The Q&A Archives: Acidic Soil

Question: In my yard, I have pine trees and black walnut trees, therefore I have very acidic soil. Could you please recommend a list of flowering plants that would enjoy this environment? This list can include anything varying from trees, shrubs, herbs, or simply flowers. I greatly appreciate your aid.

Answer: In addition to contributing acidity to the soil, walnut trees exude a chemical called juglone that inhibits the growth of most other plants. The list of juglone plants is small, but these should perform well in your gardening region: astilbe, begonia, campanula, Virginia bluebell, chrysanthemum, hollyhock, hosta, iris, lamb's ear, morning glory, pansy, peony, phlox, primrose, spiderwort, stonecrop, sweet woodruff, violet and zinnia. Prior to planting, you'll want to dig the soil and amend it with organic material to help improve the drainage. You can plant under the canopy of the tree, but don't plant too close to the trunk of the tree. To further insure success, remove all husks and leaves from the beds as soon as they fall in the autumn. If left in place, juglone will leach out into the bed during winter rains.

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