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House plants bring your home greenery, color, variety, and beauty, besides their air purification benefits. Can you use ericaceous compost for your houseplants, or should you avoid this compost for these indoor plants?
Ericaceous compost can be used for houseplants that prefer an acidic growing medium. Most houseplants have a pH requirement in the range of pH 6.0 to 7.0, but certain plants such as Andromedas, Hydrangeas, and Holly prefer a pH of below 6.0 and will benefit from ericaceous compost.
Ericaceous compost is often used for acid-loving plants outdoors, but is it suitable for your indoor plants? We will discuss ericaceous compost and the benefits, or otherwise, it can provide for your houseplants.
Is Ericaceous Compost Good For Houseplants?
The question of whether ericaceous compost is good for houseplants or not will depend on the growing conditions preferred by your houseplant.
Most houseplants prefer a growing medium pH range from slightly acidic to neutral and slightly alkaline pH levels. However, some houseplants prefer acidic soil and will benefit from using ericaceous compost in their growing medium.
Understanding your particular houseplant’s needs is the key to providing the ideal growing conditions for the plant to thrive. Part of keeping houseplants healthy is providing them with the right type of soil and pH level.
How Can Ericaceous Compost Affect Houseplants?
Ericaceous compost is designed specifically for acid-loving plants. It’s made up of a blend of materials such as peat, perlite, and bark chips, which provide excellent drainage and aeration to the soil, but it is characterized by its low pH level. This makes ericaceous compost ideal for plants that prefer an acidic soil environment.
The pH level of ericaceous compost typically ranges from 4.0 to 6.0, significantly lower than regular potting soil’s pH level.
The problem with using ericaceous compost on the wrong houseplants is that it will inhibit the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.
Eventually, this will lead to a lack of nutrition for the plants. Symptoms of this will include wilting, yellowing of the leaves, and stunted growth in your houseplants.
Ericaceous compost will have the opposite effect on houseplants that prefer an acidic environment. These houseplants will be able to absorb the right amount of nutrients and will grow to their optimal potential if the soil has the right acidity level.
The acidity level is not the only benefit provided by ericaceous compost. It will modify the growing environment to ideal conditions for the plant by providing the right aeration, nutrients, drainage, and moisture retention the plants require.
Houseplants That Like Ericaceous Compost
There are various types of houseplants, including foliage plants, flowering plants, succulents, and cacti. Each type of plant has unique soil requirements, which are essential for its growth and survival.
Some houseplants prefer acidic soil, and we have detailed some houseplants that will benefit from ericaceous compost and its unique characteristics.
|Houseplants That Like Ericaceous Compost|
|Plant||Preferred pH Range|
|African Violets||5.8 – 6.2|
|Andromeda||5.0 – 6.5|
|Aster||5.8 – 6.75|
|Azalea||4.5 – 5.5|
|Boston Ferns||4.0 – 6.5|
|Begonias||5.5 – 6.2|
|Cactus plants||5.0 – 7.0|
|Croton||4.5 – 6.5|
|Camelias||4.5 – 6.5|
|Ferns||4.0 – 7.0|
|Fothergilla||5.0 – 6.0|
|Gardenia||5.0 – 6.0|
|Holly||4.5 – 5.5|
|Hydrangea||5.0 – 6.5|
|Pachysandras||5.5 – 6.5|
|Iris (depending on variety)||5.5 – 7.5|
|Star Magnolia||5.0 – 6.5|
|Ixora||5.0 – 5.5|
|Juniper||5.0 – 7.0|
|Lingonberries||4.3 – 5.5|
|Marigold||5.6 – 7.5|
|Nasturtium||5.5 – 7.5|
|Raspberry||5.5 – 6.8|
|Sorrel||5.5 – 6.8|
|Strawberries||5.5 – 7.0|
It is always best to research the particular plant you are interested in having as a houseplant to find out its particular soil pH needs before using ericaceous compost with the plant.
Tips for Using Ericaceous Compost for Houseplants
Ericaceous compost is only necessary for houseplants that need an acidic growing environment. However, some care should be exercised when using ericaceous compost to ensure the right pH range is established in the growing environment.
Adding too much ericaceous compost is an easy mistake, making the soil too acidic, which will have the opposite of the desired effect. If you decide to use ericaceous compost for your houseplants, here are some tips to ensure success.
- Research your houseplant soil requirements. Check your plant’s ideal pH range to know what pH levels to shoot for.
- Test your soil pH. Another number you need to know is the current pH of your soil. This will show you how much ericaceous compost must be added to achieve the correct growing medium pH.
- Mix ericaceous compost with regular potting soil. You will unlikely need to use ericaceous neat or as the only growing medium. Mixing it with regular potting soil will allow you to manage the ericaceous compost’s effect on the soil’s pH.
- Monitor the soil pH. Regularly monitor the pH of the soil in the container where your houseplants are planted. The pH will change over time and gradually rise to the neutral level, and nutrients and acidity are leached from the soil. You should test the pH at least every 6 weeks.
- Top up with ericaceous compost to reduce the pH. You can reduce the soil’s pH level by adding more ericaceous compost to the growing medium. Once you have added extra ericaceous compost, retest the pH level after a few days to see if it has had the desired effect on the soil acidity.
Always take a conservative approach to adding ericaceous compost to your houseplant’s growing medium. It is easier to add more if needed rather than have to source pH-raising elements such as lime because you added too much ericaceous compost.
The use of ericaceous compost for houseplants depends on the specific soil requirements of the plant. While ericaceous compost is beneficial for acid-loving plants, it may not be suitable for all houseplants. Understanding your houseplant’s pH level, nutrient requirements, and drainage and aeration needs is essential for its optimal growth and health.
Ultimately, the best approach is to research your houseplant’s soil requirements before deciding whether to use ericaceous compost. This will ensure that your houseplant receives the right balance of nutrients and grows healthy and strong.