Growing acid-loving plants in an acidic or alkaline garden

acid loving vegetables

Gardens are edgy, and we often find ourselves walking to the edge of a cliff landscaped in good gardening and hanging our legs over the precipice and looking out over the skyline. Our eyes are then drawn to the plants growing on an adjacent pinnacle, and after admiring their beauty, we swiftly muse on whether we could grow such plants.

We are always endeavoring to grow plants on the edge of the heat tolerance, cold hardiness, and tolerance to the sun, shade, drought, and water. Maybe as gardeners, we love the challenge, or maybe it is the enduring optimism of being gardeners. Our intense desire to plant acid-loving vegetable is an excellent illustration of our compulsion to garden vegetables on edge. Acid lovers entail blueberries, hollies, azaleas, and rhododendrons. But one may ask what acid loving vegetables mean; this is a story of chemistry, desire, and love.

How to Adjust Soil PH

It is all about the soil potential hydrogen (PH), a PH of above 7 is alkaline, below 7 is acidic while that of 7 is neutral.

A one point variation results in a significant change, for example, a PH of 5 is ten times more acidic than a PH of 6 and 100 times more acidic than a PH of 7. Most plants including vegetables grow best in areas where the soil PH ranges from 5.8 to 7.

However, soil PH can change via a variety of activities that include fertilizing, irrigating with alkaline water and adding wood ash. Moreover, construction activities can increase the soil PH of neighboring soils. These undertakings include adding driveway limestone and debris from concrete and drywall. Soils changed through construction activities are altered through the removal of top soil and inversion.

Conventionally sulfur is used to reduce PH while lime is used to increase PH. A common and misguided notion is the annual addition of lime to our landscapes and gardens. Lime is a usual addition to agricultural land since the preferred fertilizer of choice is anhydrous ammonia which decreases the soil PH. Although we do not use anhydrous ammonia in our gardens, a yearly increment of lime on our gardens and lawns is not commended unless a ground evaluation test shows the need.


In other words, soil PH changes as a result of our unintended or intended activities. Soil PH is an essential aspect of plant growth since it impacts the microbial activity of the soil and the availability of plant nutrients. Plant nutrients are held in various types largely dependent on the soil’s PH. Most nutrients that are vital for vegetable growth are found in soils that are slightly acidic to neutral PH. On the other hand nutrients such as copper, zinc, manganese, and iron is more available in acidic soils.

At extreme ends of the PH scale, vegetables struggle to acquire the required nutrients or in particularly acidic soils, some nutrients such as manganese and aluminum can reach high toxic levels. In various parts of the globe, soils are so acidic that they result in nutrient toxicities that make these lands unusable for growing vegetables. Furthermore, at extreme PH levels, the microbial activities crucial for nutrient cycling in the soil stops. High PH levels for acid loving plants reveals itself mostly through the occurrence of yellow leaves also known as chlorosis and stunted growth. Iron chlorosis or iron deficiency is naturally observed through yellow leaves, but the veins in the leaves remain green.

In lowering soil PH, we should increase sulfur since it is often recommended over other acidic products such as iron sulfates or aluminum. This is because sulfur decreases the PH by reacting with natural bacteria. Sulfur is regularly endorsed over other acidic products such as aluminum or iron sulfates since it lowers PH levels by reacting with natural bacteria. Also, aluminum sulfate should solely be used on hydrangeas to reduce PH. Use of soil acidifiers can decrease the PH which in turn causes dark green foliage, and in the case of hydrangeas, it can alternate the color of their blooms to blue or purple instead of pink. Some fertilizers such as sulfur coated urea, ammonium sulfate, and iron sulfate can also decrease PH in small increments.

Indeed you could just grow vegetables that will naturally develop on the native soil conditions of your garden but thanks to acidifiers and alkaline products you do not have to limit yourself. All these products come with easy to follow instructions that are highlighted on the package hence making them easy to use.


About the Author

Hi! This is Ella Wilson, the founder of Being a devotee with plants and gardens, you will find numerous things with me. I have developed enough interest regarding plants that these things do not bore me anymore; instead this has become my passion.