We’re proud so many professional gardeners and growers use our peat-free growing mediums for their plants and gardens. In the first of a series of grower profiles, we chat to Harriet Thompson, founder of Harriet’s Plants, about why she chooses to grow peat free
You may have heard of free-from food – but how about houseplants? In a purpose-built glasshouse in Lichfield, Harriet’s Plants is shaking up the indoor garden industry by growing and selling peat-free and chemical-free plants in plastic-free pots.
“My sole purpose is to grow better. When I say better, I mean to grow with the environment and not against it,” says owner Harriet Thompson (pictured below), who started the business in 2019. “In my opinion, it’s the responsibility of business to do better so consumers can make better choices with their purchases.”
Peat-free plant parent
Harriet’s love of plants was sparked off after visiting flower farmers in Tasmania. Later, after studying plant science at the world-famous Eden Project in Cornwall, and working in organic vegetable gardens, she began to realise a career in horticulture was what she wanted to pursue.
“Houseplants were a way for me to bring the outdoors inside when I didn’t have access to a garden. And my love for plants grew from there,” says Harriet, who offers everything from peperomias to large-leaved monsteras from her online shop.
“I love being able to create jungles in other people’s homes, with all the cleansing and mental health benefits indoor plants bring.”
Sustainable materials are at the heart of everything Harriet does. And this begins with the compost.
“Good compost is important from the word go. To start seeds and root cuttings. But good drainage is also essential for houseplant health,” says Harriet.
“Plants need that perfect airiness to allow the roots to penetrate and remain healthy. I look for a compost that has enough nutrients to last for four weeks. And I need to be sure that when I feed the compost, it will have the ability to take on the nutrients I’m providing.”
Harriet has used Melcourt’s composts from day one. “I swear by SylvaGrow in the nursery. The compost is light, free draining and my plants love it. I specifically love the seed and cutting compost, SylvaGrow John Innes No 1 and No2. But the SylvaGrow Multi-Purpose is also great, and I’ve always used it in the greenhouse. I like to add some orchid bark to the mix if I have a specific plant that likes a chunkier mix.”
Protecting the environment
At Harriet’s Plants all the houseplants are grown in sustainable coir pots. Any plastic pots are recycled from local garden centres.
“If we as growers and sellers have the option to choose better then we should be doing just that,” says Harriet. “I choose peat free because at the rate we use peat, whether it be for fuel or for horticulture, it is a non-renewable source.
“Wildlife is important to me. The peat bogs hold thousands-of-litres of water, which helps prevent flooding. It’s baffling to me that it’s legal to even touch these bogs, let alone excavate them. The environment needs us #peatfreepeople!”
Find out more about Harriet’s Plants at www.harrietsplants.co.uk or follow Harriet at @harriets.plants on Instagram.