, deters weeds, and holds moisture around the roots. 

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