Growing Acid-Loving Plants

Some of the most beautiful flowering and foliage shrubs thrive in acid soils.

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Plant in Containers

If you have an alkaline soil but would like to grow acid-loving plants, try planting them in containers filled with ericaceous soil, which is specially designed for them.


Create the Right Conditions

Choose a large container or build a raised bed for acid-loving shrubs, such as camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Fill your planters with ericaceous soil and, each spring, replace the top layer of soil from the bed or pot with fresh soil mixed with a fertilizer for acid-loving plants.

Azaleas come in a range of fiery shades that set off simple white containers beautifully. If leaves start to yellow, which is a sign of iron deficiency, give them a dose of fertilizer for acid-lovers.

Ruby Red Azalea ShrubsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Combine Plants

Combine the spring shrubs in this design with summer-flowering blue hydrangeas, mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and fragrant summersweet (Clethra) to extend the season. Alternatively, create a conifer and heather garden, which will thrive in acid conditions.

Enkianthus deflexus, 10 feet high and wide (image 1); Grevillea rosmarinifolia, 6 feet high, 8 feet wide (image 2); redbud 'Forest Pansy', 30 feet high and wide (image 3); winter heath, 6 inches high, 18 inches wide (image 4).

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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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