announcement

Become a Contributor

Acidic Soil Plants

Acidic Soil Plants

Soil with low pH is known as acidic soil, while the plants which grow well in such soil are known as ericaceous plants or acidic soil plants.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Jan 14, 2019
Hands holding sapling in soil surface
Certain species of plants grow well in certain types of soil; you don't have to be a veteran of gardening to know that. Soil composition plays a crucial role when it comes to plant growth, and pH value of soil is a crucial factor when considering composition of soil.
Gardening tools on soil
While most of the plant species grow well in soil with a pH balance of 6 - 7, others require soil with a pH balance much less than that―ideally 4 - 6―in order to facilitate proper growth.
Acidic Soil
Holding Soil In Hands
When it comes to soil science, soils are categorized into acidic and alkaline soil, on the basis of their pH balance. Soil with a pH balance of 7 or less is considered acidic soil, while soil with a pH balance exceeding 7 is considered alkaline soil.
Similarly, a value of 7 on the pH scale represents neutral soil. Acidic soil is predominantly formed as a result of decomposition of plant and animal matter. Besides that, soil formed from an acidic parent rock will also turn out to be acidic soil.
Generally, you come across such soil in regions which have soft water or which experience heavy rainfall. This soil can also be transformed to alkaline soil as a result of various natural occurrences, including disintegration of a limestone rock.
Acidic Soil Plants
The simple rule of the thumb is that the plants which prefer acidic conditions grow well in acidic soil. The pH level of the soil determines the presence of different nutrients in it. If you try to plant species which prefer acidic soil in alkaline soil, it will indirectly affect their growth, as they will not be able to derive the necessary nutrients.
As in case of these plants, even microorganisms have a preference for either acidic or alkaline soil. So the pH level of soil has a crucial role to play when it comes to smooth functioning of the said ecosystem.
Rhododendron Buds
While rhododendron and heather are the most popular species of acidic soil plants, there also exist several other species that prefer to grow in soil with a pH value of less than 6. Here are some examples of such plants on the basis of their genre.
strawberry
  • Popular species of trees like the Strawberry Tree, Sweetbay, American Sweet Gum, Koster Blue Spruce, etc.
Green Blooming Gladiolus In Summer Garden
  • Species of perennial plants include the Tibetan Blue Poppy, Flag Iris, Big Blue Lily-turf, etc.
Trimming Bushes With Garden Scissors
  • Shrubs and bushes include Winter Flowering Heath, Bayberry, Ground Juniper, Chinese Witch Hazel, Calico Bush, etc.
Watering Green Ivy In Pot
  • As for climbers, the most prominent names include the Trumpet Creeper and Persian Ivy.
Lavender and heather in terracotta pots
  • If plant species that work as a ground cover is something that you are looking for, then the Heather and Wintergreen species are the most popular.
Some of these plants have beautiful flowers, which is what makes them quite popular among gardening enthusiasts. If you are looking forward to add some acidic soil loving plants to your garden, you should try some of the species we mentioned here.
If your region doesn't have soil with low pH level, you can resort to various methods of lowering soil pH, including some simple ones such as adding sulfur or composting. Similarly, if the soil in the area wherein you reside is too acidic for the plants to thrive, you can resort to neutralization of soil by adding agricultural lime or calcium sulfate to it.