Acid soil loving plants

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  #1  
Old 04-22-2019, 02:35 PM
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Default Acid soil loving plants

A few years ago I had a company re-configure my landscaping and they included some azaleas and camellias that looked nice for a few months. Then I watched them slowly decline until I had to take them out. The company nicely replaced them (actually twice) but the new ones followed the same pattern. After discussing this with someone at the nursery, I tried using the same fertilizer they use, tried some spray for thrips, and tried mulching around them with some peat moss added. After still seeing them slowly go bad, I tried a pH reducing solution in the watering to try to neutralize at least the alkaline soil I believed they were planted in. And now they are doing better, not exactly thriving, but not dying.

So, I am re-doing more of the yard and would like to add more acid loving plants. But I would like to avoid the past problems by giving them a planting medium that addresses soil pH immediately rather than later. I know there are experienced people out there. What do you suggest?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 04-22-2019, 03:52 PM
Bjeanj Bjeanj is offline
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I’ve used Miracle Gro for acid loving plants, which includes my bougainvillea, azaleas, and rhododendron. Seems to work if I follow the directions.
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  #3  
Old 04-22-2019, 04:22 PM
MorTech MorTech is offline
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Try using Lesco 13-3-13 Palm and Tropical (can use on grass as well) with Holly-tone.
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Old 04-22-2019, 06:04 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I am hoping someone has successfully prepared the planting hole with either a mix or amendments that create the proper pH environment so I can use the suggested fertilizers without having to constantly use the liquid pH reducer when I water.
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  #5  
Old 04-22-2019, 06:09 PM
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Default Soil ph

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeod View Post
A few years ago I had a company re-configure my landscaping and they included some azaleas and camellias that looked nice for a few months. Then I watched them slowly decline until I had to take them out. The company nicely replaced them (actually twice) but the new ones followed the same pattern. After discussing this with someone at the nursery, I tried using the same fertilizer they use, tried some spray for thrips, and tried mulching around them with some peat moss added. After still seeing them slowly go bad, I tried a pH reducing solution in the watering to try to neutralize at least the alkaline soil I believed they were planted in. And now they are doing better, not exactly thriving, but not dying.

So, I am re-doing more of the yard and would like to add more acid loving plants. But I would like to avoid the past problems by giving them a planting medium that addresses soil pH immediately rather than later. I know there are experienced people out there. What do you suggest?

Thanks.
In most of the villages the soil is between 7 and 8. From your post, you've had a PH test and determined you have the wrong soil to grow acid loving plants. You can fight nature or grow plants better suited to what you have-not what you wish you had.

Our soil is sandy clay and it is loaded with LIMESTONE. Interesting-take some soil put it in a clear glass and add vinegar. You will see it fizz like the bathtub toy submarine we/I
had as kids. The PH for azalea, if I recall is 4 or 5. So for success you need to go from 7 or 8 to 4 or 5. I face the same problem as I grow blueberries.

My solution is to grow them in super large pots. My soil is roughly half peat moss. I add about half a cup of sulfur to each plant once or twice a year depending on the results of one of those cheap soil test meters. Home depo kind of thing about 10.00. They are NOT VERY ACCURATE but if you buy one and then have a soil test done through the cooperative extension, you can not how far off your meter is.

For azaleas if you insist on doing it, you can bury the large plastic pots that I purchased or at far lower cost you can buy those 55 gallon drums sold on craigslist. You want to find the ones from animal feed not from chemicals-they should be marked. You want to cut the drums in half cross wise drill holes into the drum for drainage. You can bury the pots so no one but you and I will know your plants are not in our alkaline sandy clay. For sulfur,Sparrs sells it. about $14 for 25 pounds. Rural King sells Ammonium Sulfate, the proper nitrogen source for acid loving plants. LOOK UP DIRECTIONS as to how much. More is not better.
  #6  
Old 04-22-2019, 06:17 PM
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Default Oh-re: Azalias

AZALEAS I would buy them in bloom. That is not the best time to plant them but, it is the only way you will know the true color.
Too often the grower puts the wrong label on a plant or other customers switch the labels. Also, azaleas and camellias do best in partial shade.

I do not like products such as miragrow. The directions say to apply every two weeks. It is like a drug habit for your plant.
It is pushed to grow and then it starves.

Hollytone was mentioned. Read the directions.Any organic product usually requires more than many people expect.

Last edited by thetruth; 04-22-2019 at 06:21 PM. Reason: added to post
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetruth View Post
AZALEAS I would buy them in bloom. That is not the best time to plant them but, it is the only way you will know the true color.
Too often the grower puts the wrong label on a plant or other customers switch the labels. Also, azaleas and camellias do best in partial shade.

I do not like products such as miragrow. The directions say to apply every two weeks. It is like a drug habit for your plant.
It is pushed to grow and then it starves.

Hollytone was mentioned. Read the directions.Any organic product usually requires more than many people expect.
Hollytone was one of the fertilizers I tried. The plants seemed to go downhill soon after application. But that was before I adjusted the soil pH. I may try it again.

Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 04-23-2019, 09:38 AM
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Default Read all that i have said

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeod View Post
Hollytone was one of the fertilizers I tried. The plants seemed to go downhill soon after application. But that was before I adjusted the soil pH. I may try it again.

Thanks.
As I assumed, like most of us, your PH is between 7 and 8. You need to get to about 5. That is a huge change. Unless you as I suggested separate the soil you acid loving (needing) plants from the far huger volume of you existing soil it will go back to what it was. Especially because our soil has a huge quantity of limestone in it.

Hollytone, frankly few people read and follow directions. If, I recall it says like four cups to a 24 inch pot and it says to stir it into the soil. Easy enough to do when you are planting. Not so easy to do one the plant is rooted in. It can be done using a soil drill around the drip line. I use Hollytone on my blueberries because it is ok for edible crops. Since you are not growing fruit any of the organic acidic fertilizers are fine. They are not to be used on fruits as they are made from sewage sludge and likely contain stuff like arsenic, mercury etc. Aside-that is true of Michiganite that people apply to their lawns with orange trees etc growing in the same soil.
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Old 04-23-2019, 05:43 PM
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what you want to add to the soil is peat moss. It will lower the ph. You may want to remove the soil and plant in the peat moss without any of the regular soil. You will still need to feed with acid fertilizer.

I am a little worried that the acid fertilizer could lead to sink holes if it dissolves the lime stone.
  #10  
Old 04-23-2019, 07:02 PM
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions. Now I have to decide if I want to do the work, or change the plan to different plants.
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Old 04-30-2019, 04:34 PM
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  #12  
Old 04-30-2019, 04:43 PM
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We have hibiscus, bird of paradise, plumeria and gardenia growing in our yard with no special care at all.
  #13  
Old 05-29-2019, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fw102807 View Post
We have hibiscus, bird of paradise, plumeria and gardenia growing in our yard with no special care at all.
Do you grow plumeria in TV... planted directly in the ground? Or do you just sink the pots in the ground during the warm months?

We aren't in TV yet, shooting for sometime later in summer when I finally retire. Will be bringing several tropical plants that I've had for many years, including about two dozen plumeria. I was sure I'd have to winter them in the garage. Am I correct? Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:11 PM
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Are you serious? Can you grow plumeria in TV? What kind of plumeria? What type of attention does it need? That would be my dream.
  #15  
Old 05-30-2019, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serenoa View Post
Do you grow plumeria in TV... planted directly in the ground? Or do you just sink the pots in the ground during the warm months?

We aren't in TV yet, shooting for sometime later in summer when I finally retire. Will be bringing several tropical plants that I've had for many years, including about two dozen plumeria. I was sure I'd have to winter them in the garage. Am I correct? Thanks!

Most of the properties in TV would not be large enough to accommodate the planting of 20 Plumerias.

Weather-wise during the winter would be a craps shoot. You would be taking your chance planting one outdoors.
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