Pink flower plant from a garden.

How to Plant Acid-lovers Plants in Your Garden

If you have tested your soil and found that it is acidic, some of the most beautiful flowering and foliage shrubs, including Japanese maples, camellias, and rhododendrons, will thrive in your garden.

When to plant: Autumn or early spring.

At their best: Spring.

Time to complete: 2 hours.

You will need: Well-rotted organic matter – such as manure, spade, all-purpose fertilizer for acid-loving plants

Selection of acid-loving shrubs: Japanese maple, Acer palmatum Flowering dogwood, Cornus florida Korean rhododendron, Rhododendron mucronulatum

Spacing the plants

You can use any Acer palmatum or rhododendron for this design but they may have different growth habits from these, so check labels for sizes and allow space between plants for a few years’ growth.

Add organic matter

Choose a partly shaded site, sheltered from cold, drying winds. Before planting, dig a bucketful of well-rotted organic matter into each square yard of soil. Water the plants well, and then plant according to the instructions for shrubs.

Caring for acid-lovers

Each spring, apply an all-purpose fertilizer for acid-loving shrubs, and mulch annually to aid soil moisture retention. In spring, after flowering, trim back lightly any wayward growth.

Planting in containers

If you have an alkaline soil but would like to grow acid-loving plants, try planting them in containers filled with ericaceous soil, which is specially designed for them.

Creating the right conditions

Choose a large container or make a raised bed for acid-loving shrubs, such as camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons. Fill your planters with ericaceous soil and, each spring, replace the top layer of soil from the bed or pot with fresh soil mixed with a fertilizer for acid-loving plants.