How to Use Peat Moss


Peat moss is an organic product that is naturally created from sphagnum moss. As the sphagnum decomposes it forms peat moss, which is used for many purposed in the garden. Peat moss is sterile, which makes it a suitable addition for potting mixes as it won't harbor weed seeds or disease. It also aids drainage in both potted plants and in garden beds. Using peat moss properly in your garden will improve your planting beds and soils.

Step 1

Mix 1 part peat moss with 1 part compost to making a potting mix for your seedlings and potted plants. Use purchased sterilized compost to ensure there are no weed seeds or disease organisms in the soil.

Step 2

Add a slow-release fertilizer to peat moss potting mixes for established plants. Fertilize seedlings planted in peat with a half-strength liquid fertilizer once they are two weeks old. Peat moss is low in nutrients, so adding fertilizer is important.

Step 3

Use peat moss sheets to line hanging baskets. Soak the peat moss in a bucket of warm water overnight, then mold it to the basket prior to planting.

Step 4

Work peat moss into heavy clay soil in garden beds to improve drainage. Lay 2 inches of peat moss on top the soil and till it in to a 12-inch depth with a power tiller. Peat aids soil drainage without compacting in the soil.

Step 5

Use peat moss to fill in the space between double planted containers. Place a layer of gravel on the bottom of a large, non-draining planter. Place a smaller, planted pot into the large planter. Fill in the space between between the two pots with the peat moss. The moss will help wick away the extra water that accumulates in the large planter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure you purchase the correct peat moss product for your purpose. Peat moss is sold in either bricks or in bags. Bricks or sheets have the long strands of peat moss that are good for lining baskets. Bags have peat moss suitable for soil amendments.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Bucket
  • Power tiller
  • Gravel
  • Pots


  • University of Vermont Extension: Peat Moss
  • Purdue Extension: Hanging Baskets
Keywords: using peat moss, soil amendment, gardening with peat

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.