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How to Use Peat Moss

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Things You Will Need

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


  • Coconut coir, a fibrous material that comes from the husks of coconuts, is an inexpensive alternative to peat moss.
  • Small seedling pots made of peat are available. These can be planted in the garden with little trauma to seedling roots. Peat pots are completely biodegradable, so they slowly blend into the garden soil after planting.


  • 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.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.