Acidophilic plants: what they are, examples and care

Wondering which are acidophilic plants? Did you know that camellias, hydrangeas or some ferns are acidophilic plants? You may think you know very little about acidophilic 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. In addition, 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 due to their long duration and perfection.

What are acidophilic plants

What plants prefer acidic soil? That is, what are acidophilic plants? The acidophilic plants come mostly from Asia, especially from countries like China and Japan. Their classification is given by their optimal growth in acid soils , specifically in those whose pH is 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 in places like Spain or in some areas of South America they do not quite adapt.

Acidophilic plants: what are they, examples and care - What are acidophilic plants

Acer palmatum or Japanese maple

Commonly known as Japanese maple or momiji (in Japanese), it is one of the most characteristic small trees of autumn 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. In fact, this acidophilic tree is also one of the most used species in Japan to create bonsai, as 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.

Acidophilic plants: what they are, examples and care - Acer palmatum or Japanese maple

Erica spp and Calluna spp or heather

This is another example of acidophilic plants . In fact, heather is characterized by being the most acidophilic plants within its own 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 a spectacular flowering we recommend always keeping them with constant watering, planting them in a soil with pH 7 and using organic fertilizers or fertilizers rich in phosphorus after the summer.

Acidophilic plants: what they are, examples and care - Erica spp and Calluna spp or heather

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 a flowering during the months of May and September, make it a widely used species in gardening. The bell-shaped flowers once fertilized result in a red drupe that lasts on the plant until the arrival of winter. These are some tips on caring for eburnea :

  • 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.
Acidophilic plants: what they are, examples and care - Gaultheria procumbens or ebúrnea

Camellia japonica or camellia

Also known as the rose of Japan , it is one of the most representative and striking acidophilic plants due to its spectacular flowers that, even after falling, remain perfect for a while, giving an almost artificial sensation. 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-shady environment. 

Acidophilic plants: what they are, examples and care - Camellia japonica or camellia

Daphne odora or dafne

It is a shrub-like plant that is well 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 the coloring of their leaves, which contrast with the flowers. In addition, it is very easy to grow in a pot. As for its most basic care, the acidophilus dafne plant needs regular watering, therefore and to avoid excess humidity, we advise you to cover the soil around the plants with organic mulch to always keep the roots fresh.

Acidophilic plants: what they are, examples and care - Daphne odora or dafne

Tips for caring for acidophilic plants

Apart from the care mentioned above in each case, here are some tips to take care of plants for acidic soils or acidophilic plants :

  • Acidophilic plants need a special substrate for them whose pH is low, usually never above 7, since they do not grow in alkaline or high pH soils.
  • The substrate for acidophilic plants can be found easily in specialized stores. Always used to ensure that your plant has a 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 that you 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 half shade if it is too hot. This will prevent the leaves from drying out.
  • Always use specific fertilizer for acidic plants. Some of the we recommend are worm castings or organic compost.
  • You can create your own homemade compost for acidophilic plants using apple cider vinegar . You only have to pour a tablespoon of vinegar for each liter of water.

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