What To Grow In Acidic Or Alkaline Soil

What Good Is Acidic Or Alkaline Soil?

A while ago, we published an article about soil Ph as it relates to your lawn (Know Your Soil – How to Get a Green Lawn). Specifically, we talked about soil with a neutral Ph of 7 was the ideal environment to plant and grow healthy grass and an attractive lawn.  We also mentioned that having a Ph that is LOWER than 7 makes it acidic, while anything over makes it alkaline.

Handy reference chart is actually pretty handy.

However, not all soil is created equal.  Some soil is naturally more acidic (or more basic/alkaline) and still finds a way to support myriad plant-types.  How can that be?

Simply put, some plants just love different types of soil.  Blueberries, for example, love to grow in acidic soil with a Ph of 4-5.5.  On the other hand, we have leeks and asparagus that will happily bear edible crops from  alkaline soil approaching a Ph of 8.

white pine

Evergreens (like this Eastern White Pine) really like acidic soil, and that makes it difficult to grow grass nearby.

Fun fact!  If you have having trouble growing grass on your lawn, check out the nearby trees.  If you have a lot of pines, there is a pretty strong likelihood that your soil has a Ph that is lower than neutral since pines love soil that is more acidic.  The same is true for most evergreens.

What Can I Grow In Soil That Isn’t Neutral?

So you have some funky soil and you are having a hard time growing grass?  Here are some options:

acidic soil veggies: eggplant

Eggplant will grow in soil with a Ph of 5.5-6.5.

Acidic soil-loving plants:

  1. Blackberries: 5.0-6.0
  2. Blueberries: 4.5-5.0
  3. Peanuts: 5.0-7.5
  4. Potatoes: 4.5-6.0
  5. Raspberries: 5.5-6.5
  6. Sweet potatoes: 5.5-6.0

And then we got a few for soil that’s only kinda sorta acidic (in the 5-7 range):

  1. Apples: 5.0-6.5
  2. Basil: 5.5-6.5
  3. Dill: 5.5-6.5
  4. Eggplant: 5.5-6.5
  5. Peppers: 5.5-7.0
  6. Pumpkins: 6.0-6.5
  7. Rhubarb: 5.5-7.0
  8. Turnip: 5.5-7.0

This last list is made up of plants that have the widest tolerance, and will grow just fine in soil that ranges from 5.5 to 7.5:

  1. Carrots: 5.5-7.0
  2. Cauliflower: 5.5-7.5
  3. Corn: 5.5-7.5
  4. Cucumbers: 5.5-7.0
  5. Dill: 5.5-6.7
  6. Garlic: 5.5-7.5
  7. Parsley: 5.0-7.0
  8. Parsnips: 5.5-7.5
  9. Peanuts: 5.0-6.5
  10. Peppers: 5.5-7.0
  11. Tomatoes: 5.5-7.5
  12. Turnips: 5.5-7.0

Short Version:

Just because you don’t have neutral soil doesn’t mean you are out of luck garden-wise.  There are things you can go to alter the Ph of your soil (adding ground limestone can raise Ph, while adding things like sulphur can lower it), but we will save that for another day since you need to be VERY particular about how much you use, and under what conditions.


Happy Gardening!

~The Greencare Team