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Ericaceous compost is acidic due to its low pH, so it mostly only suits plants who don’t mind acidic conditions. It’s common with potted plants because it retains moisture like a champ, and it’s mostly used for heathers, rhododendrons, and similar acid-loving plants.
So, can you use ericaceous compost for agapanthus (Lily of the Nile)?
Yes, you can. Agapanthus doesn’t mind acidic, alkaline, or neutral soil. They thrive in all conditions, so they’d respond well to ericaceous compost. Some variants also prefer acidic soil, like Agapanthus africanus.
But is ericaceous compost the best option for agapanthus? Read on to find out!
Why Is Ericaceous Compost Good for Agapanthus?
Agapanthus, or African lilies, are mostly grown in pots because they thrive when their roots are bound. Growing them in pots allows you to enjoy them indoors and outdoors, and you can use them as fine decor pieces.
If that’s the case at yours, ericaceous compost will be a nice option for the plant. For one, it retains moisture well, so you won’t have to water the plant frequently. Plus, it’s easy to make at home without breaking the bank.
Another benefit of ericaceous compost is that it provides the plant with plenty of nutrients. If you manage to make the compost right, you may not need to use a fertilizer for your African lily.
Since agapanthus thrives in acidic or sandy soil, ericaceous compost would be good for it.
What’s the Best Soil for Agapanthus?
Agapanthus doesn’t have a preference when it comes to soil. The plant can survive in acidic, alkaline, or neutral soil. That’s why there are plenty of compost types you can use for it.
That said, the plant needs moist, well-drained soil to live. Apaganthus doesn’t respond well to wet roots, so the soil should regularly drain the water. Yet, it should be moist enough to keep feeding the plant. It’s true that it’s drought tolerant but won’t survive long in dry soil.
The soil should be loamy, sandy, or clay, and you can choose whatever compost you prefer as long as it’s compatible with the soil. Generally, the plant responds well to slightly acidic and neutral compost.
How to Use Ericaceous Compost for Agapanthus
Now that we’ve established you can use ericaceous compost for agapanthus, let’s explore how to do it.
If it’s your first time growing African lilies, it’d be wise to go through the steps to avoid hurting the plant.
- Prepare your compost, whether you made it at home or bought it, and fill the plant’s pot with it. You can add some coarse sand to improve the soil’s drainage.
- Grab your African lily, and put it in the container so that the top of its roots are around 2 inches below the container’s edge. Those 2 inches are necessary to allow the soil to absorb water, so make sure to leave them.
- Add more compost around the root, closing off any pockets that may let air in. Then, water the roots to let the plant settle.
- If you want, add some mulch on top of the soil to achieve a neat appearance.
Care Tips for Agapanthus
Aside from using the right type of compost, agapanthus needs specific conditions to grow and thrive. Here are some tips if this is your first time growing an African lily.
- Place the container in full sun for the plant to grow flowers. The shade isn’t enough for it to bloom.
- Although agapanthus is hardy, it needs plenty of water in the winter to survive the cold weather. Make sure to be careful with the watering schedule.
- It’s better to bring the pots inside in the autumn to keep the plants sheltered from the cold weather.
- Avoid watering the plant too much in the summer. In most cases, once weekly is enough, as long as the soil doesn’t get dry.
- Deadhead flowers after the summer to get good flowering in the following year.
- If you own a greenhouse, you can move the potted agapanthus to it in the winter. Ensure it’s unheated because the plant won’t grow nicely in the heat.
How to Know If Ericaceous Compost Is Good for the Soil?
So, now you know that your agapanthus is okay with ericaceous compost, but is that enough to use it?
The answer is no. For the compost to work, the soil should be compatible with it. To know that, you’ll need to test the soil to learn its pH—that’s only if you don’t already know it.
The easiest way to test your soil is to get a home testing kit. Read its instructions manual before using it, and follow the steps closely to know whether your soil is acidic or neutral.
Alternatively, you can do a DIY test, although it won’t be as accurate. You won’t come up with a specific pH, but you’ll know whether the soil is acidic.
To do so, grab some baking soda because it’s alkaline, so it’ll react with the acid in the soil.
Grab some bits of the plant’s topsoil, and put them in a bowl with some distilled water. The distilled part is a must because regular water will be alkaline, which will mess with the results.
Add half a cup of baking soda to the mixture, and watch for a reaction. If the baking soda causes an effervescence, where bubbles appear and fizz briefly, then your soil is acidic.
Check out: Ericaceous Compost for Lilies
So, can you use ericaceous compost for agapanthus? The answer is yes. African lilies don’t have a specific requirement when it comes to soil. They can thrive in any soil, whether it’s acidic, alkaline, or neutral.
So, they won’t say no to acidic compost. However, you’ll have to check if the soil is acidic to ensure you don’t need a different compost. To do this, it’s better to get a home test and follow its instructions.