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Many people want to know the best way to get their plants to grow to their full potential, and the type of compost you use plays a role. Different composts have different pH levels, determining what nutrients are available to the plant. Different plants have different nutritional and soil needs, so you need to give your plants what they need.
Lavender prefers neutral to alkaline soil, but one species, Lavandula stoechas or French lavender, works in acidic soil. You can use ericaceous compost for this plant because it is acidic. Otherwise, use ericaceous compost on alkaline soil to decrease the pH level.
Continue reading to learn all about growing lavender and ericaceous compost.
What pH Does Lavender Need to Thrive?
Before you plant lavender or any other plant, you need to know what conditions the plant needs to do well.
There are different species of lavender, and most do well in neutral to slightly alkaline soil. French lavender does prefer acidic soil.
Most lavender species prefer soil with a pH between 6.5 and 8. French lavender does well in neutral soil, but it will tolerate acidic levels.
Soil Requirements for Lavender
Lavender does well in soil that is well-draining, but it needs to have a porous texture so that the roots can respire and the water drains properly. The soil around the roots needs to be able to dry out between waterings to prevent them from getting root rot.
This distinguishes lavender from other plants because most do well in rich, fertile soils. French lavender, in particular, has adapted to grow well in sandier soil without as many nutrients. If the soil is too rich and fertile, the plant will develop yellow foliage and won’t have as many flowers.
You can create these conditions by adding sand or gravel to your soil. This will improve drainage and soil structure and balance the nutrition.
Be Sure to Test Your Soil
It is important to test your soil if you don’t know the pH level. All lavender prefers neutral to alkaline soil, even though French lavender can tolerate acidic soil. Once you test the soil, you can use ericaceous compost to decrease the pH if it is too high.
If the soil is already neutral, you can use some ericaceous compost, but don’t add too much. If you lower the pH level too low, it will prevent the lavender from growing because it won’t be able to get the nutrients it needs.
There are a few ways to test your soil. First, you can get a home test kit, which will give you an accurate idea of the condition of your soil. You should take samples from a few different areas because it will give you a better overall picture.
Another option is to use a lab service. They will come out and test your soil for you and give you all kinds of information about it. If you want, you can try a DIY method using baking soda. Baking soda is alkaline, and it undergoes a chemical reaction when it is mixed with something acidic.
Mix your soil with ½ cup baking soda and distilled water. If you see bubbles or fizzes, this tells you that your soil is acidic.
What Is Ericaceous Compost?
Ericaceous compost is compost that has a low pH. It is slightly acidic, and it gets its name because it was made for plants in the Ericaceae family. It has a pH between 4.0 and 5.0, which is lower than normal compost that ranges from 6.0 to 8.0.
Some plants prefer acidic soil, so you can use ericaceous compost for them. If you find that your soil is too alkaline, you can use this compost to bring the pH level down.
How to Make Ericaceous Compost
Many people have a compost pile, and it is easy to make ericaceous compost. You make it as you would regular compost, but you can add materials with higher acid content. This includes pine needles, oak leaves, coffee grounds, and sand.
When you use ericaceous compost to adjust the pH level of your soil, the soil will return to neutral after some time. You will need to continue adding ericaceous compost as it decomposes.
How to Grow Lavender
Lavender has certain requirements that help it thrive. First, you should keep it in full sun, and the soil should have good drainage. If you live in a hot climate, it will appreciate some afternoon shade. The soil should be low to moderately fertile, and it prefers neutral to slightly alkaline.
When you plant lavender, you should space the plants one to three feet apart. In colder climates, you should plant them in the spring or early summer, while in warm climates, you can plant them in early fall so that they establish their roots throughout the moist winter.
Does French Lavender Need Ericaceous Compost?
French lavender is a species of lavender that can handle more acidic soil. It doesn’t need it, but you can use it. However, it prefers a pH that is closer to neutral, and it won’t do well if the soil is too acidic. Make sure that you test your soil before you add compost, and then keep the pH around 6.5.
No lavender plants need ericaceous compost, and you should use it sparingly. The important thing is to make sure that your soil isn’t too nutritious, and it should have excellent drainage.
When you are growing lavender, you may wonder if you can use ericaceous compost. Ericaceous compost is acidic, and lavender prefers neutral to alkaline soil. Although you can use it with some species, such as French lavender, the plant prefers a more neutral soil.
However, once you test your soil, if you find that it is highly alkaline, you can use ericaceous compost to bring the pH level down. Make sure that the soil is at the levels that lavender needs to thrive.