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How can you tell if the soil is acidic or alkaline?


By Hila

West Yorkshire, United Kingdom Gb

I have been reading how some plants need acidic or alkaline soil and I hve no idea what soil typemine is. I know one can use litmus papers etc but is there another way of determining this.



Yes, the easiest way is to see what your neighbours are growing. If they have Pieris, Rhododendrons etc, then yours is likely to be acidic.

A better way is to buy a cheap kit from your local GC - that will tell you basic acid or alkaline.

You can pay lots of money to get a full analysis done, but I wouldn't have thought you wanted that?

15 Apr, 2009


You can buy a test kit at the garden centre but I have little confidence in the reliability of these. They might give an indication if your soil is very acid or very alkaline.
If you have a local nursery go and have a chat to the nurseryman. He will probably be able to tell you - buy a couple of plants off him while you are there.

15 Apr, 2009


Even better, take a bag of your soil with you. It'll be easier for him to identify.

15 Apr, 2009


The trouble with asking at the local Nursery is that there are seams of acidic and alkaline soil - sometimes even in the same garden! Our area has both - half a mile up the lane it's acid, we are alkaline. The Nursery wouldn't know that.

I still say - get a test kit. At least it's an indication. If you are very lucky, there may be a free test going on somewhere in your area - I got my soil tested like this! Watch for adverts.

15 Apr, 2009


Thanks guys,
Well the GC had a test kit and i didnt have the heart to buy it whne i could be buying plants! I know I am a sad basket case! So i rationalised and used Spitz suggestion- I have looked at others gardens around my street and noticed that Pieris and rhododendrons seem to flourish so I am guessing it might be an acidic soil type which will be shown to be true or not by the plants' performance over the coming months. ;-)

16 Apr, 2009


You, Hila, have become an official plantaholic!! ;-)
Join the club!

16 Apr, 2009

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