Soil pH & Knowing Acidic Plants

Our expert horticulturist Malachy has shared his advice on how to test your soil pH. pH controls the availability of almost all essential plant nutrients, making crucial to successful plant growth.

For this reason, knowing whether the soil is alkaline or acidic is important when planning and planting your garden because different plants require different types of soils to grow.

The pH of your soil is a number that indicates how acidic or alkaline it is. pH 7.0 is regarded as neutral. Below 7.0, a soil is considered acidic, and above 7.0, a soil is considered alkaline.

How to Test Your Soil PH

Malachy’s recommendation when it comes to figuring out the pH of your soil is to use a soil testing kit. Some plants, such as cauliflower and sprouts tend to like an Alkaline (limey) soil while others, like potatoes, like a neutral pH. You can use garden lime to adjust the pH pf your soil to suit the conditions required by your desired plant.

For advice on how to use both the testing kit and the garden lime, check out out YouTube video linked above, where Malachy talks you through both in detail.

How to Care for Acid Loving Plants

Some plants love an acidic compost (also known as Ericaceous compost) to grow in. Here are Malachy’s top tips for getting the most from these type of plants:

  1. Know what plants are acid loving – Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Magnolias and Heather are some plants that thrive in acidic compost.
  2. Know what soil type is in your garden – Test your soil using the tips Malachy shared in the previous video, using your soil testing kit.
  3. Treat acid-loving plants with the correct feed type – Using this feed about once a month is best to keep your plants healthy and happy in a soil of the right pH.

To hear Malachy talk you through Acidic plants, see the video below!

Guide to Acidic Plants


Gardens really are our second nature. So if you’d like help with something on this post, or anything else in your corner of second nature, please reach out to us on social media, or by email on If the question is quite specific, it’s really helpful to include a photo. We’d love to help.


All products mentioned in the above blog can be bought on or in you local Tirlán CountryLife branch. To find your nearest store click here.

Gardman Soil pH Testing Kit

Testing kit to test the PH of the soil in your garden

Price: €14.99

Granular Garden Lime 3kg

Vitax Granular Garden Lime is a soil conditioner to sweeten and improve the drainage of heavy clay soil 

Price: €7.95

Westland Ericaceous 50L

Westland Ericaceous Planting and Potting Mix has been specially developed to give gardeners the ideal medium for lime hating plants.

Price: €8.99

Miracle-Gro Ericaceous Liquid Plant Food

Miracle-Gro Azalea, Camellia & Rhododendron Liquid Plant Food is a concentrated liquid plant food that ensures stunning flower displays for all acid-loving, ericaceous plants.

Price: €11.50