Plants for acidic soil

Do you have acidic soil which seems impossible to get anything to grow in?

Well, before you become frustrated and try an endless amount of suggestions on how to amend your soil, why not explore plants which thrive in acidic soil?

I bet you weren’t aware there is an abundance of plants which love these growing conditions. If you have soil which is below a pH of 7, but ideally hanging out at around 5.5, you could have great ground to grow an abundance of delicious fruits, vegetables, flowers, and trees.

Here is what you can grow in your acidic soil:

Contents

1. Azaleas

Azaleas are a gorgeous flowering bush great for adding a splash of color to your landscaping. They only flower in the last part of spring or earliest part of summer.

However, when they bloom, they boast beautiful colors. When blooming is complete, they still offer nice green leaves which will add life to your yard. We have these planted in front of our home with rose bushes, and they keep our home looking great all year long.

2. Rhododendrons

If you’re looking for a plant which can be either a bush or a hedge, rhododendrons are exactly what you need. They bloom in the summer but are evergreen plants. Therefore, they’ll be a nice, lively addition to your landscape.

But if you want an acid loving plant in your yard which will also draw pollinators, this is your plant. Bees love them, and you will too!

3. Camellias

This plant is another relative of the azalea bush. It produces rose-like flowers and will only bloom in the spring.

However, these bushes don’t handle frost well. If you live in a colder climate, you should take this into consideration prior to planting.

4. Japanese Pieris

The Japanese Pieris produces huge bunches of gorgeous flowers during the spring season. It’s also an evergreen.

For these reasons, it would be a great addition. You’ll either have a lively plant adding curb appeal to your yard and garden. Or you’ll have gorgeous blooms. Either way, it’s a win for your landscaping.

5. Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas come in pink, blue, or white. The cool thing about this plant is when grown in very acidic soil, it changes the colors of the blooms.

Therefore, you could have a variety of different colored blooms on one plant. Hydrangeas aren’t finicky and can be grown in almost any soil type. They love water and are great for locations which receive a great deal of rain.

6. Daffodils

These gorgeous flowers make you want to smile with one glance at them. They have a yellow, cheerful head which pops out of the ground at the first sign of spring.

They put off a strong but delightful fragrance. Plus, growing daffodils is easy because they come from a bulb. Plant the bulb in the ground, and you’ll have daffodils for years to come.

7. Heathers

This acid loving plant is one which loves to stretch its leaves and sprawl out. For this reason, it’s a great choice to use to edge walkways and other areas.

Also, if you have weeds taking over an area in your yard with an acidic soil pH, plant Heathers. They’re great at suffocating weeds. Plus, the flowers they produce are loved by pollinators.

8. Nasturtium

These flowers come in yellow, orange, or red. They bloom constantly and are great for adding instant curb appeal to your property.

Nasturtiums are annuals, but they go to seed at the end of the growing season. When this happens, they drop a mass amount of seeds. You shouldn’t be surprised if they return on their own year after year.

9. Magnolia

When my husband and I lived in our first home after being married, we had a neighbor who planted a magnolia tree in their front flower bed. It was absolutely gorgeous. Over the years, it grew up the corner of their home and added a ton of charm.

If you have acidic soil, try planting this small tree. It will grow over the years, and this should be kept in mind when planting. Magnolia trees produce gorgeous pink or white blooms which have a unique rounded shape to them.

10. Marigolds

Marigolds are the flower of all flowers. They are bright and will easily draw your eye to them. If you’re needing to brighten up a spot in your yard or garden with acidic soil, marigolds should be your go-to.

However, as great as they are at providing color, they provide many other benefits for your garden. They are great at deterring pests and are a helpful companion plant to many other flowers, fruits, and vegetable plants.

11. Fothergillas

This is a shrub which loves acidic soil. It also produces pretty white flowers which carry a delightful scent too.

When they bloom in the spring and summer, they produce the traditional white bloom. However, in the fall, this shrub will produce blooms which are purple, red, yellow, and orange in color.

12. Holly

Holly is a magnificent plant to landscape your home year-round. It’s a beautiful green, backup singer to the gorgeous flowers you plant during the warmer months.

However, in the winter, it produces a touch of color to an otherwise drab landscape because of the gorgeous red berries it produces.

13. Gardenias

This plant is not an easy one to grow. They’re traditionally grown in the south because of their sensitivity to cooler temperatures and desire for humidity.

Because of their specific needs, they can be difficult to grow and higher-maintenance in other climates. If you aren’t afraid of a little extra work, this could be a beautiful shrub for your landscape which also produces nice blooms as well.

14. Iris

This plant is an acid loving option which is easy to care for. It’s also a perennial which makes it twice as nice since it’ll come back year after year.

These plants bloom in purple, blue, and white. They also adore wet climates which make them a great choice for those who receive a great deal of rain.

15. Begonias

Begonias were one of my grandmother’s favorite flowers. She planted them in her yard almost every year.

They’re bright, beautiful flowers which light up your landscaping. They’re easy to grow and love acidic soil.

16. Caladium

If you want a plant which produces colorful foliage instead of waiting for it to bloom, this could be a great option for you.

Caladium produces leaves which are vibrant and colorful. They have streaks of green, white, red, and pink on them. They’re great both in beds and used for edging. Plus, they add a subtle hint of color to your yard.

17. Dogwood

Dogwood trees are gorgeous and a personal favorite of mine. They produce white, pink, or red blooms during the spring.

However, they only bloom for about two weeks to a month during this time. Yet, they still add a burst of color with their green leaves during the summer and again during the fall when they produce purple leaves.

18. Beech Trees

If you don’t live on a larger property, this isn’t the tree for you. However, if you have a wide-open space which needs shade, you’ll love a beech tree.

Keep in mind, you should grow beech trees where most won’t walk. They produce lower branches which can easily trip you up. Also, plant them where you don’t plan on planting anything else. Because of the great deal of shade they produce, it can be hard to grow many varieties of plants.

19. Radishes

Do you desire to grow something in your acidic soil which will give you something tasty to eat and quickly?

Well, you should consider growing radishes. They take only 45 days and can be a great addition to your salad or to be eaten as a snack.

20. Sweet Potatoes

We recently planted our sweet potatoes. They enjoy acidic soil and are a delicious item to have around for meals.

Keep in mind, sweet potatoes will have to be cured prior to your enjoyment. Curing is what turns their starchy flavor into their sweet goodness we all love.

21. Parsley

Do you grow a herb garden? Herbs are a delicious addition to any meal, and they’re simple to grow as well.

If you have acidic soil, consider growing parsley. It loves a lower pH and can be dried for later use or added to any meal as is.

22. Peppers

There are many different varieties of peppers. If you love heat, you can grow peppers to add to your meals.

If you love milder flavors, you can grow varieties of peppers which only give you their sweet flavor. Either way, peppers are a great option to grow in acidic soil.

23. Potatoes

I’ve already mentioned sweet potatoes, but we can’t forget white varieties of potatoes either. They’re versatile for many different meals.

But they’re also a great addition to a garden which only has acidic soil to work with. If you need a vegetable to grow in these conditions, consider raising potatoes.

24. Rhubarb

Rhubarb is an interesting plant. It’s a vegetable with a sweet flavor. Because of its sweet flavor, it’s usually paired with fresh fruit in desserts.

Rhubarb is also a perennial. This is great news because you plant it once and can enjoy it for years to come. What a great way to put acidic soil to use!

25. Blueberries

When I consider growing something in acidic soil, blueberries are the first thing which comes to mind. They adore acidic soil and thrive in it.

We have a gorgeous blueberry patch on our property, and it produces well year after year. If you’re looking for a delicious way to use your acidic soil, consider planting a few blueberry bushes.

26. Cranberries

Many people scoff at the idea of growing cranberries in their acidic soil. The reality is, you don’t have to live underwater to be able to grow your own cranberries.

They aren’t the easiest plant to grow, but once you get the hang of it, you could have your own cranberries being produced from the acidic soil you thought would be your demise.

27. Currants

Currants are a delicious fruit you can grow in acidic soil. They can be used to make homemade jams when they produce each year.

If you like to have a variety of berries on your property which will grow well in your current soil pH, don’t overlook currants. They could be what you’re looking for. Not to mention, you plant them once and enjoy them for years to come.

28. Elderberries

Elderberries can be a difficult plant to locate. The reason being is they have many medicinal properties and people seek these plants out as much as they can.

If you have the opportunity to raise elderberries you should. They’re delicious and a versatile fruit as well.

29. Gooseberries

I laugh when I hear the word gooseberries. The reason being, when I was growing up, I’d hear of people making gooseberry pies on television.

Until I grew older, I didn’t realize they were a real plant. However, I’m happy to tell you gooseberries are not only real, they’re delicious. Plus, they grow well in acidic soil too.

30. Beans

There are some plants which adore acidic soil. There are also a wide variety of plants which don’t love it, but they can still thrive in it. Beans and the plants following hereafter fall into this category.

Beans are great producers and can be preserved each year to feed you or your family fresh foods even during the cold winter months.

31. Broccoli

Broccoli is another vegetable which can adjust to being grown in acidic soil. It prefers colder temperatures which makes it ideal to be planted at some point in most climates.

The only downside to broccoli is you must grow a larger quantity of it if you would like to have any to preserve for later use.

32. Cabbage

We grow our own cabbage every year. It’s delicious and simple to grow as long as you have a cool period for it to grow in.

Also, cabbage is great because in most climates it can be grown twice a year. If you’d like a vegetable to grow in your acidic soil, consider cabbage.

33. Carrots

Carrots are great vegetables to grow. They’re root vegetables and require very little fuss. It’s not surprising they can still thrive in acidic soil.

If you enjoy cooked carrots or like them raw for a snack, consider adding them to your garden. Don’t let the soil pH stop you. They’re also easy to preserve too.

34. Cucumbers

If you enjoy fresh pickles, you must plant cucumbers. Keep in mind, cucumbers are not only simple to raise, but you don’t need many plants.

They’re high producers and have numerous varieties to meet your needs. Whether you plan to enjoy them fresh or as pickles, cucumbers are a great option for acidic soil.

35. Onions

Do you enjoy cooking with onions? What about eating them raw? Before I met my husband, I had a strong aversion to onions.

However, he could eat them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After a decade of marriage, I love them too. Therefore, it’s no surprise we grow them every year. If you love onions and have acidic soil, consider growing them.

36. Squash

I love squash. I love eating it, and I love growing it. Squash is delicious sautéed, fried, or included in a casserole.

But I love growing it because I can plant only a few plants and have enough to eat, share, and preserve. Plus, they require little effort.

37. Sweet Corn

I’m a summertime girl. I can’t help it. I love the food which grows during this time period, and I love how you can raise most of it in acidic soil.

Sweet corn is no exception. It’s easy to grow and produces a delicious harvest. Not to mention, you can preserve it too. If you’d like to grow a tasty veggie in your acidic soil, go for sweet corn.

38. Tomatoes

Who doesn’t love tomatoes? If you have acidic soil, put it to use in growing delicious tomatoes. It can be eaten raw, added to a salad, put on a sandwich, turned into salsa, make homemade ketchup, and preserved in a ton of other ways too.

These are only a few of the options tomatoes present. They’re a great option to grow in your garden year after year.

39. Turnips

Turnips are a wonderful vegetable to plant in acidic soil. You get major bang for your buck. When turnips grow, they produce leafy tops and a turnip below the soil.

The leafy parts are referred to as greens and taste delicious. The turnips have a more distinct flavor, but many people love them. How many vegetables can offer two meals from one veggie?

40. Apples

Apple trees can grow well in acidic soil. What’s wonderful about them is there are tons of different varieties to choose from.

You can grow apples which produce a tart flavor or a variety which is sweeter. Apples are a healthy snack, great for baking, can be dried, or turned into applesauce.

41. Grapes

We have a vineyard on our farm. It’s gorgeous to look at it, but it tastes great too. Grapes are another fruit which can tolerate acidic soil within reason.

Keep in mind, grapes are a wonderful addition to your property. You can eat them fresh, juice them, or make your own homemade jellies.

42. Raspberries

Raspberries is a fruit which can be flexible. It grows in a variety of soil types, but can still handle slightly acidic soil.

This is a low-maintenance fruit which will return for years to come. If you like to make jams, jellies, pies, or enjoy a tart tasting fruit, this could be what you need.

43. Strawberries

Finally, you can grow strawberries in slightly acidic soil as well. They’re a great addition to any property as they produce offspring each year and will return year after year.

Also, you can decide which variety of strawberries to grow. This will determine if you keep a harvest for months or if they’ll all come in at once. If you’re a canner, you might prefer to have the fruit come in at one time. If you’d like them to graze on or bake a few pies, you might prefer to have them come in over the duration of a few months.

Well, you now have over 40 options for fruits, vegetables, trees, and flowers which can thrive in acidic soil.

The only thing left to do is decide which would be most functional for your property and get busy planting.

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10 plants for acid soils

High soil acidity is usually caused by the breakdown of organic matter, so it’s often found in woodland, due to the abundance of fallen leaves. For example, beech woodland has an average soil pH of 3.5-4.5.

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You can test the pH of of your own soil using a soil testing kit (on a scale of 1 to 14, acid is between 1 and 7). If it’s slightly acidic, you can grow a huge range of plants. But the more acidic the soil, the more limited your choice will be.

To find out how to keep ericaceous plants happy, check out our advice on how to garden on acid soil.

Related content: 10 Flowers for Clay Soil, Testing Soil pH (Video), Find Out Your Soil Type.

Browse our choice of plants that thrive on acid soil, below.

Best in acid or neutral soils, Pieris japonica is an essential spring border shrub.
1

Magnolias

All magnolias will relish growing in acidic soil. The pink chalice-shaped flowers of Magnolia x veitchii open in early spring on bare branches. Young leaves are tinged purple, turning green as they mature. Grow it in moist but well-drained, neutral to acid soil, in sun or part shade.

2

Liriope muscari

Lilyturf, Liriope muscari, is an evergreen perennial with neat, low, grassy foliage and prolific flowers shaped like elongated grape hyacinths, and in a similar blue. It tolerates dry soil, shade and acid soil.

3

Japanese anemones

Japanese anemones are incredibly versatile and grow almost anywhere, except in waterlogged soil. Flowers come in either white or shades of pink. ‘Pretty Lady Susan’ is a variety that has a compact habit.

4

Trillium erectum

Although predominantly beetroot coloured, trillium flowers can also be white, yellow or purple. Unlike many trilliums, Trillium erectum has plain green, rather than variegated leaves.

5

Ceanothus

Also known as California lilac, ceanothus is perfect for acidic soils in sunny locations. This variety makes a compact shrub with glossy, oval, dark-green leaves and blue flowers in late spring.

6

Calluna vulgaris

Also known as summer heather, Calluna vulgaris is a low-growing perennial heather that flowers from late summer to late autumn. To prolong flowering, trim off the old flower spikes.

7

Pieris japonica

Best in acid or neutral soils, Pieris japonica is an essential spring border shrub. ‘Firecrest’ is a cultivar with dark green, leathery leaves, tinged pink in spring, and drooping white flowers.

8

Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus)

A European relative of the American blueberry, the bilberry is found on heaths, moors and woodlands. Small, white, tubular flowers in spring are followed by blue-black berries in summer.

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9

Camellias

Camellias thrive in acid soil, producing an abundance of colourful flowers from late winter through to spring. The variety pictured, ‘Water Lily’, produces large, double, rose-pink blooms from April.

Gardening on alkaline soil?

If you’ve alkaline soil in your garden, don’t let that stop you from growing ericaceous (acid-loving) plants. Raised beds and containers can be filled with ericaceous compost, and kept acidic with applications of sulphur or ferrous sulphate.

Perennial Flowers that tolerate full shade and very acidic soil

Thank you for your question.
It is a long held idea that pine needles cause the soil under the pine trees to be acidic. This is not the case; it is one of those garden myths. Test have been done on the pH level of the soil under pine trees and it has been proven that the pH levels are consistent with the pH levels in the rest of the landscape. When the pine needles first drop they are just slightly more acidic but this does not last. The pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of your soil.
What usually causes the plants to die is the lack of sunlight, poor soil conditions, too much or too little water and/or the wrong type of plant.
If you have a thick layer of pine needles you may want to rake them up and either save them for mulching your new plants or get rid of them. You will want to amend the soil so that your new plants will have the best conditions to start their life in your landscape. Here is a link to a CSU fact sheet on choosing soil amendments:

Once you have amended the soil there are a number of perennials that will do well in shade. Many shade-loving plants are grown for their foliage not necessarily for their flowers.

Here is a list of plants to consider:

  • Hostas–these do not get as big as in the Mid-west but there are varieties that do well in CO.
  • Brunnera–The flower is a small purple one, but the foliage of several brunnera varieties are quite beautiful. I especially like ‘Jack Frost’.
  • Dicentra-Bleeding hearts like a shady spot and bear their hear-shaped flowers in the spring/summer. The foliage may die back and then reappear later in the summer for a second bloom. There are pink and white flowered bleeding hearts and one that has fern-like leaves.
  • Hellebores–Lenten rose can do quite well here and their flowers are very pretty; they bloom in early spring, thus their name, Lenten rose. One word of caution–these are toxic to pets/humans if consumed.
  • Ajuga is a ground cover and can spread quite quickly.
  • Lamium is another ground cover that has small flowers.
  • Japanese painted ferns have very nice foliage.

This is just a sample of what may be considered.

You can plant many perennials in the fall or wait until spring.

Here is a link to a fact sheet on garden mulches; you will find pine needles listed:

Good luck with your shade garden.

manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.) with smooth, cinnamon bark

Q: I have a garden bed to which I added lots of peat moss and gypsum to make the clay soil better. However, I never realized how acidic this would make the resulting soil. I tested it, and it’s between 5.5 and 6.0! I planted some Euryops daisies there, thinking they would be fine, but they are at death’s door. I need a definitive list of plants that are acid-loving. Although I know plants like azaleas and gardenias are, I want something less thirsty for our climate here. The bed in question is sunny with part shade. I have planted some tomatoes there, which are acid-loving, and they seem OK. Can you tell me what plants would like the acid environment and also not require tons of water, at least after the initial period?

– Barbara Mah
A: Most plants are happiest with a slightly acid pH of around 6.5, including just about everything you would grow in a vegetable garden. This is explained by the tropical origins of plants. In the tropics, the pH is acidic since the heavy rains wash away those minerals – containing calcium and magnesium – that make a soil alkaline. Compost also has a slightly acidic pH, a fact that encourages its use where soil is alkaline.
A short chemistry lesson is needed here: Soil with a pH of 7 is considered neutral; soil with a pH higher than 7 is termed basic or alkaline; a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic.
In the Valley and, for that matter, throughout California and the West, soil pH is usually in the alkaline range. This is due to our low rainfall and the presence of calcium and magnesium compounds, which often keep the pH considerably higher than 7.
Where rainfall is heavier, as in the Northwest, Northeast and Southeast parts of the U.S., pH tends to be in the acid range. In fact, you can generally tell what kind of pH a plant prefers by its habitat.
Plants from areas with a Mediterranean climate like our own – where the year is divided into a short wet season followed by a long dry one – are partial to soil with an alkaline pH. This is why your Euryops daisy – that popular shrub with yellow daisies and finely cut, sea-green foliage – could not grow in your acid soil. The Euryops daisy is native to South Africa, whose Mediterranean climate means that the soil there has a high pH and the plants originating there require alkaline soil.
I highly recommend that you grow camellias. The camellia is an acid- loving plant that is reasonably drought-tolerant. In fact, I have seen camellias in side yards that receive irrigation no more than twice a month in the hottest weather and still produce an abundance of flowers each year.
Ferns are also acid-loving and not overly demanding when it comes to water. Interestingly enough, manzanita (Arctostaphylos species) is one California native plant that is partial to acid soil. A member of the Ericaceae or heather family, manzanita is a botanical relative of azaleas and rhododendrons. Certain species of manzanita are found growing in acidic soil habitats throughout our state. Many manzanitas, especially the sub-shrub and ground-cover types, would grow well in your partial sun exposure with a minimum of water.
Other plants well-suited to acid soil and our hot and dry Valley climate are junipers and arborvitae. Thirty or 40 years ago, junipers and arborvitae were a mainstay of Valley landscapes. Gradually, flowering perennials have taken their place. Yet, the simplest and most easily maintained landscape, whether your soil is alkaline or acidic, remains the juniper landscape. There is probably no better solution for a difficult-to-landscape and -irrigate slope than tam junipers (Juniperus sabina “Tamariscifolia”).
The tam juniper, as well as related varieties such as “Broadmoor,” “Arcadia” and “Blue Danube,” are famous for growing no more than 2 feet in height while spreading out 8 feet or more. Arborvitae are those chartreuse-colored, gumdrop-shaped shrubs that are planted near entry gates and along sidewalks or driveways. Dwarf arborvitae make nice additions to any planter because of their reasonable height (of 3 feet or less) and the distinctive color of their foliage.
TIP OF THE WEEK: Speaking of acidic soil, the presence of moss in your lawn may be an indication of low soil pH. The most effective chemical remedy to mossy soil is ferrous (iron) sulfate. Ferrous sulfate can be purchased or special-ordered at your neighborhood nursery. Just be careful when applying ferrous sulfate around sidewalks or other concrete surfaces – this is a chemical compound that will produce a rusty orange stain on such surfaces.

Coffee grounds left over from freshly brewed coffee have many uses in the garden. You don’t necessarily have to be a coffee fan to use the grounds in your garden. Many coffee shops offer them for free, all packed and ready for you to pick up. This valuable waste is being generated in large quantities on a daily basis.

Here are some exciting ways to give old coffee grounds a fresh life while benefiting the health, beauty and vitality of your garden.

Image Credit: Tristan Ferne @ Flickr

Compost Coffee Grounds

Adding the coffee grounds to the compost pile with other kitchen and garden waste is the simplest way to use them. Despite its brown color, coffee grounds constitute green waste similar to grass cuttings and weeds from your garden. In a compost heap you need two kinds of materials, often referred to as green and brown.

The greens add moisture, nitrogen and other nutrients to the compost pile, while the browns such as dry leaves, sawdust, waste paper, and straw provide carbon. They also keep away foul smells by aerating the mixture and adding dry mass to mop up the extra moisture. Ideally, you should maintain a 50-50 balance between greens and browns in the compost dump.

Even after the coffee liquid is filtered away, the grounds still contain many proteins, fatty acids and carbohydrates which will provide nutrients to the microorganisms that turn your organic waste into compost. It has been found that adding the grounds to the compost pile increases microbial activity, which raises its internal temperature. This in turn helps kill many pathogenic bacteria and fungi as well as the seeds of weeds that get into the pile from your garden waste.

One worry about adding coffee grounds to the compost pile in large quantities is that it may make the compost too acidic. You can remedy it by sprinkling some lime or wood ash over a layer of grounds and turning it well. If you’re using a wood-burning stove or fireplace, you know very well how ash dust rises and spills into the room when you try to clean out the grate. If you sprinkle the damp grounds over the ashes before removing them, it will keep the dust down and you will get a mixture ready for composting. Nevertheless, limit coffee grounds to 10% of your compost pile by volume.

If you have a regular supply of coffee grounds in large quantities, composting alone may not work out unless you have a large amount of yard waste to go with it. There are a number of other ways you can use this organic waste in the garden to your advantage.

Recommended Reading: Composting 101: How To Create Compost That Works Like Rocket Fuel For Your Garden

Use Coffee Grounds To Improve The Texture Of Your Soil

If you add coffee grounds to the soil in a thick layer, they will be compacted into a crust and be nearly impermeable to water. But if it is incorporated into the soil, they greatly improve both the texture as well as the organic content. Being slightly acidic, coffee grounds lower the pH of the soil. They are very slow to break down, releasing nitrogen and other nutrients to the plants over an extended period of time, while keeping the soil loose and aerated. This is particularly beneficial for clayey soils which are usually alkaline and heavy.

Most gardeners in the Midwest and the Western United States would greatly benefit from adding coffee grounds to their garden soil. All you have to do is spread an inch of coffee grounds in a part of the garden and work it into the soil with a rake. After you have covered a large area over several days or weeks, it’s a good idea to till it deep into the soil with a rototiller.

It is good to add coffee grounds to sandy soil too. If you are worried about increasing the acidity of your already acidic soil, try adding some to a small area. Test the soil after a few weeks. You may even be surprised by the result because not all coffee grounds are equally acidic. Laboratory tests of coffee grounds have produced mixed results ranging from moderately acidic to mildly alkaline.

Tap water is generally alkaline, so if your garden is watered by it, there’s every chance that any acidity resulting from the addition of coffee grounds will be neutralized. The soil organisms also play a part in this drama, so unless you try it, you’ll never know how coffee grounds work in your garden. Moreover, you can always amend acidity by adding wood ash or dolomite to the soil.

Feed Coffee Grounds To The Worms

Coffee grounds have many nutrients that make them attractive to the earthworms in your garden as well as the red wigglers and nightcrawlers in your worm bin. It has been observed that earthworms carry the coffee grounds particles deep into the soil. Worm bin populations also increase when they are regularly fed with grounds. In fact, the worms are attracted to a spot if there are coffee grounds present. It is thought that they are either attracted by the smell or addicted to the taste.

You can directly add the dry grounds to your vermicomposting bin after dampening it slightly, or just dump your disposable coffee filters in along with the residue. The worms eat shredded paper, so they consider the paper filters a treat. Some people find that soaking the papers and cardboard with weak coffee make them more delectable to the worms. You can extract this tea-colored liquid from the grounds by adding warm water to them.

Most vermicomposters bury small quantities of kitchen waste in different spots in the bin to avoid a strong aroma and flies, but you shouldn’t do that with the grounds. They have a tendency to clump together. Either mix it into the kitchen waste or spread it evenly on the surface and incorporate with a fork. The grounds not only provide nutrition, but add grit to the worms’ diet. They help with digestion and movement of food through their long digestive tract.

It is possible for worms to overdose on coffee grounds, so watch out for odd smells like ammonia and vinegar. The high nitrogen content of the grounds may be responsible for the ammonia smell. So balance it with carbon-rich materials like shredded paper or straw. The smell of vinegar indicates increase in acidity. Add ground eggshells to bring it down. Worms do well in a medium that has its pH level between 6 and 8.

Use Coffee Grounds To Make Your Acid Loving Plants Happy

Long before soil pH and other finer aspects of gardening became known, coffee grounds were used to fertilize roses. Now we know that coffee grounds make the soil acidic, and that roses love acidic soil.

Although the acidity of the grounds decreases with time, a constant supply ensures happy conditions for a group of plants referred to as ‘ericaceous’ because they are acid-loving plants. Heath and heathers growing in the acidic soils around bogs are typical examples. Blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons always prefer extra acidity.

Use Coffee Grounds As A General Fertilizer

It is not just ericaceous plants that would benefit from an occasional dose of coffee fertilizer. Coffee grounds release a good amount of nitrogen as they decompose. This is one of the three macro nutrients every plant needs for healthy growth, the other two being potassium and phosphorous. Leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbages do well with extra amounts of nitrogen.

Coffee grounds have a good amount of potassium too, but the phosphorous in this material is not in a readily available form. Now we know why crushed egg shells were mixed with the coffee grounds that gardeners of old used to spread at the bases of roses. The calcium and phosphorous in the eggshells can combine with the nitrogen in the coffee grounds to form a complete N-P-K fertilizer.

Magnesium and copper are other plant nutrients found in the grounds in sufficient amounts. They also contain manganese, calcium, zinc, and iron in small amounts, but they are not readily available, except for magnesium.

You will get better harvest of carrots if you use coffee grounds while sowing carrot seeds. Mixing the seeds with grounds not only makes the sowing easy, but keeps the seedlings safe from many pests and diseases, including root maggots. Root vegetables do best in well aerated soil that allows good root run, but organic materials like manure are an invitation to root maggot flies to lay eggs in them. Coffee grounds, on the other hand, repel the flies while keeping the soil loose. Being completely organic, they are a safe alternative to applying pesticides in the soil in which the root crops are growing.

The seeds of sugar beets exhibit better germination in soils that contain coffee grounds, but the opposite is true for several other plants such as alfalfa and clovers. Also, don’t use coffee grounds, or compost containing them, in the vegetable beds where you grow mustard greens, Japanese mustard (komatsuna) or asparagus. Geraniums also seem to hate coffee grounds. Coffee liquid has been found to have negative effects on the germination of many seeds, including that of weeds, but it is not really known why.

Recommended Reading: 10 Tips & Recipes For The World’s Best Organic Fertilizer

Keep Your Plants Safe From Pathogenic Microbes

Coffee grounds seem to work against soil pathogens including many fungi such as Pythium sp. and Fusarium sp. that cause several diseases in vegetable crops. The exact anti-bacterial mechanism of the grounds is not clear, but it is thought that the non-pathogenic bacteria and fungi that thrive in the decomposing grounds may be responsible.

The coffee brewing process does not strip off all the nutrition from the coffee grounds. Several lipids, proteins and hard to digest carbohydrates like cellulose are left behind. These nutrients offer sustenance to many different types of microbes. Being fine in texture, it also makes a large surface area available to microbial action. The microbes that colonize the grounds are thought to suppress the growth and proliferation of harmful organisms.

Spinach, cucumbers, beans and tomatoes are some of the vegetables that seem to benefit from the anti-microbial activity of coffee grounds. They are prone to many rust and mildew diseases, especially when they are in the seedling stage. Compost containing just 5% coffee grounds can provide this protective effect.

Make A Foliar Spray From The Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds from most sources have plenty of coffee power left. If you soak the grounds in water overnight and filter out the tea-colored liquid, you will have a completely organic foliar spray that packs in some antimicrobial power along with nutrients for your garden plants. It is found to repel insects and caterpillars. The lingering coffee smell or flavor could be making the leaves less appealing to the critters.

If you have a compost bin or worm bin, you can fortify the coffee liquid with compost tea for extra punch.

Use Coffee Grounds To Protect Your Plants From Slugs & Snails

Spreading dry coffee grounds around plants may deter soft bellied pests like slugs and snails. The particles may not be as sharp as that of diatomaceous earth, but they can still be quite irritating. Repeated application may be necessary as the grounds break down in the soil.

Use Coffee Grounds As Mulch

If you have plenty of coffee grounds, they can be used as mulch around your plants, but never alone. They tend to get compacted because of their small particle size. If applied in a thick layer, it might become an impediment to drainage and air circulation. It is best to mix the grounds with other organic or inorganic mulches that have larger particulate size.

Try Changing The Flower Color Of Hydrangeas With Coffee Grounds

A fun way to use coffee grounds in the flower garden is to experiment with the color of hydrangea flowers. It is common knowledge that sweet (alkaline) soil produces pink hydrangea flowers, while a bit of extra acidity gives you blue flowers. If your plants happen to have pink flowers, feed them coffee grounds and check whether they show inclination for a color change.

As we mentioned earlier, the acidity of coffee grounds is variable, so you might end up with flowers in a range of colors that fall between pink and blue on the same plant. Remember that it is not the pH of the soil alone that controls flower color, but the ability of the plant to absorb aluminum salts from the soil which is enhanced by soil acidity. So if your soil is deficient in aluminum, you may want to add some aluminum sulfate for blue flowers.

When you use coffee grounds in your garden, whether it is from your own use or from the coffee shops, you are turning this organic waste into plant food that your garden will love!

Growing Geraniums

Geraniums often take a back seat to many of the other species of spring bedding plants. In the last twenty five years many hybrid seed geraniums have been introduced for the commercial market. Propagators and growers are reacting to changing consumer purchase patterns by offering a wide selection of geranium flower and foliage colors. Producing quality geraniums does not happen without attention to detail. The following information will explain a few of the common problems that occur in growing geraniums.

Growing Medium

In selecting a growing medium, physical and chemical properties of the soil are important. Growers often ignored these factors when using soilless mixes. Mineral soils and soilless mixes share many chemical and physical properties. In both cases these soils can be engineered and made desirable for geranium production. The fact remains, soilless mixes offer more flexibility and give the grower a greater margin of error in controlling both the physical and chemical properties of the medium. A very important physical property of the growing media — porosity — influences gas exchange and water availability. Good porosity eases water management and increases the flexibility needed to control moisture levels while extending the schedule of fertilizer applications.

If the roots are to develop and take up water and nutrients, they must take in oxygen while giving off carbon dioxide and respiration products. These gases must diffuse in and out of the soil. Gas diffusion is much faster through air than through water. For greater air-filled pore space, coarse particles must be present in the soil. Porosity is influenced by the growth medium’s particle size and distribution.

In general, soilless mixes have proven excellent for growing geraniums. Before switching to a new mix, you should experiment on a small scale before making a complete change. Different mixes do require different management. It takes most people some time to learn how to handle watering the different soilless mixes. The light weight and rapid drying of some soilless mixes can be a problem with geraniums and depends on growing conditions in the greenhouse.

Fertilization

To maximize growth, the fertilization of geraniums during production is extremely important, and an understanding of complete nutrient management is essential if fertilizer problems are to be avoided.

Many growers use a constant fertilization with a water soluble fertilizer. Although this is an excellent fertilization method, it is very important that adequate water be applied so that a sufficient amount of water drains or drips through the medium at each watering. A buildup of fertilizer salts will occur in the medium when watering is not thorough. In many instances the total fertilizer content (soluble salts) of the medium will become so high that plant growth will be severely checked.

The recommendation for constant feed fertilizing of geraniums is generally 200 to 250 ppm of nitrogen. Experience suggests nutrient problems are minimized when a constant fertilizer program is used.

Fertilizer rates and strategy: 200-250 ppm N constant liquid feed or 150-200 ppm N with subirrigation or another restricted leaching system. Begin fertilizing at planting. Monitor salts and pH. Remove saucers from ivy geranium baskets to allow adequate drainage.

Common nutrient problems:

  1. All geranium types are intolerant of high soluble salts.
  2. Zonals and “floribundas” are susceptible to iron (Fe)/manganese (Mn) toxicity. The higher pH range for zonals and floribundas reduces the availability of excess Fe and Mn.
  3. Ivies often show interveinal chlorosis due to Fe or magnesium (Mg) deficiency. Mg occurs on the lower leaves first; Fe deficiency generally occurs on the youngest leaves first.
  4. Boron (B) deficiency was a major problem for zonal geraniums in the past, but it seems to be rare today. Upper leaves become chlorotic and show necrotic lesions on the undersides. The leaves easily fall off with slight pressure. Probably the common practice of using water-soluble fertilizers containing trace elements has greatly reduced the occurrence of this problem.

Oedema (or edema) on Ivy Geraniums

Some cultivars of ivy geraniums are susceptible to a physiological condition called oedema (or edema). Symptoms appear as bumps or blisters initially on the undersides of lower or older leaves on a plant. They may then turn brownish or tan and become corky. Severely affected leaves will often turn yellow and fall off the plant. Up until recently, oedema has been thought to be caused by too much water, high humidity and/or poor drainage. Low N, P, Mg, and Fe; pH above 6; and/or high EC was also linked to the problem as well. Recent research indicates that selecting ivy geranium cultivars that are resistant to oedema offers the best option at this time for growers to manage it.

pH

Optimal pH ranges: zonals – 5.8-6.5, ivies – 5.3-6.0, “floribundas” 6.2-6.5.

The pH scale indicates acid and basic values in the growing medium. The pH level of 7, midpoint in the scale from 0-14, is neutral and the values below this point are acidic and those above are basic. Geraniums are influenced by the growing medium’s pH. It is believed that many hybrid geraniums will not flower well at a pH below 5.5. At a pH below 5.8, zonals and floribunda geraniums are susceptible to iron and manganese toxicity which exhibits as brown spots beginning along the edges of the leaves.

Temperature

The effect of temperature on the growth and development of geraniums can be dramatic. Temperature influences the rate of photosynthesis and respiration, processes of floral initiation and development, the length of time to maturity, final plant quality, and ultimate post production life. While geraniums can be produced over a wide range of temperatures (45 to 80 degrees F), they respond best when treated as a warm temperature crop. For the production of geraniums using the “Fast Cropping” technique, night temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F and day temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees F are best for optimum plant growth. When the temperature is lowered below 60 degrees F, growth begins to slow. At a night temperature of 55 degrees F growth is slow and plants will flower later. At 50 degrees F, growth almost stops and maturity can be delayed substantially. If plants are exposed to temperatures of 50 degrees F or lower for more than 12 hours, they will often develop reddish color in the older leaves. Mean daily temperatures above 80 degrees F or day temperatures exceeding 85 degrees F for 12 hours or more can cause a loss of chlorophyll (heat stress) in the youngest leaves and cause a sharp decrease in plant growth and development. There is considerable variation in the response of geranium cultivars to low and high temperatures. While some cultivars may exhibit heat or low temperature stress, other cultivars grown under the same conditions in the same greenhouse may show no signs of stress.

Irrigation

Watering greenhouse floriculture crops remains the most difficult task to perfect. Many factors such as type of crop, pot size, temperature, soil mix, bench design, and type of heat can effect watering practices.

The decision relating to when to water is still an “art” rather than a “science”. Surprisingly, there is little information on plant water needs. The last few years, researchers have been studying the water needs of annuals and perennials. Criteria such as touching or looking at the medium (when the medium surface lightens in color) or foliage color (shiny – no need to water; dull – need to water) or when the pots feel light in weight have been used for years. Unfortunately, most floriculture crops are watered when the grower notices the leaves are wilting. When the leaves of a plant wilt, the plant has already undergone a water stress which results in a decrease of the growth rate. This is especially true with geraniums which are slow to wilt, even when the plants are under a water stress. Subjecting geraniums to water stress is sometimes used as a growth regulator. However, it is not generally recommended to regulate geranium growth in this way. Additionally, allowing a soilless mix to dry out makes it difficult to rewet unless a wetting agent is added to the medium or irrigation water. Every time a medium is irrigated it is recommended that a sufficient amount of water be applied to avoid water stress, allow adequate moisture for plant growth.

Traditionally the recommendation has been to water until about 10-15% of the volume applied drains from the pot to avoid excess soluble salts. In today’s terminology this is described as a 0.1-0.15 “leaching fraction” (LF). Most growers probably greatly exceed this LF; probably LFs of 0.4-0.6 are more common. For best management practices, the goal is to achieve a LF of zero, but for many getting the LF down to the recommended range of 0.1-0.15 would be a big step in reducing greenhouse runoff. The best way to limit excessive leaching is by the use of a carefully-controlled spaghetti-tube irrigation system with drip emitters. Irrigation solution should be applied slowly and in small volumes for the best results. Also, researchers have found that “pulse irrigation” – brief periods of fertigation – is best for efficient application of water and nutrients.

Achieving 0 LF with a hose is probably impossible, but reducing LF is possible if the waterer takes the time to observe how much water is applied or how much time passes before leaching begins as each pot is watered.

It is important to remember that any significant reduction in LF should be accompanied by a reduction in fertilizer rate (ppm) and/or frequency of application. If LF is reduced or there is no leaching, more fertilizer will stay in the pot and soluble salts could increase to a harmful level. Therefore, fertilizer rate should be cut at least 25%. Also it is very important that soluble salts be monitored more frequently when leaching is stopped or cut back.

The best time to water is in the morning when the temperature is increasing so that foliage dries as quickly as possible. Many growers use an automated watering system, such as spahetti-tube irrigation or subirrigation such as ebb-and-flow, when plants are placed at final spacing.

Increased Branching of Flowering Plants

Some cultivars are not as free-branching as others, so they will not produce as many flowers stalks. The use of ethephon (Florel) to increase branching is a common practice. Florel applied at a rate of 350 to 500 ppm, 4 to 6 weeks prior to sale, is recommended. When Florel is applied late in the production cycle, flower buds will continue to abort after the plants are sold. Note: treated plants will have smaller leaves, and internodes will be shorter.

Scheduling

Production schedules will vary depending on the desired finish size of geranium and sale date. Geraniums were historically sold for Memorial day in 4-inch pots. Today, depending on weather and geographic region, sales may begin in early May and continue through June. Although 4 to 4.5 inch size is popular, pot sizes may range from 3-inch to 6.5-inch or larger. There are several decisions to make when considering scheduling. Will you grow stock plants for cuttings and propagate plants? Will you purchase unrooted cutting? Will you purchase calloused cuttings? Will you purchase rooted cuttings? Below are sample schedule guidelines or contact your supplier.

Schedules for two different flowering dates for 4 to 4.5 inch pots, pinched, using rooted cuttings

Feb. 18 March 18 Plant rooted cutting
March 11 April 8 Pinch cutting allowing three nodes to remain if roots are at sides and bottom of pot.
April 1 April 22 Cycocel spray (1,500 ppm) when axillary shoots are 1.5 to 2 inches long
April 15 May 6 Cycocel spray (1,500 ppm) two weeks after the first application
May 1 May 15 Flower
Schedules for two different flowering dates for 4 to 4.5 inch pots, non-pinched using rooted cuttings
March 4 March 25 Plant rooted cutting
March 18 April 8 Cycocel spray (1,500 ppm) or Florel (500 ppm) spray if new growth is 1.5 to 2 inches long
April 1 April 22 Cycocel spray (1,500 ppm) two week after the first application
April 15 May 6 Cycocel spray (1,500 ppm) two weeks after the second application (if required)
May 1 May 15 Flower

Note: Cycocel may cause some foliar yellowing on younger leaves. Plants usually recover in a few weeks.
Photo: Cycocel injury on seed geraniums.

Geraniums IV, John White, Ball Publishing, 1993.

Tips On Growing Zonal Geraniums, Ohio Cooperative Extension Service, The Ohio State University, 1988.

Links to Further Resources on the Web

  • Oedema and Intumescences – University of Massachusetts Greenhouse Crops and Floriculture Program
  • Example of seed geranium production – Maverick Mix Geranium culture sheet (Ball Seed)
  • Disease control for Geranium (Pelargonium spp.) Statewide Integrated IPM Project, University of California

Acidic Soil Flowers And Plants – What Plants Grow In Acidic Soils

Acid loving plants prefer a soil pH of about 5.5. This lower pH enables these plants to absorb the nutrients they need to flourish and grow. The list of what type of plants grow in acidic soil is extensive. The following suggestions are only a few of the most popular plants that need acid soil. Generally, the eastern half of the United States and the Pacific Northwest are best for plants that need acid soil.

Before asking what types of plants grow in acid soil, check your soil pH. A neutral soil can be treated with acid producing materials to lower the pH enough to satisfy acidic soil flowers. If you live in an

area where soil is alkaline, it will probably be easier to grow your acid loving plants in containers or raised beds.

Acid Loving Plants – Shrubs

Popular acid loving plants include:

  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Fothergillas
  • Holly
  • Gardenias

Shrub plants that need acid soil will benefit from a mulch of pine needles, peat moss, or shredded bark that will organically help keep the soil pH low.

Plants for Acidic Soil – Flowers

The ground covers wintergreen and pachysandra and all types of ferns grow well in acidic soil. Acidic soil flowers include:

  • Japanese iris
  • Trillium
  • Begonia
  • Caladium

These acidic soil flowers grow best at a lower pH.

What Plants Grow in Acid Soil – Trees

Almost all evergreens are plants that need acid soil. Some acid loving trees are:

  • Dogwood
  • Beech
  • Pin oak
  • Willow oaks
  • Magnolia

No list of what type of plants grow in acid soil would be complete without the hydrangea. Bright blue flower heads cover the plant when the soil is acidic.

While most acid loving plants become chlorotic (yellow-green leaves) without a low enough pH, the hydrangea’s flowers bloom pink with no visible discoloration in the leaves, making it a good indicator of the pH in your garden soil.

Most vegetables like soils with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. But your soil may be more alkaline. Alkaline soils have a pH of 7.0 or higher. What can you grow in alkaline soils? Below is a list:
Vegetables for Alkaline Soils

What is pH?
“Soil pH is the measure of the acidity (sourness) or alkalinity (sweetness) of a soil.” (University of Vermont Extension) Soil pH measures on a numerical scale that goes from 0.0 to 14.0. A soil pH of 0.0 is the most acidic while 14.0 being most alkaline. A soil pH of 7.0 is neutral.
How pH Works and What it Tells You
Soil pH measures how much hydrogen relative to how much calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and aluminum are in the soil. (Garden Rant) When there is more hydrogen the soil is acidic (lower pH). Whereas the more of the other nutrients the more alkaline (higher pH) the soil will measure.
Soil pH influences plant growth through several factors. Those factors include soil bacteria, nutrient leaching, nutrient availability, toxic elements, and soil structure. These factors have equal importance. Yet, many gardeners tend to focus on nutrient availability.
A soil pH in the right zone for a plant will make nutrients available to that plant. If there are nutrients, but the pH is too high or low, the plant will not be able to absorb the nutrients. Or, it could mean that there are not enough nutrients like those mentioned above in the soil.

Testing Your Soil pH
Due to the factors that influence pH and the needs of your plants, it is best to have a lab quality soil test. A lab quality soil test will tell you what nutrients you have in your soil including the pH. This method is ideal. There are also simple pH meters available at most garden centers.
Changing the pH of Your Soil
Soil chemistry and biology is both simple and complex. Thus, changing the pH can be simple or complex. If your soil is too acidic, a common way to raise the pH is by adding lime. Lime is short for limestone. But there are different kinds of lime. If it is too alkaline, one common method is by applying sulfur. But there are also different kinds of sulfur. To know how much to add, and of what kinds of lime or sulfur, you need to test the pH of your soil. Adding too much can cause imbalances. A basic rule to follow is to start by adding a little and retesting year to year.
A soil test, which measures more than pH, is the best way to determine what your soil needs.
Sources
The Old Farmers Almanac
University of Vermont Extension

75 Acid Loving Plants

75 Acid Loving Plants

If you have acidic soil, you need plants that flourish within an acid soil environment. Flowers, vegetables, shrubs, and trees all have specific soil needs; these 75 acid loving plants are great choices for your gardening and landscaping needs.

So why is a soil considered an acidic? Well, it is defined by pH. What exactly is soil pH?

• The pH soil scale ranges from 0 to 14.
• A pH of 7 is neutral, which is neither acid nor alkaline.
• A pH below 7 is acid.
• A pH above 7 is alkaline.

A pH of 5.5 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 6.5. A pH of 8.5 is 10 times more alkaline than a pH of 7.5. A soil test will determine pH.

You can test your soil’s pH with through your local County Cooperative Extension Office (in New York State there is a Cornell Cooperative Extension in every county), or using a store bought soil tester or kit. You should test your soil before beginning any new landscape or vegetable growing project.

Here are some of the best soil ph tester kits you can buy online (I went with the reviews):

• Soilster

• MoonCity
• Luster Leaf (This is Home Depot, so you can get it in-store too)

From the USDA:

Soil testing of the garden site is essential. Soil tests provide valuable information about fertility and pH and provide the basis for fertilizer and liming recommendations. Plan on soil testing the season before the garden is planted, preferably before the ground freezes. This allows for planning of fall applications of nutrients and lime to prepare the garden site for spring planting. Another benefit of fall testing is that fertilizer prices are more likely to be discounted during that season.

Many plants do well in acidic, slightly acidic, neutral, near neutral soils, alkaline soils; in other words, they will grow fairly well in some to all ranges as long as they are not extreme. Some plants prefer a highly acidic soil. To make a soil more acidic, sphagnum peat, elemental sulfur, aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate, acidifying nitrogen, and organic mulches can be used.

Some plants prefer a highly alkaline soil. Liming will raise the pH of acid soils. You can improve soil conditions by adding well-rotted manure (not fresh manure) and compost.

Below is a list of acid-loving plants you can grow in acidic soil. I also grow several types of acid loving plants together when they need to be acidic soil. It is also easy to feed plants when they are all happy to get the same type of plant food. I use Holly Plant Food

to feed my acid loving plants.

All of these plants listed below have some acid soil level requirements. Some love acidic soil more than others – they range from liking slightly acidic soil to loving very acidic soil. Be careful with very acidic soil if your plants do not need a high acid soil to grow, as highly acidic soil can inhibit the numbers of flowers and fruits in some plants. Make sure you read up on the exact soil requirements for the fruit, vegetable, flower, tree or shrub you are planting so you know the exact type of soil your investment (because make no mistake about it, landscape and gardens are investments) will thrive in!

75 Acid Loving Plants List:

• Amaryllis
• Andromeda
• Aronia
• Arugula
• Aster
• Astilbe
• Azalea
• Basil
• Bayberry

• Blackberries
• Bleeding Heart
• Blueberry
• Broccoli
• Catnip
• Camellia
• Cauliflower
• Celery
• Chicory
• Clethra
• Cleyera
• Cranberry
• Dogwood
• Eggplant
• Evergreen
• Fern
• Fir
• Fothergilla
• Gardenia
• Garlic
• Gourds
• Heath

• Heather
• Hemlock
• Hibiscus
• Holly
• Hosta (Plantation Lily)
• Huckleberry
• Hydrangea
• Inkberry
• Ixora
• Japanese Silver Grass
• Juniper
• Leeks
• Leucothoe
• Lingonberries
• Lily-of-the-Valley
• Lupine
• Magnolia
• Mahonia
• Molinia Arundinacea
• Molinia Caerulea
• Mountain Ash
• Mountain Laurel
• Oak
• Pachysandra

• Parsley
• Pawpaw
• Peanuts
• Phlox
• Pieris
• Pine
• Potatoes
• Pumpkin
• Raspberry
• Rhododendron
• Rhubarb
• Shallots
• Spinach
• Spruce
• Squash
• Strawberry
• Sweet Potatoes
• Weeping Nutka Grass
• White Cedar
• White Sage
• White Mugwort
• Witch Hazel
• Woodsorel

More reading:

• 10 Common Household Items to Use as Garden Fertilizers
• How to Harvest and Dry Basil
• How to Grow Eggpant
• How to Plant and Harvest Potatoes
• How to Grow Strawberries

Sources:
• Bluestem
• Gardens Alive
• Iowa State
• Penn State
USDA

Do you have a favorite acid loving plant?

• Disclosure: the links in this post may be affiliate links.

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How to Feed Low Soil pH, Acid-Loving Plants

Keeping Acid Lovers On Track

Fertilizers designed for plants that thrive in acidic soil help circumvent high-pH problems. These plant foods encourage acidic soil and provide added iron and other micronutrients through specialized formulas. Lilly Miller UltraGreen Azalea, Camellia & Rhododendron Food 10-5-4 fertilizer combines natural ingredients with traditional plant food in a blend that acts fast and then slowly releases nutrients for up to three months. Lilly Miller Rhododendron, Evergreen & Azalea Food 10-5-4, with cottonseed meal and other natural ingredients, feeds acid-loving plants for up to six weeks.

If a nutrient deficiency strikes, a soil test and corrections are in order, but plants need immediate help. Products such as Ironite Plus Plant Food 12-10-10 tackle iron chlorosis with iron, sulfur and extra minerals in a fast-acting form. Ready-to-spray solutions, such as Ironite Liquid Lawn & Garden Spray 7-0-1, deliver iron and other nutrients straight to needy leaves. For magnesium deficiency, often seen in blueberries, magnesium sulfate products, such as Pennington Epsom Salt, deliver the needed magnesium.

Acid-loving plants aren’t picky; they just have special needs. Keep them strong and healthy with a good foundation, proper soil pH and the Pennington line of fertilizers and soil supplements, and they’ll reward you with beautiful flowers, chlorosis-free leaves and delectable fruit.

Pennington is a registered trademark of Pennington Seed, Inc. Ironite, Lilly Miller and Ultragreen are registered trademarks of Central Garden & Pet Company.

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