Every plant requires specific conditions to grow. Be it the temperature range, amount of sunlight, amount of water, soil nutrients, or the soil pH. Some plants require a fairly acidic soil to grow, while others grow well in alkaline soils. Soil pH is actually the measure of its acidity. Thus, the soil type having a pH level below 7 is considered as acidic.
Soil acidity is one of the most important factors that decides the growth and overall health of the plant. This greatly influences the availability of nutrients in the soil. A number of diseases that affect the plants also tend to thrive in soil, having a particular pH. This is the reason why determining this characteristic is important for gardening.
How to Make Acidic Soil?
Certain plants like blue hydrangea or azalea thrive only in acidic soils, and hence, knowing how to increase the acidity of soil becomes very important for gardeners who intend to grow such plants.
The pH of the soil can be determined with the help of kits available in your local nursery, or you could get it checked by sending a soil sample to the lab. If you find that the soil is alkaline, you will have to lower its pH to make it acidic. You can do this by adding certain elements to the soil.
- Adding sphagnum peat to the soil is the easiest way to lower the pH of the soil. Just add a pinch of peat moss around the plants.
- Another inexpensive way of increasing the acidity of soil is by adding sulfur. However, this may take a few months to make it acidic, as sulfur is one of the slowest acting options.
- Watering your plants with two tablespoons of vinegar mixed with a gallon of water, twice a day, can be an easy solution to fix soil alkalinity. However, this is a temporary method, and will last only till the vinegar is absorbed and depleted.
- There are several organic fertilizers available that help in increasing the acidity level. Fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, or sulfur coated urea serve as a good choice for lowering the pH of the soil.
Plants that Grow in Acidic Soil
Almost all the evergreen flora prefer this soil type. Rhododendrons, hydrangeas, azaleas, lilacs, and most varieties of roses are some more examples of acidic soil plants.