Answer: Some plants have a preference for an acid soil, some for a neutral soil, and some for an alkaline soil. Some don't mind much what kind of soil they grow in. The acidity or alkalinity is measured by pH testing and can be adjusted somewhat by the gardener. Acidity affects the way plants handle nutrients. Some such as blueberries and other ericaceous plants are adapted to extremely acid soil and must have that to survive. In the same way, plants that are not adapted to the pH where they are planted will not be able to survive. Dianthus prefers a neutral to alkaline soil. Hydrangeas will perform in a range of soils from somewhat acid to neutral to very slightly alkaline and some varieties will change color depending on the pH -- blue in acid and pink in slightly alkaline. Other hydrangeas will not change color but will be healthier on a slightly acid soil. It is always a good idea to run basic soil tests, including for pH, when starting a garden or doing landscaping. Your county extension can help you with the tests and interpreting the results.
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