Can You Grow Plants in Compost Only?

Many people think that to grow plants, you need to use soil. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Compost can be a great alternative for growing plants – and it has a lot of benefits.

While it is possible to grow plants using only compost, it is important to ensure that it is of high quality and contains a balanced mix of nutrients to support plant growth.

Additionally, it may be necessary to supplement the compost with additional nutrients to support the specific needs of the plants being grown.

What Is Compost?

Compost is a type of organic matter that has decomposed and can be used as a soil amendment to improve the soil structure and provide essential nutrients for plant growth.

Compost is a mix of decaying organic matter, such as leaves and other plant material, used to improve the soil.

It can be made from various organic materials, including kitchen scraps, yard waste, and animal manure. When added to the soil, compost helps to improve its ability to retain moisture and nutrients, which can help to promote healthy plant growth.

What Are the Benefits of Using Compost?

Compost is an excellent source of nutrients for plants. It helps improve drainage in the soil and prevents compaction. Compost also helps to regulate moisture levels in the soil, making it an ideal growing medium for plants.

Compost encourages the growth of healthier plants

The most well-known benefit of compost is that it helps plants grow strong and healthy. It encourages disease, pests, and weeds, regulates soil density, adds and keeps nutrients, and has a lot of additional advantages for plant growth.

These advantages, along with others, make it more likely that adding compost will result in stronger plant growth.

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Equilibrates Soil Density

Compost balances soil density, thereby promoting plant growth. Compost aids in liquifying too-tight soils; conversely, too-loose compost aids in clumping the soil together.

This equilibrium enables plants to grow stronger roots into the earth, which promotes better growth.

Improves the Soil

Compost also increases the soil’s capacity to hold nutrients while supplying the soil with essential nutrients. Raising the cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the soil enhances nutrient retention and then provides the plants with the nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium they require.

Nutrient transfer off-site is minimized because, in general, nutrients in compost are in an ‘organic’ state. And are thus released gradually as the compost decomposes.

pH balance

Soil pH is balanced using compost. On a logarithmic scale, pH represents the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. If the pH is 7, it’s neutral. The pH of most composts ranges from 6 to 8.

A particular pH range is necessary for each distinct plant species. At particular pH ranges, different soil nutrients are more accessible to plants.

Suppresses Disease and Pests

Besides reducing disease incidents, compost gives plants increased resilience to insects and pests.

Since plants are more susceptible to pests when nutrient levels are out of balance, compost helps vegetation resist pests by balancing nutrient levels.

Due to the higher temperatures needed for feedstocks to break down into compost, pathogens typically do poorly in compost.

Eliminates Some Weeds

Compost can deter some weed species, which will help the plants to flourish. This is due to two factors; first, the high temperatures produced during the composting process render many weed seeds harmless.

Second, weeds frequently flourish in habitats with unbalanced nutrient levels, which compost corrects.

For instance, giant ragweed thrives on low-potassium soils. Compost balances the nutrients in the soil, making the environment less favorable for weed growth.

How to Create a Compost Pile

Compost can be created at home using certain basic kitchen leftovers, here is how you can do it in an instant:

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What you need:

A container with a cover and a few air holes punched into it

Step 1: Place some dry leaves or grass clippings on top of your scraps in the container. Eggshells, coffee grinds, and other organic materials can also be included.

Step 2: Add water until the contents are moist but not soggy when the container is about two-thirds full.

You should have rich compost to add to your houseplants in a few weeks to a couple of months if you stir things around once every other week or so.

Best Plants to Grow in Compost Only

When it comes to compost, there are a few key ingredients to ensure your plants will thrive.

The most important element in compost is carbon, which helps the microorganisms that break down organic matter to do their job.

Carbon is found in dead leaves, wood chips, and paper. Nitrogen is also important for compost, as it helps the microbes that convert organic matter into plant food. Nitrogen is found in green leaves, coffee grounds, and manure.

The last important element for compost is water. Water helps the microbes in the compost break down the organic matter into plant food. Too much water will drown the microbes, and too little water will make it difficult for them to do their job.

The best way to add water to your compost is to add it gradually so that the compost can absorb it. You can grow various plants in compost, but some plants are better suited for this growth than others.

Here Is a Few of the Best Plants to Grow in Compost Only:

  • Tomatoes –Tomatoes are a popular choice for growing in compost because they are relatively easy to care for and can produce a large harvest. They require rich, well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight to thrive.
  • Lettuce –Lettuce is another easy-to-grow option for compost-based gardens. It is a cool-season vegetable that prefers moist, well-draining soil.
  • Radishes –Radishes are fast-growing root vegetables that can be successfully grown in compost. They prefer loose, well-draining soil that can be harvested within a few weeks of planting.
  • Carrots –Carrots are another root vegetable that can be grown in compost. They prefer deep, loose soil and will benefit from regular watering and feeding to produce a healthy crop.
  • Peas –Peas are cool-season legumes that can be grown in compost. They prefer well-draining soil and will benefit from regular watering and feeding to produce a healthy crop.
  • Herbs –Many herbs, including parsley, mint, and chives, can be grown in compost. They prefer well-draining soil and will benefit from regular watering and feeding to produce flavorful leaves.
  • Strawberries –Strawberries are a popular choice for compost-based gardens because they are relatively easy to grow and produce a tasty harvest. They prefer well-draining soil and will benefit from regular watering and feeding to produce a healthy crop.
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How to Care for Plants Grown in Compost Only

If you’re looking to cut down on your watering and fertilizing efforts, growing plants in compost only is a great option. Here are a few tips on how to care for plants grown in compost only:

  • When watering, water deeply and slowly so that the compost can absorb the water.
  • Fertilize sparingly, if at all. Too much fertilizer can burn the roots of your plants.
  • Pay attention to drainage. If your plants sit in soggy compost, they will suffocate and die. Add more compost or sand to improve drainage, if needed.


Compost is the way to go if you’re looking to grow healthy plants without using any chemical fertilizers. You can make your own compost home or purchase it from a garden center.

Just be sure to use high-quality compost that is rich in nutrients. While it is important to ensure that the compost is of high quality and contains a balanced mix of nutrients, it is possible to grow a range of plants, including tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, and herbs, using compost alone.

Proper care and attention make it possible to create a successful and sustainable compost-based garden.



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