Wednesday, July 25th, 2007...12:45 pm

Acid Loving Plants


TheGardenLady received this question from Tamara  -

I am looking for a list of plants that love acid soil and are edible – blueberries are one that springs to mind.  Are there others? I need a range of shrubs and smaller plants to go as a border. I’m replacing a camellia that is way too big for the space it’s in, and a couple of other plants in the same area that do well but were neglected by the people who lived here before us.

You have requested plants for your garden that needs acid loving plants. The three most popular acid loving shrubs that comes to mind are rhododendrons, azaleas and hollies. There are dwarf hybrid and species rhododendrons and azaleas and also dwarf hollies if you have a small garden. You can even plant rosa rugosa in acid soil.  A short list of some acid loving plants are kalmia-mountain  laurel, conifers, ferns, hydrangea, magnolias. Not knowing how acid your soil is, included is a list of ph tolerant trees. I do not know where you live, but most of the soil in NJ is slightly acidic and Rutgers has an excellent fact sheet about plants needing acidic soil.

You seem more interested in edible plants. The three acid loving edible plants that spring to mind besides blueberries and cranberries are raspberries, strawberries and potatoes. Many vegetables enjoy slightly acidic soil. A list with the ph requirements of plants is this.

One of the comments in your email is that you are replacing a camellia. Most gardeners would love to have a camellia plant in their garden; they would be very proud of being an owner of one. If you have a healthy large one, there are some gardeners who might even want to take this specimen from you. If you live near NJ, Grounds for Sculpture should be contacted to see if they could take it.

Hedgleigh Gardens in Swarthmore, PA, one of the most beautiful private gardens in the country, is proud of their camellias. Charles Cresson, the owner of this three generation garden, gives tours and lectures on raising camellias. He is a hybridizer of camellias.

I hope I have changed your mind about replacing your camellia shrub. You say it is too large for your garden. Have you tried to prune your camellia? Instructions for pruning are here.  Your other overgrown plants could also probably be pruned and/or divided and planted in another part of your garden or given away to some lucky person or group.

TheGardenLady would be interested in what you do with your garden. A photo and list of the plants you chose would be lovely. Also let the readers know what you have done with your healthy but overgrown plants.

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  • Hi The Garden Lady,

    You asked ” The GardenLady would be interested in what you do with your garden”.

    Well my South East of England garden has inspired a 3 year plus project…………….

    Like yourself I have a very keen interest in anything gardening, agricultural and horticultural, no not a keen interest, a PASSION!

    And also like yourself I am constantly studying and learning more and more about the subject.

    I have produced over the past 3 – 4 years in my spare time. This has been a great way to learn. Indeed it has been the best and fastest way.

    It has also answered many visitors queries and inspired them to look at gardening from a different angle, not just to “plant up” a garden, but to do more themselves in the way of propagation.

    It has been exceedingly well received and praised by many visitors.

    This is a free to access and use website. All that is asked that the copyright is respected!

    To your continued love of all things gardening.

    Kind regards

  • How wonderful to receive, from England, Chris’s email comment about Acid Loving Plants!TheGardenLady loves gardens in England- English gardeners are among the best in the world. And to have a site that teaches what you, Chris, have learned about propagation, a site for all The GardenLady readers, should be very informative. As a child growing up on a small truck farm, we were too poor to buy many of the flowers we raised so we all took parts of our neighbors’ plants and did our own propagation. Our flowers were free and we neighbors now could have so many more plants flowering in our gardens. Thank you for sharing. When TheGardenLady and her readers visit England, we look forward to seeing your beautiful garden.

  • Are mimosa trees acid loving? Mine isn’t doing well. I know it’s NOT wilt, there aren’t the signs of wolt. It just needs a “boost”. Can I use something like Mir-Acid or Holly Tone?


  • What about azaleas?

  • Azaleas like rhododendrons MUST have acid soil with a pH between 5.0 and 5.5. If you don’t know your pH, take a soil sample to your local Master Gardener office or extension center to have it tested.

  • I have been given a Frangipani and the only fertilizer I have to hand (before planting in ground) is one for acid loving plants – can I use this?

  • I have a Gunnera in a pot with no drainage. Is iy safe to water with hard tap water?

  • Hi, are pea acid loving? I was wondering how to make them sweeter and someone told me to mix coffee and water (room temp) and to give it to them. I didn’t yet but I want to know, just in case

  • I have an albezia (mimosa) tree im in Lincoln CA & get the heat. I face east & wsnt to know what colorful flowers I can plant under it in my front yard. Prefer annuals if possuble

    Thank you

  • I live in San Antonio, Texas and am having fun with my gardens, but have some azaleas that are not doing well. I have fertilized them lately with soluable Miracle Gro Acid fertilizer. I am hoping this will begin to energize them. The instructions read that they should be fertilized every 7 – 14 days. As I said I began to do this today. If there is a better fertilizer for the Azaleas please let me know.

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