Moorland landscape Siegel torffrei gewachsen

INKARHO® – For the sake of the environment

What are the environmental impacts of peat extraction?

For several years, the use of peat as a component in horticultural substrates has been common practice. Peat extraction contributes to the release of large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. In addition, it destroys important habitats for many plant and animal species, which minimizes the preservation of biodiversity in peat bogs. Therefore, conserving peatlands helps to stabilize the carbon cycle and protects vital ecosystems.

Ecological impacts of peat use in the horticultural industry

For decades, peat has been used extensively in production horticulture due to its easy availability. However, as a non-renewable resource, peat is not infinitely available. Additionally, peat contains very few nutrients for plant production, requiring additional fertilization. Moreover, once dried out, peat is difficult to re-wet.

Moorland destroyed by peat extraction Rails in destroyed moorland

Which soil is best for rhododendrons?

Rhododendrons prefer acidic soils with a low pH between 4.5 and 6.0. The soil should be well-drained to allow sufficient root aeration, as rhododendrons are generally sensitive to water-logging. A humus-rich substrate helps retain moisture while also providing nutrients.

Pre-mixed rhododendron soil works just as well as a homemade mix composed of equal parts peat moss, composted pine bark, and coarse sand or perlite. This mixture provides the correct acidity level along with sufficient drainage and aeration. Organic materials like compost or well-rotted leaves can further improve soil structure and nutrient availability.

Potting soil with or without peat?

Peat-containing soils can store and release large amounts of water to plants, but peat is low in nutrients and not a sustainable resource. Peat-free substrates are more environmentally friendly regarding the protection of peat bogs. Peat substitutes often have better drainage capabilities and are richer in nutrients.

Is rhododendron soil peat-free?

Since typical rhododendrons prefer bog soils, rhododendron soil usually contains peat. However, peat-free rhododendron soil is also often available on the market. INKARHO rhododendrons are bred to grow in almost any humus-rich garden soil, including peat-free substrates. Several tests have shown good growth of INKARHO rhododendrons in peat-free mixes, making them an eco-friendly alternative to standard rhododendrons.

What are the peat-free alternatives?

Several peat substitutes have the potential to enhance the structure of substrates, promote water retention, and support plant growth. Alternatives include compost (in moderation), coir fibres, bark humus, wood fibre, perlite, and some others.

INKARHO® as a Pioneer – also grows in peat-free/reduced soil

INKARHO rhododendrons are renowned for developing a robust root system paired with healthy growth in a variety of humus-rich substrates - even in calcareous soils. Due to these favourable conditions, the interest group opts for peat-reduced to peat-free substrates for their rhododendrons, establishing themselves as forerunners in this field. The special substrate mixture is carefully adjusted to meet the specific needs of rhododendrons.

Numerous tests have proven that all INKARHO rhododendrons can indeed grow in 100% peat-free substrates. By striving to use peat-free or peat-reduced soil, INKARHO contributes to the protection of bogs and the reduction of the ecological footprint.


Why do INKARHO® Rhododendrons grow in peat-free soil?

INKARHO Rhododendrons have been specifically bred as lime-tolerant alternatives to conventional rhododendrons. As a result of years of breeding efforts, several varieties of hardy and healthy rhododendrons have emerged. Their robust root systems can adapt to different pH levels in the soil, allowing them to thrive in peat-reduced or peat-free soils. By reducing the consumption of peat, INKARHO makes an important contribution to the preservation of peat bogs.

Inkarho labels with peat-free seal

The "peat-free suitable" seal

The introduction of the peat-free seal was a response to the growing demand for environmentally friendly garden products and the desire of many consumers to use sustainable substrates, symbolising that INKARHO rhododendrons can grow in peat-free soils.


Peat-free soil: A step towards environmental protection and sustainability

Tips for sustainable gardening

There are numerous ways to approach your garden design sustainably. For example, it is advisable to choose plants that are locally produced and highly adaptable. Instead of chemicals, natural products like oils can be used against pests. Using compost not only improves soil structure but also provides nutrients to the plants. For watering plants, it is suitable to collect rainwater.

Advantages of planting the peat-free produced INKARHO® Rhododendron

By breeding lime-tolerant rhododendrons that offer a straightforward opportunity to grow in substrates with alternative raw materials, INKARHO reduces the reliance on peat and helps protect valuable peatland landscapes. This environmentally friendly practice reduces CO₂ emissions and also promotes biodiversity by preserving moorlands as habitats for plants and animals. This sustainable practice can be continued in home gardens through the planting of INKARHO rhododendrons.

Promotion of soil health:
Peat-free soils contain organic materials such as compost and bark mulch that improve soil structure, promote water retention and increase fertility.

Preservation of peat bogs:
The use of peat-free soils supports sustainable farming methods and reduces the use of non-renewable resources such as peat.

Avoidance of habitat destruction:
Avoiding peat-based soils helps protect sensitive ecosystems such as wetlands and moors, which are important habitats for many plant and animal species.

Encouraging a circular economy:
The use of peat-free soils supports the idea of a circular economy by recycling organic waste and reducing reliance on non-renewable raw materials.

Contribution to climate protection:
The extraction of peat releases carbon into the atmosphere. Protecting peat bogs and using peat-free soils help stabilise the carbon cycle and mitigate climate change.


Promotion of soil health

Promotion of soil health

Preservation of peat bogs

Preservation of peat bogs

Habitat is protected

Habitat is protected

Encouraging the circular economy

Encouraging the circular economy

Contribution to climate protection

Contribution to climate protection