Wondering what acid loving plants are? Did you know that camellias, hydrangeas or some ferns are acid loving plants? You may think you know very little about acid loving plants, but the truth is that you have surely had the opportunity to have them at home or enjoy their colorful flowers and leaves on more than one occasion. Also, these plants are very used to decorate exteriors or interiors due to their great ornamental value. Both their showy flowers and the intense coloring of their leaves give them a truly unique appearance, sometimes even, as in the case of camellias, they almost look like artificial flowers for their long duration and perfection.
For all this, we want to explain what acid loving plants are, examples and their care. Here we show a guide to acid loving plants with the information you need to improve botany and gardening knowledge.
What are acid loving plants?
What plants prefer acidic soil? That is, what are acid loving plants? The acid loving plants come mostly from Asia, especially from countries like China and Japan. Their classification is given because they grow optimally in acid soils, specifically those with a pH of between 4.5 and 6.5. Thanks to this, the plant can be properly nourished to obtain a future flowering and stay in good condition. These plants also need a climate that remains humid all year round, so it is normal that they do not become quite adept in places like in some areas of South America.
Acer palmatum or Japanese maple
Commonly known as Japanese maple or Momiji (in Japanese), it is one of the most characteristic small autumn trees thanks to the spectacular coloration of its webbed leaves. The intense red that the leaves take on with the arrival of the cold dresses streets and gardens, creating truly magical corners. This acidophilus tree is also one of Japan’s most used species to create bonsai since they tolerate pruning quite well. It also needs regular watering and be placed in a place where sunlight does not hit it directly. It is advisable to make a subscription during the spring and summer months.
Erica spp and Calluna spp or heather
This is another example of acid loving plants. In fact, heather is characterized by being the most acid loving plants within its classification.
Heather is well known for its colorful flowers that range from pink to white to purple and even magenta. They bloom during the summer and are used in landscaping to create ornamental shrubs that add a touch of exotic color. To achieve spectacular flowering, we recommend always keeping them with constant watering, planting them in soil with pH 7 and using organic fertilizers or fertilizers rich in phosphorus after the summer.
Gaultheria procumbens or ebúrnea
The acidophilus plant known as ebúrnea is a creeping and perennial subshrub capable of reaching up to 60 cm in height. One of its peculiarities is that its leaves turn slightly red in autumn. This, added to flowering during May and September, make it a species widely used in gardening. The bell-shaped flowers, once fertilized, resulting in a red drupe that lasts on the plant until winter. Here are some tips on caring for ebúrnea:
Water it frequently so that the soil is always moist but not puddled.
Fertilize it with manure before planting and every year coinciding with the general fertilizer of the garden. They can be given a supply of mineral fertilizer during the flowering season. It does not need pruning.
Camellia japonica or camellia
Also known as the rose of Japan, it is one of the most representative and striking acid loving plants due to its spectacular flowers that, even after falling, remain perfect for a while, giving an almost artificial feeling. They are usually white, red or pink in color and contrast strongly with their large dark green leaves.
They can be had both as a bush and a tree, depending on the pruning. These plants do not withstand excessively hot summers well, especially if they are very dry, so we will have to ensure that it is always in a humid and semi-shadow environment.
Daphne odora or dafne
It is a shrub-like plant known for the pleasant aroma that its whitish flowers give off. Although these are small, they manage to create a point of interest thanks to their leaves’ coloring, which contrasts with the flowers. Also, it is very easy to grow in a pot. As for its most basic care, the acidophilus daphne plant needs regular watering. Therefore, to avoid excess humidity, we advise you to cover the soil around the plants with organic mulch to always keep the roots fresh.
Tips for caring for acid loving plants
Apart from the care mentioned before in each case, here are some tips to take care of plants for acid soils or acid loving plants:
Acid loving plants need a special substrate whose pH is low, usually never above 7, since they do not grow in alkaline or high pH soils.
The substrate for acid loving plants can be found easily in specialized stores. Always used to ensure that your plant has soil with a pH between 5 and 6. These are generally made with a base of peat moss, perlite and vegetable compost.
By preferring pure water, we advise you to take advantage of rainy days to irrigate naturally.
To prevent the leaves of acidic soil plants from turning yellow, it is important to use iron sulfate to acidify the soil. For this, you only need to dissolve between 1 and 3 grams of it and dissolve it in approximately one liter of water. 1 gram dissolved in 1 liter of water.
We can also use citric acid to acidify the irrigation water and make sure it will help lower the pH.
Try not to place them in full sun if the summer is humid and in partial shade if it is too hot. This will prevent the leaves from drying out.
Always use specific fertilizer for acid plants. Some of them we recommend are worm castings or organic compost.