Can You Use Ericaceous Compost For Bedding Plants?

Can You Use Ericaceous Compost For Bedding Plants

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Bedding plants are a strategy gardeners use to bring short-term color to their garden beds. Choosing the right type of compost when bedding plants is important for the plants to live up to expectations and produce abundant blossoms to brighten the garden bed. Is ericaceous ideal for bedding plants?

Ericaceous compost can be used for bedding plants if the lower soil pH created by the compost will provide a better growing environment for the plant. You must know the ideal soil pH for each bedding plant and your soil pH to establish whether ericaceous compost will benefit you.

We will look at the definition of bedding plants and ericaceous compost, its benefits, and factors to consider when using it for bedding plants. Understanding the needs of your bedding plants is the best way to give them the right type of compost in the garden bed. As part of our investigation, we will determine the soil pH requirements of typical bedding plants.

Is Ericaceous Compost Good For Bedding Plants?

I love bedding plants because it is a fast way to spruce up the look of your garden beds and bring vibrant color to the garden at different times to when your normal garden plants blossom.

In our investigation to establish whether ericaceous compost is a good choice for bedding plants, we need to know a little about the characteristics of bedding plants, the growing environment they prefer, and whether ericaceous compost can bring any benefit to the situation.

What Are Bedding Plants?

Bedding plants are a group of plants that are commonly used for creating seasonal displays in garden beds and containers. They are typically small, low-growing plants chosen for their bright, colorful blooms or interesting foliage. 

Bedding plants are often used to add interest and texture to garden borders, patio containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes.

Some examples of popular bedding plants include petunias, marigolds, pansies, impatiens, and lobelia. These plants are often grown as annuals, meaning they complete their entire life cycle in one growing season. 

Bedding plants can also be grown as perennials, meaning they will come back year after year if the growing conditions are favorable, but annuals are generally the preferred bedding plants and are removed or replaced when they are done flowering.

Choosing the right soil and compost when planting bedding plants is essential, as they have specific requirements for healthy growth. 

They generally need well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients to promote flower growth and, in some cases, slightly acidic. The right compost will help to promote healthy root growth, improve soil structure, and provide the necessary nutrients for the plants to thrive.

Can Ericaceous Compost Be Used For Bedding Plants?

While Ericaceous Compost is specifically designed for acid-loving plants, can it also be used for bedding plants? 

Ericaceous compost can be used with bedding plants, but there are some considerations you must take into account. 

It is important to know that not all bedding plants require acidic soil. Many bedding plants, such as petunias, marigolds, and geraniums, prefer neutral or slightly alkaline soil. 

Using Ericaceous Compost for these plants can result in nutrient deficiencies and other problems. Therefore, it is essential to research the specific soil requirements of your plants before choosing the right type of compost.

It is also important to know the natural pH of your soil to have a baseline reference for whether you need ericaceous compost for certain plants or not.

For bedding plants that require acidic soil, such as begonias and impatiens, ericaceous compost can be an excellent choice. 

It can help maintain the appropriate pH level and provide the nutrients for healthy growth. 

Care must be exercised to use ericaceous compost in moderation and not to over-acidify the soil. Using too much ericaceous compost can result in soil that is too acidic, which can harm the plants.

When considering ericaceous compost for bedding plants, it is also good gardening practice to consider other factors, such as drainage and moisture retention. 

Bedding plants require well-draining soil that is not too wet or too dry. Ericaceous compost has excellent water retention properties, benefiting plants that prefer moist soil.

However, if the soil is constantly too wet, it can result in root rot and other problems. Therefore, monitoring the soil’s moisture level and adjusting the watering schedule is important.

Which Bedding Plants Benefit From Ericaceous Compost?

To give you a quick reference chart to check which typical bedding plants will benefit from ericaceous compost, I have created a table listing the plants and their preferred soil pH levels.

You can view at a glance whether the plants prefer acidic, slightly acidic to neutral, or slightly alkaline soil. Use the table as a guide in conjunction with your known garden soil pH to determine if ericaceous compost will benefit the bedding plants you use.

Bedding PlantPreferred Soil pHCan Benefit From Ericaceous Compost?
Petunia6.0 to 7.5No
Marigold6.0 to 7.5No, learn more here
Impatiens6.0 to 7.5No
Zinnia5.5 to 7.5Yes and No
Geranium5.5 to 6.5Yes
Begonia5.5 to 6.5Yes, learn more here
Lobelia5.5 to 6.5Yes
Alyssum6.0 to 7.5No
Salvia6.0 to 8.0No
Coleus5.5 to 6.5Yes
Calibrachoa5.5 to 6.5Yes
Nasturtium5.5 to 7.5Yes and No
Pansy5.4 to 7.0Yes and No; learn more here
Snapdragons6.0 to 7.5No
Verbena6.0 to 8.0No
Portulaca5.5 to 7.0Yes and No
Dianthus7.0 to 7.5No
Celosia6.0 to 6.5No
Torenia6.0 to 7.0No
Vinca5.5 to 6.0Yes

It’s worth noting that many bedding plants are fairly adaptable and can tolerate a range of soil pH values. However, providing the optimal soil pH can help these plants thrive and reach their full potential.

Plants with a wide pH tolerance range have a “Yes and No” answer because they can benefit from ericaceous compost, but it is unnecessary if your soil does not need pH amendment.

In most cases, plants that require a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 will not need to be planted with ericaceous compost since most soils will have a pH value within this range.

The only time ericaceous compost would benefit these plants is if your soil is naturally alkaline and you need to lower the pH to grow these bedding plants.


Ericaceous compost is specifically designed for acid-loving plants but can be used for bedding plants that require acidic soil in moderation. It is important to research the specific soil requirements of your plants and use ericaceous compost appropriately and conservatively to avoid over-acidifying the soil. Other factors, such as drainage and moisture retention, should also be considered when using Ericaceous Compost for bedding plants.

Whether you choose to use ericaceous compost or an alternative compost option, providing your bedding plants with the right growing conditions, such as proper soil pH, moisture, and nutrients, is essential for their success. 


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