Can You Plant Lilies In Ericaceous Compost?

Can You Plant Lilies In Ericaceous Compost

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Lilies are plants that grow from bulbs and produce large, showy flowers, which is why they are popular with gardeners. Can lilies be planted in ericaceous compost if you have other acid-loving plants in the same garden bed?

Some lily varieties, such as Martagon, Oriental, and Calla lilies, can be planted in ericaceous compost. The majority of lily types prefer soil pH between 6.0 to 7.0, while some prefer slightly alkaline soils. Ericaceous compost can lower the pH of very alkaline soils to be suitable for lilies.

Ericaceous compost amends soil to take on a more acidic nature which is perfect for plants that thrive in this environment. Understanding whether lilies will grow in acidic soil means getting to grips with the plant’s growing requirements. Lilies are versatile in the range of soil pH they can tolerate, but does this mean ericaceous compost is ideal for growing these plants?

Will Lilies Grow In Ericaceous Compost?

Lilies are beautiful and popular flowering plants in various shapes, sizes, and colors. They belong to the genus Lilium, which includes more than 100 species. Some of the most common lilies include Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, Trumpet lilies, and Daylilies.

Lilies are known for their large, showy flowers that bloom in summer, and they have long, narrow leaves that grow in a spiral pattern around the stem. Lilies are herbaceous perennials, meaning they die back to the ground each year but return to life in the spring.

These plants grow from bulbs under the soil surface, so the soil conditions are important for the continued success when growing lilies.

To understand if ericaceous compost will benefit lilies, we need to know the preferences for the soil they grow in and the preferred pH levels.

What pH And Other Soil Conditions Are Best For Lilies?

Lilies are not difficult to grow if given the right environmental conditions, which is usually relatively easy.

Like most plants, the right soil conditions and pH are important in giving lilies optimal growing conditions.

The lily family is extensive, and each variety has some differences in its soil pH requirements. The general soil pH range that lilies can tolerate is between pH 5.5 and 7.0. This is a relatively wide range, considering most plants prefer a pH range of between 6.0 and 7.0.

However, this characteristic of lilies is one of the reasons gardeners like to grow them; they are not terribly picky about their soil pH. All lily species are not tolerant of this wide range of pH values, with some preferring a slightly acidic to the slightly alkaline range, while others prefer the more acidic end of the scale.

In general, most lilies will grow in the 6.0 to 7.0 pH range without any issues, but it is important to know the type of lily you are planting and the best pH requirement for that variety.

Different lily varieties also have different growing requirements, so choosing the right variety for your garden and providing the ideal growing conditions for them is important. 

Some lilies prefer full sun, while others prefer partial shade. Some lilies require more water than others, and some need to be planted in a specific soil type. By understanding the specific needs of the lilies you want to grow, you can ensure they thrive in your garden.

In general, lilies prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter, so from this point of view, ericaceous compost can add beneficial characteristics to the soil for growing lilies.

Is Ericaceous Compost Beneficial For Lilies?

Ericaceous compost is specifically formulated for plants that prefer acidic soil, such as blueberries and rhododendrons. The term “ericaceous” refers to plants adapted to grow in soils with a low pH level, typically between 4.5 and 6.0. 

Given the potential of ericaceous to substantially lower the soil pH, I recommend that you only use this type of compost with lily varieties that can tolerate pH levels between 5.5 and 6.0.

One of the main advantages of using ericaceous compost is that it helps lower the soil pH and make it more acidic, which can be a valuable benefit if you have alkaline soil.

Using ericaceous compost, you can amend the soil pH of alkaline soils to lower the pH to within the range for the lilies you are planting. Providing the right pH balance for your lilies will lead to healthier plants with stronger roots, better growth, and more abundant blooms.

However, there are also a couple of downsides to using ericaceous compost. For one, it can be more expensive than regular compost or soil mixes. Additionally, ericaceous compost may make the soil too acidic, making it unsuitable for growing lilies.

Overall, ericaceous compost is a specialized type of soil mix that can benefit plants that prefer acidic soil. However, it’s important to understand its properties and the specific needs of your plants before using ericaceous compost in your garden.

If you use ericaceous compost for your lilies, it’s important not to over-acidify the soil. This can be done by adding too much ericaceous compost. Overly acidic soil can lead to nutrient deficiencies and poor growth.

Which Lilies Can Be Grown In Ericaceous Compost? 

Some lilies do well in acidic soil and may benefit from planting in ericaceous compost. However, most lilies prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. Planting them in highly acidic soil, such as ericaceous compost, may cause problems with nutrient uptake and overall growth.

It is important to know which lilies prefer more acidic soil than other varieties that prefer only slight acidity or almost neutral soils.

Some lilies that prefer a more acidic environment and will grow well in ericaceous compost include the following.

  • Martagon lily – pH 5.5 to 6.0
  • Calla Lilies – pH 5.6 to 6.5
  • Oriental Lilies – 5.8 to 6.4
  • Asiatic lily – pH 5.8 to 6.4

Not only will these lilies grow well in acidic soils, but ericaceous compost is recommended for getting the best results when growing these lily varieties.

As we have seen from the wide diversity of growing requirements in the lily family, some varieties will grow well in ericaceous compost, while others will suffer and perform poorly in this compost. It is important to check your specific lily’s requirements before planting it in ericaceous compost. 

Check out: Ericaceous Compost for Houseplants


Ericaceous compost is a great option for certain lily varieties that prefer soil on the acidic end of the lily pH tolerance range. The majority of lilies prefer a pH range of between 6.0 and 7.0, which makes ericaceous compost unsuitable for these varieties.

The important takeaway is to research the lily variety you want to plant to establish the ideal soil pH for the plant. This will eliminate guesswork and ensure the success of your lilies!


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