Ericaceous soil is high in acidity. The unique PH balance makes it ideal for growing acid-loving plants, allowing you to add beautiful, diverse plants and shrubs to your garden, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, heathers, pieris, blueberry and cassiope. That said, ericaceous compost is not ideal if you're looking to add lime-loving plants to your garden, like gypsophila, delphiniums, and buddleia.
If you are unsure whether your plant prefers acidic or alkaline soils, it is best to test the pH level of your soil before making any adjustments. You can test the pH level of your soil with a home testing kit. The pH scale indicates acidity or alkalinity. Soil with a pH number below 7 is acid, and a pH above 7 is alkaline. Most garden plants here in the UK grow best in neutral or slightly acid soil. If the soil is too acidic for the plants, nutrients may be taken up too efficiently, overloading a plant's system, causing it to languish and die. On the other hand, nutrients cannot be efficiently absorbed by plant roots if the soil pH is too high.
Ericaceous soil is the perfect blend for acid-loving plants. If your soil includes a lot of nutrients, you won't need to feed your plants often, whilst an ericaceous soil mix holds onto moisture for a long time. Another perk is that ericaceous plants do not attract too many pests, however, aphids can cause issues. To make your plants less susceptible to aphid attack, try to attract an abundance of wildlife, such as birds and ladybugs, making short work of common garden pests.
One of the reasons why ericaceous soil works wonders is that it releases vital vitamins like iron — a necessity for most acid-loving plants. You will most likely need to grow your ericaceous plants in pots, encourage the growth of acid-loving plants without harming any lime-loving plants in your garden.
As we've touched on above, it's crucial to test the soil pH before planting, as not all ericaceous plants will grow in the same type of soil. Acid-loving plants like heathers, azaleas and blueberries prefer a pH of around 4.5 to 6.0, whereas lime-hating plants like rhododendrons, camellias and mountain laurels need a pH that's closer to 7.0.
At Ultimate Topsoil, we source high-quality ericaceous soil from Norfolk as part of a heathland maintenance programme. With very high organic content, the soil promotes microbial activity, encouraging root and plant growth as well as delivering a large quantity of Phosphate and Potassium. We stock an extensive range of topsoil, compost, blended soils to various barks and even sleepers, supplying everything you need to kickstart your landscaping journey.
To speak to us about your gardening project, please get in touch with our friendly team today on 01234 819 534.