Do you have alkaline or chalky soil? A good way to tell is by looking at local gardens – if hydrangeas are pink, never blue, then you may have alkaline soil. Hart’s tongue ferns may grow in your area, too.
The best way to determine your soil type is to test your soil pH.
Lots of plants thrive on alkaline soil – see some of our ideas, below. We also reveal our growing tips for alkaline soil.
Grow alkaline-loving plants
Many plants thrive on alkaline or chalky soils. They include ceanothus, clematis, hardy geraniums and lavender.
Purple hardy geranium flowers
Avoid lime-hating plants
Some plants do not like alkaline conditions – instead, they prefer acidic soils. These include magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons. If you want to grow these plants, grow them in pots or in raised beds filled with ericaceous compost.
A pink camellia bloom
Dig over the soil deeply before planting – and add lots of organic matter. Alkaline soil dries out quickly and is often thin.
Adding mulch to a garden
Water plants well
As alkaline/chalky soil dries out quickly, it’s important to keep plants well watered. Young plants may take longer to establish on alkaline soils than on other soil types.
Watering with a watering can
Feed plants regularly
Feed plants regularly to avoid chlorosis (yellowing) of foliage.
Sprinkling pellet feed beside plant stems