Why is Soil pH important for plant growth?

Why is the pH of the Soil soo important?

Many people who are new to the garden game don’t realise the importance of the pH of the soil. What they don’t understand is that the wrong soil pH can affect the ability of a plant to be able to access nutrients, even if they are present in the soil!

I recently had an Azalea in a pot that had suddenly started to struggle.

Why is Soil pH important for plant growth?

Struggling Azalea plant

I tested with a pH metre that said the pH was neutral around 6.5.

I know Azaleas love acid soils, around about a pH of 5, so it was slightly high. But I also knew, from the symptoms that the plant wanted a more acidic soil.

So I gave it a couple of treatments with coffee grounds, which naturally and gently lower the pH.

The difference was amazing in just a few weeks.

Why is Soil pH important for plant growth?

Same plant after treatment

My Azalea plant went from losing its leaves, and struggling with pests and diseases, to being in full leaf and flower bud!

So, how can you lower the pH of the Soil?

As I outlined above, coffee grounds are a natural and gentle way to lower the pH of the soil. Another way is by using either powdered or liquid sulphur! I was going to try the sulphur solution if the coffee solution hadn’t worked

What would have happened if I didn’t adjust the pH? Well the plant would have continued to struggle and may even have died!

This is because the soil’s acidity or alkalinity, as measured by the pH, affects the ability of the plant to take up the minerals and food it needs. So the plant effectively starves to death!

So, next time you see a plant really struggling in your garden, do it (and yourself) a favour and test the soil’s pH!

Happy gardening from Rohanne, your Personal Garden Expert

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