The Q&A Archives: What Grows Well In Alkaline Soil?

Question: I live in a place called Shelltown and the top 12 inches of soil conain many oyster and clam shells. I think this makes my soil very alkaline. I have tried to grow azaleas and comelias but they don't seem to so well in this type of soil. Can you suggest some flowering shrubs and also some small flowering trees that would do well in this soil?

I am hoping to plant some grapes this summer. Will they do well in my soil?

Answer: Very alkaline soils can be challenging to many plants. Those that not only survive, but thrive, include Japanese Cherry, (including Weeping Cherry), Cercis (Judas-tree), flowering crabapple, and black pine. Shrubs include Cistus, Weigela, Buddleia (Butterfly Bush), Hebe, Mugo Pine, Dictamnus (Burning Bush), and Ceratostigma (hardy Plumbago).

Grapes might not balk at the alkaline soil, and you won't know until you try. Buffalo, Niagara and Concord should do provide lots of fruit, or you might check with a local nursery to see which other varieties perform well in your climate.

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