The best plants for acid soil include a large variety of perennial flowering plants, shrubs and evergreens. Acidic soils are usually found in areas that have significant annual rainfall. The majority of plants thrive in soil that is slightly acidic with a pH level of 6 to 6.8. The best news; having acidic soil doesn't restrict you to only plants that thrive in acid soil.
You can quite easily change the pH level of your soil with soil amendments. Many of us are generational gardeners. We live in the same general geographical area as our parents and our grandparents. We know what they did and we do it too. My father added ground limestone to the vegetable garden bed every year. If you would have asked him why, his answer probably would have been, "It makes the garden grow better". He just knew it did.
Adding ground limestone raises the pH level of the soil. The ph scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 neutral. A reading less than 7 indicates acidity and numbers above 7 indicate alkalinity. An important note; the pH scale is logarithmic. A reading of 6 on the ph scale is ten times more acidic than 7. A reading of 5 is ten times more acidic than 6 and 100 times more acidic than 7.
If you haven't yet tested your soil, a simple test kit can be bought at your local home and garden centers. Knowing the exact pH levels of your soil will be an invaluable aid to you when preparing your seed beds and planning your landscaping. Testing your soil and getting exact answers will open up many possibilities for your choice of plants.
Most soil testing kits will also test for other important nutrients for the health of your plants. Improper levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium can cause plants to be more susceptible to diseases, exhibit weak growth, and have a significant decrease in fruit production.
Nearly all evergreens prefer acidic soil. Azaleas, rhododendrons, lilacs, and most varieties of roses prefer soil that is slightly acidic. Greek Anemone, Moonwort, Dwarf Trillium and Chinese Globeflower are all acid soil lovers. Certain plants prefer a higher level of acidity than others. Wintergreen, Trailing Arbutus and Arethusa all require a strongly acidic soil in order to thrive. These are just a small sampling of plants that do well in acidic soils.
Another important note: changing the pH levels of your soil is not a one shot deal. Monitor your soil throughout the growing season. The water used on your plants can affect ph levels. The water can be easily tested, also. Organic substances can be used to change pH levels or chemical additive can be used. For more information on soil amendments, look for other articles on this site for tips for amending your garden soil.
You can leave the pH level of your soil lower in one area and plant a blueberry bush. Customize the pH level of your soil according to your landscaping wants and needs. The best plants for acid soil are not the only option for planting in a region with acidic soil. Adjust your soil to suit you!