Which House Plants Like Acidic Soil

  • black violets (pH 5.8-6.2)
  • Bermuda ferns (pH 4.0-6.5)
  • Cactus species (pH 5.0-7.0)
  • Plants with English ivy (pH 5.5-6.5)
  • Monsteras (pH 5.5-7.0)
  • Philodendrons (pH 5.0-6.0)
  • Peperomias (pH 5.0-6.0)
  • Crotons (pH 4.5-6.5)


Acidic soil is ideal for all magnolias to thrive in. Early spring sees the barren branches of the Magnolia x veitchii’s pink chalice-shaped flowers unfold. Purple-tinged young leaves eventually turn green as they ripen. Grow it on neutral to acidic soil that is moist yet well-drained, in the sun or in partial shade.

Liriope muscari

Lilyturf, also known as Liriope muscari, is an evergreen perennial with neat, low, grassy foliage and numerous flowers that have the appearance of long grape hyacinths and are the same shade of blue. It can survive acidic soil, dry soil, and shade.

Japanese anemones

Japanese anemones can grow practically everywhere and are incredibly adaptable—only in soggy soil. Flowers are either white or various pink tones. A variety called “Pretty Lady Susan” has a small habit.

Trillium erectum

Although trillium blossoms are often beetroot in color, they can also be white, yellow, or purple. Trillium erectum, in contrast to many trilliums, has solid-green leaves as opposed to variegated ones.


Ceanothus, also referred to as California lilac, thrives in sunny, acidic soils. Late spring brings blue flowers on this variety’s small shrub with glossy, round, dark-green leaves.

Calluna vulgaris

Calluna vulgaris, also referred to as summer heather, is a low-growing perennial heather that blooms from late summer to late autumn. Trim the old flower spikes to extend blossoming.

Pieris japonica

Pieris japonica is a crucial spring border shrub that grows best in acid or neutral soils. A cultivar called “Firecrest” has drooping white blooms and dark green, leathery leaves that become pink in the spring.

Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus)

The bilberry, a relative of the American blueberry in Europe, grows in forests, moors, and heaths. Blue-black berries appear in the summer and are followed by tiny, white, tubular flowers in the spring.


Acidic soil is ideal for camellias, which bloom profusely from late winter through early April. Large, double, rose-pink blooms of the illustrated species, called “Water Lily,” begin to appear in April.

Gardening on alkaline soil?

Don’t let your garden’s alkaline soil prevent you from growing ericaceous (acid-loving) plants. Ericaceous compost can be added to raised beds and containers, and the acidity can be maintained by adding sulphur or ferrous sulphate.

Do most plants like soil that is acidic?

Be cautious when blaming other diseases or horrifying-sounding conditions like “verticillium” and “fusarium” for the sickly browning of your pin oak or geranium’s foliage. Your soil’s pH may be the source of the issue. Every plant has a preferred range of soil acidity, and when the pH level is outside of that range, a number of negative consequences may occur. A fundamental understanding of pH will aid you in case something goes wrong as well as maintain the health of your garden. Here is the information you need to know to manage the pH of your soil.

First, what is pH?

A substance’s acidity or alkalinity is expressed on a pH scale, which ranges from 0 to 14. Seven is the neutral pH. The acidity increases as the number decreases after 7. Alkalinity rises starting at number 7, as do the numerals. The pH of soils typically ranges from 3—extremely acidic—to 10—very alkaline. The parent material of the soil and the quantity of annual rainfall a location receives are just two of the many variables that contribute to this spectrum. The majority of cultivated plants like a pH of about 6.5, which is somewhat acidic. The plants that require a very acidic pH of 4.5 to 5.5 include pin oak, gardenia, blueberries, azalea, and rhododendron.

2. What is pH used for? Plants are impacted by soil pH in indirect but significant ways. Depending on the pH of the soil, plant nutrients may become available or unavailable (chart, right). Young leaves that have yellowing between their veins are iron deficient, a condition caused less by a shortage of iron in the soil than by a lack of soil acidity, which transforms iron into a form that plants can absorb. Because of the good availability to all nutrients that a slightly acidic soil pH provides, the majority of plants grow there.

Plant poisoning is the most sinister aspect of soil pH. Geraniums are particularly sensitive to this, displaying their displeasure with yellowed, brown-flecked, or dead leaves. A pH level that is too low might make the plant nutrient manganese available at lethal quantities. Aluminum, which is not a nutrient for plants, is also released when the pH level is too low. Aluminum can impede root growth and obstruct nutrient uptake in plants. The plant nutrient molybdenum becomes toxically accessible at high pH levels.

The health of soil-dwelling creatures, in turn, impacts the state of the soil and the health of plants. Soil pH also affects these species. Earthworms and bacteria that transform nitrogen into forms that plants may use both appreciate the slightly acidic environments that most plants do.

3. How are pH adjustments made?

You must be aware of the pH level of your soil at the moment before attempting to alter it. This will determine whether or not you need to boost it or lower it. A straightforward soil test can be carried out by a soil-testing facility or at home. The texture of your soil, whether it be clay, sand, or something in between, must also be understood. The charged surfaces of clays make them more resistant to pH changes than the uncharged surfaces of sand particles, hence more material is required to alter the pH of a clay soil than a sandy soil.

In general, sulfur is utilized to lower pH levels and limestone to raise them. Dolomitic limestone is a mixture of calcium carbonate and magnesium, unlike limestone, which is a relatively pure form of calcium carbonate. Dolomitic limestone adds magnesium to the soil and, pound for pound, neutralizes more acidity than pure limestone, making it ideal for gardeners in the East or the Pacific Northwest where these nutrients are deficient.

Sulfur and limestone are both available in powdered and pelletized forms, the latter of which is easier to spread evenly and has less health risks due to dust. Sulfur powder sold as a fungicide should not be used since it is finer and more expensive than is necessary to acidify soil. When immediate action is required, fully incorporate limestone and sulfur into the top 6 inches of soil. These substances are not soluble in water. If not, simply spread the material across the ground and let it to sink gradually.

4. Why should your pH be checked? Don’t forget to keep in mind the pH level once it has been adjusted for the plants you are growing. In the naturally acidic soils of the East and Northwest, where rainfall leaches off calcium and other alkaline-forming components, maintaining the proper pH level for your soil is a continuous chore. Due to the rock minerals that made up the soils that naturally have an alkaline pH, these soils will continue to go up the pH scale. In some circumstances, it is impossible to acidify these soils. Even fertilizers have the potential to change the pH of your soil over time. Ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate will tend to lower the pH level while potassium nitrate or calcium will tend to raise it. Consequently, sulfur or limestone additions must be made on a regular basis.

Does every plant prefer acidic soil?

What is the pH of your soil? Different levels of acidity are preferred by various plants. Find the ideal pH for your garden plants using this soil pH chart. then discover how to modify it appropriately!

The Secret of Soil pH

A healthy garden depends on having the proper soil pH, but this is an aspect that is sometimes disregarded in favor of nutrient levels and soil uniformity. Even while these factors are also very significant, it’s important to remember that the pH of the soil has a big impact on how well your plants can absorb the nutrients you provide them.

Often, the improper pH won’t really harm plants, but depending on how sensitive the plant is, it can stunt their growth and lead to poor blooms or yields. In reality, a wide variety of pH levels can be tolerated by many plants. For instance, depending on whether they are planted in acidic or alkaline soil, hydrangeas produce flowers of various colors.

Since most plants do best in the 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral) pH range, 6.5 is approximately right for most home gardens. While certain plants, like ferns and asparagus, thrive in neutral to slightly alkaline soil, others, like blueberries and azaleas, prefer more acidic soil.

How do you determine the pH of your soil? You can purchase a soil pH test kit online or from a nearby garden store to do a quick pH test. However, you might be able to have your soil tested by your state Cooperative Extension for a comparable fee (or perhaps for free), which can provide a far more in-depth examination of your soil (including nutrient levels and other helpful bits of information).

How can I increase the acidity of my indoor plant soil?

It can be required to discover more about how to enhance the acid level in soil pH if your plants aren’t growing in your soil since it’s too alkaline. You should do a soil test before turning soil acidic, and your local County Extension Office can help you with this if necessary.

Sphagnum peat is one of the simplest ways to add acidity to soil. Particularly effective in little garden spaces. Simply incorporate a few inches (2.5–5 cm) of peat into the dirt when planting or around existing plants.

Water plants many times with a solution of 2 teaspoons vinegar to 1 gallon of water for another rapid cure. This is a fantastic method of modifying pH in container plants.

Acidity levels can also be increased with the aid of acidifying fertilizers. Look for fertilizer that contains sulfur-coated urea, ammonium nitrate, or ammonium sulfate. When growing azaleas, especially, ammonium sulfate and sulfur-coated urea are both effective soil acidifiers. Ammonium sulfate is strong, though, and if used carelessly, it can quickly burn plants. This is why it’s important to thoroughly read and adhere to label directions at all times.

Applying elemental sulfur (sulfur flowers) can be successful in some situations. Sulfur, however, takes a while to work and takes several months. Large-scale growers use this more frequently than backyard gardeners do. For smaller garden areas, granular sulfur is considered cost-effective and safe with applications of no more than 2 pounds (.9 kg) per 100 square feet (9. square meters).

Iron sulfate is been suggested as a way to reduce pH levels sufficiently to cause hydrangea blossoms to change color from pink to blue. Iron sulfate works more rapidly (two to three weeks), but it shouldn’t be applied frequently because heavy metals build up in the soil and endanger plants.

Which kind of plants dislike acidic soil?

It is time to address the lower layers of your garden once you have established structure with trees and shrubs and thought about how to make the most of your garden by growing delicious crops.

Your garden’s aesthetic appeal is greatly impacted by the flowers in the herbaceous layer. But flowers are beneficial to animals as well as people. For garden wildlife, flowers are equally crucial. They might draw pollinators and other advantageous insects.

The following flowers grow well in alkaline soil:

  • Anchusa
  • Borage
  • Cascade Poppies
  • Lavender
  • Lysimachia of the Valley
  • Phacelia
  • Polemoniums
  • Trifolium (Clovers)
  • a snake’s bugloss
  • untamed marjoram

Making a practical and fruitful planting strategy for your garden requires careful consideration of your soil, its pH and other features.

The aforementioned list ought to have provided you with a decent starting point, enabling you to conduct additional study and locate the best plants for your specific alkaline soil garden.

Are succulents amenable to acidic soil?

Succulents and cacti are drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants. The fleshy tissues of their stems, roots, or leaves, which come in a variety of hues and patterns, are where they retain water. With these professional tips, you may learn to grow succulents and cacti yourself or give them as gifts:

  • Succulents and cacti do well in containers. They don’t require frequent repotting because they grow slowly.
  • If your plants are not a cold-hardy kind, bring them indoors during the winter.
  • To allow moisture to evaporate, containers must include drainage holes.
  • For proper drainage, always use cactus soil or mix sand into your potting soil.
  • Succulents generally prefer somewhat acidic soil (5.5-6.5).
  • Overwatering is the most typical killer of cactus and succulents.
  • To determine how damp or dry the soil is, a moisture meter is a useful instrument. When in doubt, avoid watering!
  • When they are actively growing in the spring and summer, succulents require more water.
  • Depending on the temperature, water once or twice a week. Reduce watering to every two weeks when the temperature rises to 90 degrees or higher.
  • When the temperature is too hot, plants go dormant so they can survive on the water they have stored.
  • Reduce watering to once every 3–4 weeks in the late fall and winter.
  • In the spring, summer, and early fall while they are actively growing, plants are hungry.
  • Use fertilizers designed for cacti and succulents.
  • Your plants need nitrogen fertilizer if they are starting to look a little stunted.

Growing a jade plant is quite simple. Between waterings, allow the soil to totally dry out. prune to maintain symmetry.

Aloe Vera: For generations, burns have been treated with the soothing fluid of this succulent plant. Avoid letting the plant sit in water and let the soil dry out between waterings.

Ponytail Palm: This plant belongs to the succulent family and is not at all a palm tree. This plant is ideal for careless gardeners because of how much water it can store in its bulbous stem.

The ideal choice for an experienced gardener is a Christmas cactus. Buds can fall out from even the smallest amount of under or overwatering. Place to promote the production of buds and flowers in a chilly environment (about 55 degrees).

Hens & Chicks: These two plants also go by the names echeveria and sempervirum, respectively. Allow plants to gradually dry out in between waterings.

Crown of Thorns: To preserve the leaves and blooms during flowering, simply allow the top inch of soil to become dry.

A very resilient succulent plant that can withstand a lot of abuse is the snake plant. Once a year, fertilize, and let the plant dry out in between waterings.

How can I determine whether my soil is acidic?

  • Put 2 tablespoons of soil and 1/2 cup vinegar in a bowl. The mixture will bubble if the soil is alkaline.
  • In a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of soil and wet it with distilled water. Baking soda, 1/2 cup, added. If the combination fizzles, the soil is acidic.
  • The soil has a neutral pH if it responds to neither test.
  • Plant toxicity or nutrient insufficiency may be caused by an extremely high or extremely low soil pH.
  • The pH scale ranges from 5.5 to 7, which is neutral. Microbial activity is highest and plant roots acquire nutrients most effectively in this range.

You can modify or vary your soil’s pH once you’ve determined it. Finely crushed limestone is used to neutralize acidic (sour) soil, and ground sulfur is used to treat alkaline (sweet) soil.