Soil is one of the most important conditions for growing plants. Mistakes in this matter can have a negative effect on the development and prosperity of the plant.
Heuchera likes slightly acidic or neutral soil. Soil pH should be in the 5.5-7.0 range. Also, the soil should be well-drained and nutritious.
This article will describe in detail what acidity soil heuchera is like and how to change it to get a good result. Also, be sure to read the article on Heuchera Plant Care to learn all the ins and outs of growing it.
Best soil pH for heucheras
The best pH for Coral Bells is between 5.5 and 7.0. It is in such a soil it will absorb all necessary substances and thrive. So you can say that heuchera is partly an acid-loving plant.
Such requirements are not accidental, it is in neutral or slightly acidic soil, the plant can access all minerals.
If the soil is too acidic (pH<5.5), heuchera will not take up phosphorus, and the root system will suffer. As a result, the leaves will turn yellow or brown.
On the other hand, if the soil is too alkaline (pH<7.0) nitrogen and some other elements will not be available. As a result, the leaves will turn yellow but the veins will stay green. This is called chlorosis.
Other symptoms of an incorrect pH can be white or discolored leaves. In general, if the soil pH is not right, the plant will suffer.
How to Test Soil pH
Although most soils are neutral some areas may be more acidic or alkaline. This is especially true for an area that has been under human influence for a long time. So if you want everything to be perfect, measure the soil pH before planting the heuchera.
The easiest way to measure this is to buy a pH test kit. You will probably find several suppliers of such kits at your local home improvement center. Just use it as labeled and you will get all the information you need.
The second way is to buy an electronic pH meter online. This is quite a useful device even though it costs some money. The advantage is that you can monitor the soil parameters for a much longer period of time than with a kit.
And the last option is to take some soil from where the heuchera will grow and bring it to your local county extension office. It is often an option there to have your soil tested.
How to Change Soil pH
Let’s say you have tested your soil and determined that it is not suitable for growing Coral Bells. Depending on the results of the test, you need to proceed in two different ways.
How to make the soil more alkaline?
If your soil is too acidic as a result of the test you need to increase the pH. You can do this with alkaline products.
Lime is probably the most alkaline product available. It can be found in garden stores and is often called garden lime.
Mix it with the soil to a depth of 2 times that of your heuchera’s roots. It is best to apply lime to the whole bed at once. Use no more than 1 pound per 10 square feet. Water the soil and wait 1-2 weeks.
Next, test the soil again. If it becomes suitable then you can plant it. If not, add a little more lime.
A second common product that reduces acidity and increases the alkalinity of the soil is wood ash. You can find it on sale or make it yourself. Just burn some dry wood and you will get a lot of ash.
Crush it into powder and apply it just like garden lime. Wait a while and test the soil again. If the soil is neutral, you can plant.
How to make the soil more acidic?
If your soil is too alkaline you need to lower the pH. The easiest way to do this is to add some aluminum sulfate to the soil. This product is easy to find on the market because it is commonly used for hydrangeas.
Aluminum sulfate can be applied just before planting in the planting hole. It works quickly but the main thing is not to overdo it. Always follow the directions on the label.
The second product is sulfur. Garden sulfur is available on the market just like garden lime. Sulfur should be applied a year before planting Coral Bells.
Simply mix the amount of sulfur listed on the label with the native soil to the maximum depth. Leave it as is for a while. Then retest the soil and add more sulfur if needed.
The most organic way to lower the pH is to use acidic peat. It also makes the soil friable and drained. The only disadvantage is that you will get the result not earlier than 1-2 years.
Read more: What Soil Is Best For Coral Bells?