Gardening Tips Soil & Fertilizers

Soil pH for plants: All Things You Need to Know

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Types of Lime Explained

Hydrated Lime

This is fast acting but does not last well in free draining soils. It is very effective to produce a fast change in pH level, and suitable for all types of heavier soil. It is also the strongest form of lime generally available, and some sensible precautions should be taken to keep it out of your eyes and off exposed skin. Sensitive skin may be at risk of irritation or burns.

Ground Limestone

This is natural limestone which has been ground to a powder. Its speed of effect and persistence in the soil will depend on how finely it has been ground. Generally, it is less strong than hydrated lime, needing about 30% more to raise the pH by the same amount. It is also usually cheaper than the hydrated lime, and because it works more slowly and lasts longer, it is more suitable for use on light sandy soils.

Ground Chalk

This is very similar to ground limestone, though it is often more readily available in some parts of the country.

Mixed Lime

This is usually sold under a brand name. It contains a variety of particle sizes so it will give some immediate effect then go on for a long period. The strength is usually between hydrated lime and grounds limestone.

PH Plant Preference Lists

The lists of plants below take you to the various classes of plants from lime haters to lime lovers.

If you find a plant which from your experience you think is in the wrong category, or you can add a plant form your own experience, please email me.

So far as I know, this is the most comprehensive list available anywhere. I hope it will enable you to select plants that are suitable for your soil if you leave it as it is, or help you to identify what pH would be best for the plants that you want to grow.

Plants are listed here in columns according to the pH level they prefer.

Note that some are very sensitive to pH levels outside their tolerant range, in which case they will appear in more than one column even though they are colored yellow as being “sensitive”.

A plain background means the plant is fairly tolerant

pH Plant Preferences of Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs and Food Plants

Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs and Food Plants
Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs and Food Plants

pH Plant Preferences of Ornamental Plants

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