Did you know that some plants prefer acidic or “sour “soil and other love ‘’sweet” or alkaline soils? In this article we will be focusing on acid loving plants and explain the difference between acid and alkaline soils.
First let me explain what acidic or alkaline means and how it is measured.
The measure pH (power of hydrogen) is used on a scale from 0-14 to indicate how sweet or acidic soil is. Before we get to scientific, just remember that a pH7 is neutral, anything above is alkaline (pH8) and anything below is acidic (pH6). If the pH goes too high or too low certain elements in the soil becomes unavailable to our plants and will cause nutrient deficiencies. Although most plants grow very happily in soil with a pH7 – pH8 there are some exceptions that need acidic soil with a pH6 or even lower. These are plants like Azalea, Rhododendron, Camellia, Zantedeschia, Brunfelsia, Gardenia and Hydrangeas of which the latter’s colors can be manipulated by raising or lowering the pH of the soil. Blueberries and roses also appreciate acidic soil.
How can I lower the pH of my garden soil?
It is much more difficult to lower the pH of soil than it is to raise it. A few natural ways are to use your discarded coffee grounds, Oak leaves, or Pine needles. Layer these on top of the soil and do not dig them in as it will rob the soil of nitrogen once it starts decomposing. This must be applied to the soil on a regular basis as soil tends to revert back to pH7 or neutral. Should you not have these items readily available or save yourself the hassle of collecting it, you can always go to your local garden center and purchase a couple of bags of Acid Compost.