Acidic potting soil – When the soil is at a lower pH level or in an acidic state it allows many types of plants to absorb nutrients from the soil more effectively.
That way, the plant will develop more optimally.
Conversely, when the soil pH is too high or in an alkaline state, it can allow plants to have problems with their health and growth.
Soils with high alkalinity can make it more difficult for many types of plants to absorb nutrients from the soil, thereby limiting their growth.
The way to make it easier for plants to absorb nutrients from the soil is to make the soil more acidic.
However, this is still a challenge because limestone in the soil regularly decomposes and water is sometimes alkaline which can increase alkalinity.
What Is Acidic Potting Soil?
Acidic potting soil is soil that has a pH level below 7.
Generally, acidic potting soils can be found in areas with high rainfall, sandy soils, and soils rich in organic matter.
Acidic potting soil is usually owned by peat soil types which tend to have high hydrogen, aluminum, and sulfur content.
However, even alkaline soils can be acidified in various ways.
Although at a lower pH level plants can absorb nutrients from the soil more effectively, if the soil is in too acidic conditions it is not good for the plant.
Soil with a high acidity level can make plants unable to grow properly because nutrients cannot be absorbed optimally by plants.
If this happens, you can reduce the acidity of the soil by adding dolomite or agricultural lime to the soil.
Some plants that require acidic potting soil include Azalea, Hydrangea, Camelia, Gardenia, Magnolia, Blueberry, Cranberry, Tomato, Potato, and many more.
How to Make Acidic Potting Soil
There are several methods you can use to make your soil more acidic.
The methods that we provide are fairly easy and simple but have proven to be effective for acidifying the soil.
1. Sphagnum Peat Moss
Sphagnum peat moss is one of the most effective options for changing the soil to be more acidic.
Peat has a pH level of 3 to 4.5 which is very effective in lowering the pH or acidifying the soil.
The trick is that you can directly add sphagnum peat moss to a depth of 2-3 inches above the planting area before planting the plant.
After that, work your way into the soil to a depth of 8-12 inches.
You can also add it around plants that require about 1-2 inches of acidity.
The second method is also effective for acidifying the soil but takes longer than the first method.
Make sure you water the sphagnum peat moss before and after adding them to the soil thoroughly as they absorb a lot of water.
As we know, vinegar is an organic acid chemical compound that can also be used for rapid pH adjustment.
To use this method, don’t put pure vinegar directly around your plants.
It is better to mix it with water first.
For the dose, you can add two tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water and then water the acid-loving plants several times until the pH is as you want.
Unfortunately, this method does not last long and is less effective for large areas of land.
3. Elemental Sulfur
Apart from vinegar, sulfur is another natural substance that can effectively acidify the soil.
Compared to vinegar, elemental sulfur is safer and easier to apply to large areas.
Although it takes longer to acidify the soil, the use of elemental sulfur can keep the pH down for years.
4. Acidification Fertilizer
Using an acidifying fertilizer to acidify the soil is another method you can do.
Acidification fertilizers generally contain ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, or sulfur-coated urea which are effective for acidifying the soil for your garden and pots.
Besides being able to acidify the soil, acidifying fertilizers also have the same function as plant fertilizers, namely to fertilize plants.
They are also good for large areas, raised beds, or sprinkled around plants.
5. Iron and Aluminum Sulfate
The final method that we can provide you with is the use of ferrous sulfate and aluminum sulfate to acidify the soil.
Just like elemental sulfate, ferrous sulfate can be applied to a large area, but it can work more quickly, which is about 3-4 weeks.
Place iron sulfate around plants or spread it over large areas of the garden, and it will cause a chemical reaction in the soil that will make it more acidic.
For aluminum sulfate, it works in the same way as ferrous sulfate because it has similar characteristics.
6. Using Organic Ingredients
This method may be slightly different from the previous methods but has proven to be effective in lowering soil pH (acidifying).
You can use organic materials such as compost, animal manure, and acidic mulch to acidify the soil.
Although it won’t give a noticeable change in a short time, this method is effective at lowering the pH gradually.
Besides being able to lower soil pH, organic matter can simultaneously improve aeration and drainage.
It can also improve the biological properties of the soil because the micro-organisms in it will increase along with the addition of organic matter.
Keeping Soil Acid
To acidify the soil, it is not enough just to make it acidic.
Your hard work to make acidic soil so that plants can grow optimally must be cared for and maintained so that they are always at the right pH level.
Even with the long-term use of the method, the pH will naturally rise again over time.
Therefore, you need to maintain the acidity of the soil by testing the pH of the soil in a garden or container about once a year.
You can perform the test with a lab test, a home soil test kit, or by using a digital meter.
If the acidity level starts to rise, you can add amendments as needed to lower it back down.