There are many types of soils and soil mixes on the planet. Preferences may differ from plant to plant. Some like one type of soil while others like another.
Hostas do like slightly acidic soil. They also grow well in neutral soil. This means that the soil pH should be between 5.5 and 7.0.
Most soils are neutral, which means that they are good for growing hostas. In this case, you can count on a vigorous growth of the hosta.
Over time, the soil can become acidic if the amount of organic matter in it increases every year. Plants dying off enriches the soil but also makes it a little acidic. If you plant a hosta in such soil, it will only benefit your plant.
In fact, many gardeners intentionally improve the soil with organic matter in order to plant their hostas there. Nothing bad happens as a result. Hostas only benefit from this improvement.
Also, mulching hostas with organic mulch can acidify the soil. And this practice is widespread not only for hostas but also for many other plants.
In acidic soil, it is easier for the hosta to absorb minerals because they are in the form of salts. But this is only as long as the soil is not too acidic.
Read more: What Kind of Soil Does Hosta Prefer?
Too acidic soil
In some cases, the soil may be too acidic. In this case, the pH is much lower than 5.5 and this can have a negative effect on the growth of the hosta.
Soil becomes too acidic because of an overabundance of organic matter in the soil. Also, the acidity increases sharply due to the use of large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer.
The result of low pH is that the plants lose their ability to obtain phosphorus and other minerals. This leads to a disturbance in the normal development of the hosta and discoloration on the leaves.
In addition, too acidic a soil increases the toxic effects of aluminum on the plants. The hosta’s ability to consume water is also reduced.
How to test soil acidity
The easiest way to check the acidity of the soil is to use a test kit. Inexpensive kits are available to help you find out the pH of your soil. Use the kit as it says on the label and you will easily get the results.
However, this will tell you how acidic your soil is but not the amount of lime you need to reduce the acidity. To get more accurate results and recommendations you need to use a laboratory that specializes in this matter.
In addition to the pH, you can find out many other soil parameters. As a result, you will be able to improve your soil so that your hostas will be most comfortable.
How to change the acidity of the soil
Let’s say you have determined the pH of your soil and you need to change it. Depending on which way you are going to change the pH, you need to act differently.
If you need to make the soil more acidic, i.e. lower the pH, you need to acidify the soil. The best and most accessible is garden sulfur. You can buy this product in most garden centers or online.
The second product that is good for acidification is gypsum. It can also be found on the market. Whichever product you choose, always follow the instructions on the label.
If you need to lower the acidity of your soil, use garden lime. You can find it on sale at your local home improvement center. Usually such a product also comes with instructions for use.
Always wear gloves when working with these materials. Apply a small amount of amendment at a time. Mix it well with the soil. Check the pH again after a while, and if necessary, add more of the amendment.
How can I make my soil more acidic naturally?
To make the soil more acidic naturally add organic matter to it. This will lower the pH and make the soil more nutritious. In addition, organic matter increases the drainability of the soil and makes it more friable.
Compost works best as organic matter. This material is made from decomposed plants, which means that it is quite acidic. Use only good-quality compost from a reliable supplier.
The second thing you can do is mulch the hosta with organic mulch. This will also acidify the soil a bit. Make sure the mulch layer is no more than 3 to 4 inches. Also, the hosta petioles should not be buried in the mulch.
How do you acidify soil quickly?
Use aluminum sulfate to acidify the soil quickly. This product is widely used to give hydrangeas a blue color. However, you can also use it to change the pH of your hostas.
Aluminum sulfate is fairly easy to find on the market because of its high popularity. This product costs some money but it is worth it since you will get results quite quickly.
The disadvantage of this method is that it works for a shorter period than other products. If you acidify the soil with organics for several years, the effect will be much longer.
Also, avoid overusing aluminum sulfate as it can cause damage to the plants. In large quantities and in too acidic a soil, aluminum is toxic to plants.
Do hostas like peat moss?
Hostas do like peat moss as an addition to the native soil. This means that when planting or transplanting you can add 1-2 buckets of peat moss to the planting hole and mix it with the garden soil.
Since peat moss is acidic and friable it will make the soil lighter and lower the soil pH. All of this will have a good effect on the growth of the hosta.
However, you should avoid planting hostas in pure peat moss as this can have negative consequences. Peat moss without the addition of other soils might be too acidic for the hosta and they will not get all the minerals they need.
As a result, the leaves of the hosta may discolor or turn yellow. In addition, the growth rate can be noticeably reduced.