Understanding your soil is the first step to growing healthy vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers. Some plants grow well in acidic soils, others in alkaline, and yet some prefer a neutral pH level.
Yes, some plants thrive better in moderately acidic soil (pH 5.6–6.0), slightly acidic soil (6.1 to 6.5), or soil that is strongly acidic (5.1–5.5). Additionally, few tolerate very strongly acidic soils (pH 4.0-5.0) . pH 7 is the neutral point.
This article will be highlighting lists of plants that like acidic soil.
- Radishes. Radishes grow best in light, sandy loams. A quick-going root crop, they thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil with pH 6.0 -7.0.
- Sweet potatoes. Unlike radishes, these crops have a long growing time but are a valuable source of vitamin A. Soils with a pH of 5.6 to 6.5 should suit them.
- Peppers (most varieties). Bell peppers, Jalapeno, chili peppers, and others require well-draining soil and a pH of 6.0 to 7.
- Parsley. A popular fast-growing herb, parsley enjoys soil in the range of 6.0 to 7.0 pH. Additionally, you can grow it easily from seed in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.
- Carrots. Another popular and versatile root vegetable, carrots need a light, well-drained, and slightly acidic to neutral soil.
- Cucumbers. These salad veggies are also acid-tolerant plants. Plant in a sunny position in light, fertile soil that is slightly acidic.
- Tomatoes. The culinary world would suffer without these scarlet gems. Classified as fruit, tomatoes are more usually treated as a vegetable and prefer a pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
- Squash. Summer varieties take up to 60 days to mature. However, winter squash needs longer mild growing conditions. Overall, squash prefers a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
- Broccoli. Most brassicas, including broccoli, are cool-season crops. They prefer cooler, yet still sunny conditions and slightly acidic soil.
Other Vegetables That Like Acidic Soil
- Turnips. Both the roots and green tops can be eaten. Also, the plants need light, rich soil that is slightly acidic to neutral.
- Parsnips. Like turnips, these roots have many culinary uses. You can also similarly grow them but in soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
- Potatoes. Potatoes are more adaptable than other root crops but do well in acidic soil as low as 5 pH . The soil acidity at this level also helps prevent potato scab disease.
- Beans. Most varieties of beans will thrive in warm sunny positions in the garden. Additionally, beans do well in soil with a pH of 5.5 up to neutral 7.5.
Herbs That Like Acidic Soil
Thyme, oregano, sage, horehound, parsley, garlic, rosemary, basil, and spearmint are nine acid-loving herbs that can thrive in soil pH as low as 5.5.
Acid-Loving Fruit Trees and Bushes
Blueberries. These acid-loving fruits enjoy soils with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5 . Moreover, they are beautiful to look at and delicious to taste.
Cranberries. The cranberry is packed full of vitamins. They grow in similar conditions as blueberries.
Elderberries. These lovely elderberry shrubs, that produce berries great for making wine, like a slightly higher pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
Currants. These also respond to similar levels of soil acidity as elderberries. However, they need full sun to develop well. Additionally, they prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter.
Raspberries. These summer fruits are relatively easy to grow at home. They prefer soil between 5.5 and 6.5 pH that is well-drained and fertile.
Gooseberries. These seem to have fallen out of favor over the years, strangely as they are delicious and versatile fruits. However, grow best at a pH of 6 to 7.
Apples. One of the most versatile fruits with many varieties and multiple uses. Ideally grown in cooler climates, they enjoy a pH of 5.8 to 7.
Other fruit trees like peaches and nectarines, pears, figs, and pomegranates benefit from soils with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0.
Flowers That Like Acidic Soil
- Heather (Erica). A strong hardy heath plant that can thrive in light sandy soil at an ideal pH of 5.5.
- Lily-of-the-valley. A naturally fast spreading ground cover plant that grows in soil with pH between 4.5 and 6.
- Camellia. This lovely romantic flower that blooms in gorgeous shades of pink to red is often thought difficult to grow. However, this is usually because the soil is too alkaline. Camellias prefer acidic soils of 5.8 to 6.5 and are perfect shade plants.
- Cyclamen. This attractive plant enjoys the middle range of acidity, 5.5-6.5, and prefers dappled shade.
- Foxgloves. These biennials or short-lived perennials are acid loving flowers. They do best in shaded areas and soil at 6.50 pH.
- Zinnias. These are bright and cheerful flowers that attract pollinating insects. Plant in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Moreover, zinnias like full sun and the heat of summer.
- Begonias. These tender perennials thrive in rich organic soils that are slightly acidic.
- Daffodils. These familiar golden spring flowers like similar conditions to Begonias and a slightly acidic to neutral soil.
- Nasturtiums. An annual plant that prefers soil between 6.5 and 7.5. Additionally, they quickly scramble over walls and fences as well as in the flower bed.
- Bleeding Hearts. This herbaceous plant enjoys slightly acidic soil and a moist and light shade location.
Acid-Loving Shrubs and Trees
Blue Hydrangeas. For hydrangeas to obtain true blue flowers, they need acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 or lower. Neutral or alkaline soil will turn the flowers pink.
Rhododendrons. These Asian beauties thrive in acidic soils with a pH of 4.5-6.0.
Azaleas. These are attractive garden plants that need the same conditions as rhododendrons.
Gardenia. A tropical plant, this elegant shrub will tolerate low acidity between 5.0 and 6.5 pH.
Fothergilla. Abundant white flowers in spring and gorgeous foliage colors in fall, these shrubs enjoy pH from 5.0 to 6.0.
Magnolia. This beautiful flowering tree prefers a pH level of 5.0 to 6.0.
Oak trees. Varieties differ, but all types generally do well in acidic soils. Willow Oak will tolerate a pH between 4.5 and 5.5.
Holly. This winter favorite with shiny leaves and scarlet berries is also acid-loving. It grows best in soils in the range of 5.0 to 7.0.
Beech. A rich, well-drained soil of 5 to 6.5 pH should ensure the healthy development of beech trees.
Testing Soil pH
Testing the acidity levels can be done at home. You can purchase a soil test kit online or at the garden store. There are also professional services available to help if home testing is not possible.
pH levels range from 0-14, with 5.5 and 7.0 being the optimal range for most plants .
See Also: 50 Plants for Alkaline Soil.
The correct soil conditions are essential for growing healthy plants. However, sometimes it is a matter of trial and error to attain perfection. With that, this acid loving plants list is the perfect guide to get you started.