Indoor plants acidic soil

Indoor plants acidic soil

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I have a ponytail tree plant. The new growth look anemic, pale and thin. And several leave have browned from the midway to the ends of the leaves. The stem is woody and firm. Though it is in a solid pot, the soil tests dry, and there seems to be reasonable space for root growth. I have just moved it so it can get eastern morning sun for several hours. I have tested the pH of the soil and it tested to be a pH of 4.0. Can someone help me diagnose and treat my plant.

Thank you.

That's a super low pH, and I kinda doubt it's real. If you used a cheap home test, it's more likely analytic error (not necessarily your fault, it's just a hard thing to measure) than a real result. 4.0 pH is lower than most plants can tolerate--it's in the range of vinegar. Most plants (I have no experience with this species) prefer a slightly acidic soil, ~6.8pH. So, if your pH is really 4.0, then that's almost certainly a problem. It messes up the cation-exchange capacity of the soil, so even if you fertilize, the plant can't access the nutrients.

You can easily amend with some lime--if you don't want to dig it up, you can just scratch it into the top of the soil, and water through it. It will leech down through the pot. Hope that helps.

10 plants for acid soils

High soil acidity is usually caused by the breakdown of organic matter, so it’s often found in woodland, due to the abundance of fallen leaves. For example, beech woodland has an average soil pH of 3.5-4.5.

You can test the pH of of your own soil using a soil testing kit (on a scale of 1 to 14, acid is between 1 and 7). If it’s slightly acidic, you can grow a huge range of plants. But the more acidic the soil, the more limited your choice will be.

To find out how to keep ericaceous plants happy, check out our advice on how to garden on acid soil.

Browse our choice of plants that thrive on acid soil, below.


All magnolias will relish growing in acidic soil. The pink chalice-shaped flowers of Magnolia x veitchii open in early spring on bare branches. Young leaves are tinged purple, turning green as they mature. Grow it in moist but well-drained, neutral to acid soil, in sun or part shade.

Liriope muscari

Lilyturf, Liriope muscari, is an evergreen perennial with neat, low, grassy foliage and prolific flowers shaped like elongated grape hyacinths, and in a similar blue. It tolerates dry soil, shade and acid soil.

Japanese anemones

Japanese anemones are incredibly versatile and grow almost anywhere, except in waterlogged soil. Flowers come in either white or shades of pink. ‘Pretty Lady Susan’ is a variety that has a compact habit.

Trillium erectum

Although predominantly beetroot coloured, trillium flowers can also be white, yellow or purple. Unlike many trilliums, Trillium erectum has plain green, rather than variegated leaves.


Also known as California lilac, ceanothus is perfect for acidic soils in sunny locations. This variety makes a compact shrub with glossy, oval, dark-green leaves and blue flowers in late spring.

Calluna vulgaris

Also known as summer heather, Calluna vulgaris is a low-growing perennial heather that flowers from late summer to late autumn. To prolong flowering, trim off the old flower spikes.

Pieris japonica

Best in acid or neutral soils, Pieris japonica is an essential spring border shrub. ‘Firecrest’ is a cultivar with dark green, leathery leaves, tinged pink in spring, and drooping white flowers.

Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus)

A European relative of the American blueberry, the bilberry is found on heaths, moors and woodlands. Small, white, tubular flowers in spring are followed by blue-black berries in summer.


Camellias thrive in acid soil, producing an abundance of colourful flowers from late winter through to spring. The variety pictured, ‘Water Lily’, produces large, double, rose-pink blooms from April.

Gardening on alkaline soil?

If you’ve alkaline soil in your garden, don’t let that stop you from growing ericaceous (acid-loving) plants. Raised beds and containers can be filled with ericaceous compost, and kept acidic with applications of sulphur or ferrous sulphate.

Does Jade Plant Like Acidic Soil?

Yes, Jade plants do like acidic soil.

It’s the perfect soil for this type of succulents, as it does well between a pH level of 6.1 and 6.5.

Having said that, the Jade plant is native to South Africa, where the conditions are relatively harsh for the plants.

This is why the plant has adapted itself to thrive in difficult growing conditions.

So, even if you don’t have acidic soil, it won’t make much of a difference to this plant.

It will still do alright in slightly alkaline soil.

However, the pH level of your potting soil should always be in a moderate range.

It shouldn’t be too low or high.

Otherwise, the plant will have difficulties in growing in such conditions.

Below, I have shared a few tips on maintaining the pH level of your soil and making it more acidic for the Jade plant.

Acid Soils: Origin, Classification, Effects and Reclamation

Read this article to learn about Acid Soils: Origin, Classification, Effects and Reclamation !

Soils with pH values below 7 are acid soils.

In the regions of high rainfall, soils are acidic in their reaction because of the facts that soluble basic salts such as those of Ca, Mg, K, Na, are leached away by drainage water and insoluble acidic residues composed chiefly of oxides and silicates of iron, silicon, aluminium are left which accumulate in pretty high amount. These salts are acidic in reaction, hence the soils are acidic. Besides that reason, there may be other causes also which produce acidity in the soil.

Important factors which produce acidity in soil are as follows:

(1) Continuous removal of lime and other base elements by crops and accumulation of acids contained in the manures.

(2) Application of acid forming fertilizers in the soil.

(4) Formation of soil on the acidic rocks.

In India acid soils occur in the high rainfall areas covering about 25 million hectares of land with a pH below 5.5 and 23 million hectares of land with a pH between 5.6 and 6.5. These estimates are calculated by Bhaumik, H.D. and Donahue, Roy, L., 1964 (Reference: Soil acidity and the use of lime in India. Farm Information unit. Directorate of Extension, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of India). In India, acid soils occur in Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, NEFA, Manipur, Tripura, West Bengal, Bihar Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, M.P., Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat are the only states in India where acid soils do not occur.

Very few plants can grow well in strong acid soils. Soil acidity below pH value 5.5 is generally injurious to plants. Plant roots are badly affected if the pH value exceed limits of tolerance for particular crops. High degree of soil acidity (pH 5 to 6.5) decreases the availability of plant nutrients particularly phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, molybdenum, iron, manganese, potassium sulphur nitrogen, boron, copper and zinc. It also affects adversely the important microbiological processes, such as nitrogen fixation by Azotobacter, Clostridium and nodule inhabiting bacteria (Rhizobia) of leguminous plants.

Several factors are responsible for the origin of acid soils. Generally climate, hydrologic cycle vegetation, parent rocks and human interference play important roles in the origin and development of acid soils. Acid soils occur generally in humid regions where the rainfall is regular and very heavy. Dry regions are devoid of acid soils.

In humid regions where evaporation is less than precipitation, chances for the development of acid soils are good. For the development of acid soils it is also necessary that water percolating down the soil profiles must reach the water table. In India, it is believed that the regions with acid soils must receive more than 750 mm annual rainfall. The regions with annual rainfall 1350 mm may have acid soils with pH value 5.0 or even less than that.

In temperate regions the acid soils can develop even if the rainfall is scanty. In hilly regions where the loss of water through evaporation is very slow due to very low temperature the conditions for the development of acid soils are very favourable, although the rainfall is scanty there.

In temperate regions or hilly areas covered with conifers the acid soils can develop easily. According to Bloomfield (1953), the foliage leaves of conifers lack alkali elements and their mineralization process is very slow When the leaf-litter on the ground is degraded organic acids are released which gradually make the soils acidic. Plants found in the coastal regions and marshy places after death and decay produce acids which render the soils acidic.

Though the development of acid soils is possible on all types of rocks and parental rock materials in presence of favourable climate and vegetation, yet the development of acid soils on alkaline rocks take longer time as compared to the acid soils developing on the acidic parental rocks. Acid soils develop more quickly from parental rock materials with simple composition than from the parental rock materials of complex composition. It is so on account of presence of less adsorbed cations, poor buffering capacity and quick percolation of water through them.

Sloppy places with good drainage conditions are supposed to be good for the development of acid soils. On hill slopes, the development of acid soils is easy. Acid soils do not develop generally in river basins. The plains with good drainage may also develop acid soils in due course of time.

Continuous efforts by man for developing permanently submerged areas into cultivable land, or for improving drainage in submerged or saline lands, regular use of nitrogen fertilizers like ammonium sulphate which cause acidity in the soils are responsible for decrease of soil pH. In urban areas, industrial wastes containing sulphur or sulphur dioxide also contribute much in the development of acid soils.

Classification of Acid Soils:

According to the intensity of acidity, the acid soils are of the following five types:

(1) Slight acidic (pH range 6.6 to 6.1)

(2) Medium acidic (pH 6.0 to 5.6)

(3) Strong acidic (pH 5.5 to 5.1)

(4) Very strong acidic (pH 5.0 to 4.6)

(5) Extremely strong acidic (pH 4.5 or lower)

Acid soils occurring in different climatic regions are classified as follows:

(i) Acid soils of temperate climate including podzol, brown podzol, grey brown podzol, brown forest soils, and grey forest soils.

(ii) Acid soil of tropical and subtropical climates including yellow podzolic soil, lateritic soil and latosols.

(iii) Acid soils of other great soil groups including wet soils (hydromorphic soils), washed peaty soils, mucky, cat-clay (acid sulphate) soils. Cat-clay or acid sulphate soils with pH 3.5 or lower are the soils that abound in organic material as well as H2SO4.

According to soil classification system (1970) developed by U.S. Soil Scientists, soils of the world have been classified into 10 soil orders. Among these Aridisols, Vertisols and Mollisols are nonacid soils and the remaining 7 orders contain acid soils. But acid soils occur mainly in three orders, Oxisols, Alfisols and Histosols. In modem soil classification soil orders have been divided into suborders. Suborders Humox, Humod, Aqualf and Udalf include acid soils.

In modem system of soil classification, acid sulphate soils have been assigned separate position and these soils have been placed in a group called sulpha-aquepts. This group includes soils in which the top horizon contains sulphuric horizon at some level or the other in top 25 cm thick layer. This is mineral or organic sublayer with yellow colouration due to xarocite.

Acid sulphate soils of tropics possibly belong to Typic Sulpha-aquepts and those of temperate regions are mainly Typic Sulpha-aquepts and Hapla aquepts. Mineral and organic soils rich in sulphur which remain regularly submerged are referred to as sulphidic soils. Since such soils develop under the influence of saline water which is rich in sulphur, they are placed in Halic subgroup.

Mandal (1974) has classified acid soils of India into the following seven groups:

2. Lateritic and laterite red soils

In this classification, acid sulphate soils and degraded alkali soils have not been assigned proper places. Nevertheless, it would be appropriate if they are classed with acid soils as the pH levels of such soils indicate that they are acidic in nature.

Recently Mishra, S.G. (1976) has suggested that the acid soils should be classified into the following two categories on the basis of organic contents in them:

(1) Acid mineral soils (organic matter less than 20%)

(2) Acid organic soils (organic matter 20% or more)

Such soils are further classified into the following three subgroups:

(i) Acid mineral soils rich in organic matter in upper layer:

Such soils are commonly found in temperate and sub-temperate regions and develop by podsolization process. Since these regions are covered with thick forest vegetation, the surfaces of such soils are covered with decomposing organic matter. The degradation of organic matter results in the organic acids, such as citric acid, acetic acid, oxalic acid and so on. Microbial degradation of organic matter also produces CO2, which combines with water to form carbonic acid (H2CO3).

These acids along with rain water percolate down through soil profiles. Along with these acids and rain water sesqui oxides are also leached out from the upper horizons and become deposited in lower horizons. This depletion of sesqui oxides from the top layer and their accumulation in lower sub layers is referred to as Podsolization and such soils are called Podzols.

(ii) Acid mineral soils devoid of organic layer:

Acid mineral soils found in plains usually do not possess organic layer. Such soils originate mainly as a result of laterisation and part due to podzolisation process. Laterite soils, Red soils, and hydromorphic acid soils found in India belong to this category.

Such soils originate in the following ways:

(a) CO2 of atmosphere as well as of soil dissolves in water to form carbonic acid (H2CO3) which, when percolates down the soil profiles, degrades carbonates and primary minerals present in the soils and make the soil acidic.

(b) In tropics, at high temperatures maximum degradation of silica takes place and in top soil layer the quantity of sesqui oxides increases. This process is referred to as laterisation. Laterite and Red loam soils found in India have probably originated through this process. At low temperatures Yellow red Podzolic and Grey Podzolic soils originate which are less acidic.

(iii) Degraded alkali soils:

The top layer of some alkali soils shows a pH value less than 7 due to desalinisation or dealkalization. Such soils are referred to as degraded alkali soils. In this process. The alkali salts are washed by irrigation or rain water and exchangeable Na ions of soils are displaced by H + ions of water.

According to the amount of organic matter, acid organic soils can be classified into the following two types:

Peaty soil are characterised by presence of poorly degraded organic matter In India, peaty soils occur in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and other Hill states.

Such soils contain highly degraded organic matter. They have relatively higher pH values than the peaty soils. Thus they are less acidic. Mucky soils are also found in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, and some other states.

Effects of Soil Acidity on Plants:

Soil acidity affects the plants both directly and indirectly.

These effects are briefly mentioned below:

(a) Toxic effects of low H + ion concentrations on root tissues.

(b) Influence of soil acidity on the permeability of the plasma membrane for cations.

(c) Disturbance in the balance between basic and acid constituents through roots.

(d) Affects enzymatic processes since enzymes are particularly sensitive to pH changes Different crop plants have their specific optimum pH requirement. Rice, oat and linseed can endure a fairly acidic reaction (pH = 5.0) while barley, sugar-beet, lucerne etc. can tolerate a fairly alkaline reaction (pH = 8.0)

These are listed below:

(a) Availability of various nutrients, e.g., phosphorous, copper, and zinc.

(b) High solubility and availability of elements like aluminium, manganese and iron in toxic amount due to high acidity in the soil.

(c) Deficiency of some nutrients such as calcium and potassium due to soil acidity.

(d) Prevalence of plant diseases.

(e) Beneficial activities of soil microbes are adversely affected.

Reclamation of Acid Soils or Correction of Soil Acidity:

Acidity of soil is due to predominance of H + ions over OH – ions, the bulk of H + ions being held in close association with clay-organic colloid complex. Strong acid soils are not much productive. The soils which are less productive owing to high degree of acidity can be made more productive by liming (application lime).

When lime is added to moist soil, the soil solution becomes charged with cations and the exchangeable hydrogen and aluminium ions on clay-organic colloid complex as well as the H + ionsmsoil solution are displaced by calcium ions. Hydrogen combines with OH – to form neutral water or with CO3 or HCO3 – to form unstable H2CO3, which readily dissociates to form CO2 and water.

Acidity of soil can also be corrected by adding exchangeable Mg ++ to exchange complex But addition of or Mg ++ or both to the soil will not necessarily solve the problem of soil acidity.

The important points to be considered in liming are:

(i) The salts of these elements which are going to supply these ions (Ca ++ or Mg ++ ) and

(ii) The overall reactions of salts in the soils Salts of strong acids as gypsum (CaSO4) or calcium chloride (CaCl2) can be applied to supply calcium 10ns to the soils but it is worth considering what will be the effects of these salts on soil acidity. The application of these salts will indeed increase the acidity in the soil, instead of decreasing it. Therefore, it is suggested that calcium salts of strong acids must not be applied for correcting the acidity of soils.

More than 90 per cent of the lime used in agriculture for reclamation of acid soils IS generally in the form of calcium carbonate, some in calcium and magnesium carbonates, and much smaller quantity in the form of calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide. To a chemist lime is calcium oxide but to a farmer, agronomist or soil scientist lime usually means calcium carbonate or calcium carbonate equivalents.

The common liming materials used for reclamation of acid soils are as follows:

(1) Calcic limestone (CaCO3) which is ground limestone.

(3) Quick lime (CaO) which is burnt limestone.

(4) Hydrated (slaked) lime [Ca (OH) 2].

(7) Slags Obtained as by-products from iron and steel plants, slags are used in agriculture for reclaiming acid soils.

The slags are of three types:

(iii) Electric furnace slag.

These slags are rich in phosphorus and mixture of CaO and CaCOH)2. Besides, Ca, Mg, Al, silicates are also present in them.

(8) Press-mud. It is obtained from carbonation plants of sugar mills. Press mud and some other matters containing calcium are used to decrease acidityinthe soils.

(9) Miscellaneous sources of lime, such as, wood ash, ground oyster shells, by-product lime resulting from paper mills, tanneries, water softening plants, and by product CaCO3 form fertilizer factories using gypsum process (such as Sindri Fertilizer Factory, Bihar, India).

The rate of lime application should always be determined after soil testing. When excessive amount of lime is applied to sandy soils low in humus, injury to plants may be caused which may be attributed to one or more of reasons listed below:

(2) Iron, manganese and zinc deficiency.

(3) Reduced availability of phosphorus to a critically low level.

(4) Reduced potassium uptake.

Such injurious effects may be reduced by application of large amount of compost manure, green manure crops, phosphorus fertilizers, boron or a mixture of minor elements.

While applying liming agents of acid soils, the following points must be taken into consideration:

(i) The liming agents should be used in highly powdered state. The smaller the particles of liming agents the greater will be their effectiveness in correcting the soil acidity.

(ii) Liming materials should be in direct contact with clay Organic exchange complex so that H+ ions of exchange complex may be easily displaced by Ca ++ ions.

(iii) Liming agents should be applied to soils at least one month before sowing the crops or they should be applied thoroughly mixed with soils just after harvesting the crops.

Important Roles of Liming Agents in Soils:

(1) Liming agents reduce soil acidity and stabilize pH of the soils.

(2) Lime makes phosphorus easily available. This is true mainly because in acid soils phosphorus is fixed by soluble iron and aluminium. Liming reduces the solubility of iron and aluminium and therefore less phosphorus is held in these insoluble and unavailable forms.

(3) Lime makes potassium more efficient in plant nutrition. When K is in sufficient amount in soil plants absorb more potassium than is actually needed but at the same time when lime is available in plenty, plants take up more calcium and less potassium. Economically liming is more desirable because plants absorb more cheap Ca. than expensive potassium.

(4) Lime enhances the decomposition of organic matter, thereby increases the availability of nitrogen and other nutrients locked up in complex forms to plants.

(5) Lime promotes beneficial activities of soil bacteria.

(6) Liming programme extended over a period of years improves the physical conditions of the soil by causing granulation of soil particles, decreasing its bulk density, and increasing its infiltration rate.

(7) Ca and Mg found in liming agents, particularly in Dolomite act as essential elements in the nutrition of plants.

(8) Lime converts toxic elements such as aluminium, Mn, Fe of the soil in insoluble and harmless compounds.

Acid Tolerance in Crops:

Some plants are adversely affected and they suffer injuries when grown in acid soils. Familiar crops which can endure fairly acidic soil conditions are oat, rice and linseed and those which are not adapted to acid soils are wheat, barley, cabbage, sorghum (Jowar), tobacco, lettuce, spinach, onion, eggplant or brinjal.

How do crop plants tolerate acid soils? Mechanisms of aluminum tolerance and phosphorous efficiency

Acid soils significantly limit crop production worldwide because approximately 50% of the world's potentially arable soils are acidic. Because acid soils are such an important constraint to agriculture, understanding the mechanisms and genes conferring tolerance to acid soil stress has been a focus of intense research interest over the past decade. The primary limitations on acid soils are toxic levels of aluminum (Al) and manganese (Mn), as well as suboptimal levels of phosphorous (P). This review examines our current understanding of the physiological, genetic, and molecular basis for crop Al tolerance, as well as reviews the emerging area of P efficiency, which involves the genetically based ability of some crop genotypes to tolerate P deficiency stress on acid soils. These are interesting times for this field because researchers are on the verge of identifying some of the genes that confer Al tolerance in crop plants these discoveries will open up new avenues of molecular/physiological inquiry that should greatly advance our understanding of these tolerance mechanisms. Additionally, these breakthroughs will provide new molecular resources for improving crop Al tolerance via both molecular-assisted breeding and biotechnology.

How to Get Rid of Mold in Plant Soil

If the soil in the pot smells of rot and is covered with plaque, change the watering schedule of the plant. You have to reduce the volume of water and also the frequency of watering.

Some plants do not need frequent watering and feel good in slightly moist soil. Overwatering of such plants will cause their roots to rot due to mold/fungal infection.

If you water the flowers less frequently but abundantly, you will have to loosen the soil. Do this deep enough, but be careful not to damage the roots.

You can get rid of the mold in pot soil without damaging the plant as follows:

  1. Remove the topsoil (if this is not done, the infection will penetrate deeper, the roots will rot and the plant will die).
  2. Dilute citric acid/ lemon juice in a glass of water. Moisten the lower layers of the soil with the prepared liquid (the acidic medium prevents the mold from multiplying).
  3. Replace the removed topsoil with a new one. Add fungal agents to it. It is recommended to add crushed sphagnum (a genus of moss growing in swamps from which peat is produced) and pieces of charcoal to the soil. Their additional property is to filter components for incoming moisture.
  4. Disinfect the soil drying it out in direct sunlight. You can also try oven drying to disinfect the soil. Oven drying is quick and effective.
  5. Mix 8 ml of Liquid Copper Fungicide to 1L water. (A fungicide that effectively fights against diseases of indoor and garden plants). Treat the infected soil with the prepared solution. If the infection has spread to the plant, carefully treat it with the same solution.
  6. To ensure the result of the treatment, loosen the topsoil from time to time (so that the liquid does not stagnate and distribute evenly).

If the soil in the pot is again covered with white mold, dissolve half a teaspoon of citric acid/lemon juice in a glass of water. Then water the plant with this mixture at least 2 times a month.

Besides the above mentioned quick steps. Now lets learn about the effective and comprehensive methods to get rid of mold in flower pots.

Backfilling With Moisture-intensive Material

Before the start of “rescue operation” it is necessary to eliminate the main centers of defeat. To do this, you have to remove the top layer of the ground infected with the main mold.

If spores have not penetrated deep into the pot, stop panicking and take care of preventing new fungi.

Bulk materials are great for combating mold and preventing fungal reproduction. Perlite, vermiculite, fine expanded clay, river sand have two excellent qualities: moisture retaining capacity and permeability.

They are able to absorb the excess moisture and contribute to better aeration of the ground in the pot. It helps prevent stagnation of water, which is a favorable condition for mold to grow.

Cover the surface of the affected pot with one of the bulk materials. For best results, add about 30% pearlite or river sand to the soil at the next transplant.

Moss sphagnum also has the ability to absorb excess moisture. Place Pieces of moss on the soil surface to restore the water and acid balance.

Transplanting plants

Transplanting is a quick and efficient way to get rid of mold in plant soil. This is a drastic measure to keep your plant healthy. If you want to free your mind from doubt then go for comprehensive transplanting your plant.

You should carry out this procedure according to the following rules:

  • Choose a new pot so that it matches the size of the plant.
  • Correctly select the soil, taking into account the type and characteristics of a houseplant.
  • Free the plant from the old soil.
  • Fill a new pot with drainage holes.
  • Make holes in the bottom if none are available.
  • Rinse the roots in a weak solution of potassium permanganate.

If it is not possible to buy or collect new soil, you can disinfect the old one. To do this, you need to remove it from the plant pot.

And pour it over with steep boiling water. Then warm well in the oven. Wait until the earth cools down, then again plant in a pre-processed pot.

So, you need to move the plant to a new pot. Also, completely remove the old soil and add fresh soil. Select the fresh new soil keeping the goal in mind.

This selection will depend on type of plant, transplantation rules and more. Before transplanting, find out in advance which humidity level is best for each plant.

Here is a helpful video on how you should transplant houseplants:

After transplantation, you must:

  • Keep an eye on the plant. And, at the first sign of wilting, treat the soil and the aerial parts with bio-fungicides. Check the latest price of bio fungicide here.
  • Fertilize your plant regularly. Because fungus and transplants weakened the plant
  • Loosen the soil so that the lower layers receive enough oxygen and water does not stagnate.

The use of baking soda

Another very effective and inexpensive way to combat mold in plant pots is normal baking soda. It is better to use it in combination with other antifungal agents. Since the action of soda is targeted more to the plant itself than to the soil.

Soda solution can help a plant that has already been affected by mold. To do this, add a tablespoon of baking soda and a little detergent or liquid soap to a liter of warm water. Soap promotes the degreasing of leaves and plant stalk, which allows the solution to better stick to the affected areas.

With this mixture, you need to wipe the plant every couple of days. If the result is positive then continue it once every couple of weeks for prevention.

Use Coal As Disinfectant

Coal has not only an absorbent but also a disinfecting element. You have to sprinkle the surface of moldy soil with charcoal.

It will be effective if you grind coal, because the smaller the grinding, the better. You can sprinkle the root neck and the base of the potted plant.

Coal will kill the mold spore and have a beneficial effect on soil conditions. It is useful to add it to the soil not only when mold occurs, but also for prevention.

When you are using coal to eliminate mold, there are several important rules to follow:

  • You must change the coal layer every few days. Absorbing pathogenic spores, it becomes an excellent medium for the reproduction of bacteria and new colonies of fungi.
  • If you use activated charcoal pellets, in no case you should put them in the pot as a whole. Actively absorbing moisture, the pellet also becomes a breeding ground for mold growth.

Watering The Soil with Special Agents

You can find a lot of antifungal agents in any plant shop or amazon. But in some cases their effectiveness is very questionable.

I have experience in working with farmers and gardeners. From my experience, I can say that potassium permanganate works very effectively to get rid of mold from pot soil.

Besides perfectly killing various types of spores, it provides necessary potassium to the plants. Potassium is especially needed by young and immature plants.

Remove Mold from Infected Plant Soil

You have mold in the potting soil of the plant. So, you are looking for a way to remove it completely.

No worries! There is a solution to this problem. And the best part is it’s very easy. I’ll walk you through this step by step process.

  • To do this, you need good-quality soil, a plant container, filtered water, oxalic acid or lemon juice, a colander, and saucepan.
  • Now what to do if you still have the problem in spite of following the water frequency? Well, in this case, you should try replacing the topsoil. I have seen results doing this. You should do this so that the disease does not take root and penetrate plant tissue.
  • You have to rinse the plant pot with watering. Rinsing it with normal water is not enough. You need to use boiling water to disinfect it completely. Then let the pot dry in the direct sunlight.
  • Make sure to have a good drainage system in the pot. Clean the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Use brick chips or gravels at the bottom to ensure good drainage through the holes.
  • Now, you must calcine the new soil on a stove or in an oven. Even purchased soil mix is often infected with mold. It is better if you steam it before using it in the pot. For steaming, pour soil into a colander and place it over a boiling pan.

This way you can get rid of the fungus or mold from your potting mix soil. The good thing about this method is that the soil will be free from mold in the future.

There are some rules to follow when watering your indoor plants. You should not water your plants more frequently. Let the potting soil dry and then water with small quantities.

Keep the normal water for 1-2 days to let it settle down a bit. Then you use the topwater for your plant leaving the sediment. Now you know how to get rid of the mold in plant soil.

Soil Disinfection

To rid the earth of infection and mold smell, disinfect it completely. Here’s how to it step by step:

  1. Separate the infected soil from the roots of the plant.
  2. Move the soil from the plant pot to another container.
  3. Pour boiled water over the soil.
  4. Place the soil on a baking tray and calculate it in the oven.
  5. Wait until the substrate cools down.
  6. Treat the pot with disinfectants (you can also burn it with open fire).
  7. Fill the soil and plant back into the pot.

Chemical treatment

You can also get rid of molds with the help of chemical agents. These chemical agents are available in plant stores and amazon. Before you go for the purchase, you should find out:

  • soil type
  • How often you watered the plant
  • the characteristics of the plant
  • the degree of mold development and its characteristics
  • whether fertilizers were used and which ones.

These facts are very important in the selection of fungicides. Because if it is wrong, the result will be opposite.

The plant may die from an overdose of chemical compounds. Nevertheless, you should prefer organic based antifungal components.

Such agents make the soil unfavorable for the development of fungal spores. The most common is fundazole. This tool is safe for indoor plants, so they can handle the leaves and trunk.

Elements of Acidic Potting Soil

Many manufacturers offer potting soil blends that are explicitly labeled for use with acid-loving plants. While these are often a safe bet, shopping for potting soil isn't always so easy. If you're planning to grow a plant that favors acidic soil in a container, it pays to keep an eye out for certain elements in the potting soil you purchase.

Expanded shale, for instance, can be a big boon, as shale is one of the key acid producers in soils that occurs in the natural world. The same goes for decomposed granite. Like shale and charcoal, it can also be used as a drainage bed for potted plants that like acidic soils.

Likewise, look for mixes that have added ingredients like cottonseed oil meal. Commonly used as a fertilizer, this natural additive slowly releases nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium into the soil and lowers pH levels. It's also safe to use for most plants without the risk of burning them.

What causes the soil to become acidic?

Organic matter and minerals are basically acidic in nature. When the organic matter breaks down and the material starts to decompose that causes the soil pH level to acidify. Organic matter promotes microbial activity by microorganism that also causes the soil to acidify. Moreover, some plant growth produces organic acids into the soil that acidifies the soil.

The use of chemical fertilizer causes the soil to become acidic. Chemical fertilizers with high nitrogen synthetic are ammonia based, the continuous application of this fertilizer increases soil acidity.

Leaching because of irrigation, excessive rainfall or excessive watering causes the soil to become more acidic. Excessive water washes away all the important nutrients like magnesium, potassium and calcium. Lack of these nutrients causes the soil pH level to drop, which in turn causes the soil to become acidic. Additionally, rainfall is already slightly acidic in nature.

Acidic Soils

Soils with pH ranging from 5.6 to 6.0 are considered moderately acid, while strongly acid and very strongly acidic soils have pH ranging from 5.1-5.5 to <5.0, respectively. Crops have difficulty establishing and show a decline in productivity and yield in soils with a pH below 6.0.

When soil pH is less than 5.5, the soil is very acidic and likely has high levels of aluminum and/or iron, alongside lower content of calcium and magnesium. Low pH reduces availability of nutrients such as phosphorus and molybdenum, affects nitrogen fixation and causes crop toxicity with elements such as aluminum or manganese that become more soluble at a lower pH. Soil liming may be necessary when the pH is less than 6.0. Additionally, root growth can increase by 40% when pH rises from 5.5 to 7.2.

What Causes Soils to become Acid?

Acidic soils tend to be high in iron and aluminum oxides, as they are the slowest minerals to weather in soil. Aluminum in these increasingly acidic soils is solubilized and will combine with water to release additional hydrogen ions contributing to further acidity. Soils in areas with large amounts of rainfall tend to be acidic because the water leaches basic cations such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium out of the soil profile, leaving room for acidic cations such as hydrogen and aluminum.

The parent substrate from which the soil developed can be a source of acidity. For instance, soils developed from land with high organic matter containing conifers or with high contents of iron or aluminum tend to be acidic. Acidity can also be increased by several additional factors, including the nitrification of ammonium fertilizers, which yields hydrogen ions.

Consequences of Soil Acidity

Low pH caused by soil acidity increases the solubility of zinc, manganese, iron and aluminum, which can lead to rapid accumulation and toxicity. As well, the high levels of aluminum and iron in acid soil cause tie-up, reducing phosphorus availability molybdenum becomes less available to plants, which affects nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and utilization, restricts root growth and reduces nodulation in pulse crops microbial activity, the decomposition of organic matter and mineralization are negatively affected and, under acid conditions, calcium, magnesium, and potassium deficiencies become more pronounced.

Improving Acidic Soils

A common and economical way to raise the pH of the soil is by liming. The amount of lime material required depends on the pH of the untreated soil and the desired pH to grow the crop, the amount of soluble and exchangeable acidity, the crop’s tolerance to acidity/alkalinity, the amount of organic matter in the soil, and the type of clay present in the soil. Lime is most effective at neutralizing acidity when it is incorporated or tilled into the soil to the full depth of the root zone.

OMEX has developed several products that complement liming and can help mitigate the effects of aluminum toxicity:

    , Pulse Pak and Primer Soybeans – Applied to seeds prior to sowing, these calcium-based seed primers protect the emerging radicle from the toxic effect of aluminum, encourage nodulation, and provide a sufficient amount of molybdenum unavailable in acidic soils. – This in-furrow liquid Starter improves efficiency of phosphorus, diminished due to aluminum or iron tie-up. TPA is formulated with a patented Thermo Poly Aspartate molecule with a high CEC that breaks the bonds between aluminum/iron and phosphorus, rendering the latter more available to the plants.
  • Sequestri-Cal – Is a calcium-based product designed for tank-mixing with in-furrow applied starter and is able to improve pH around the root zone of the seedlings.

In addition, we offer various sources of calcium and magnesium to help increase soil pH, and humates that can be used to improve soil’s organic matter content and biological activity.

Shipping Info

Once your Acidic Potting Soil order is placed, we will ship your plant(s) within seven business days year round unless during the checkout process you request otherwise in the space provided to do so.

Perfect Plants’ shipping specialists carefully package your plants using a proven packaging method that ensures your plants arrive healthy, colorfully alive and ready to flourish. We’ve coined the term ‘upside down box test’ and we do just that we carefully package so that regardless of the direction your box is handled, it will not harm your precious plant that’s inside.

No shipping process is without a problem from time to time. On rare occasions some plants may experience some of the following during their transit: drooping, minor leaf-loss and/or minimal yellowing/discoloration, minor limb damage, etc. These instances are quite rare, but can happen when shipping plants in boxes.

Plants normally recover within a few weeks after planting. If a damaged box has injured your plant on the inside, please notify us within 5 days of receiving you package(s) by emailing us a photograph of the damage.

We always do our very best to ensure that your plants are packed and shipped in the safest, gentlest and most effective way possible.

Will my plants and trees look like the photographs?

Absolutely! Unlike other online nurseries, our photos are of actual plants and trees we’ve grown here, on our family operated nursery.

Growing our own plants and trees helps to ensure we ship you the best quality plants that are free of pests and diseases.

Your plants and trees may however not ship with flowers on them, like the photographs. This all depends on the time of year you buy your plant or tree. Crape Myrtle trees, for example, only bloom during the summer months, so if you purchase one during the spring or fall, they would ship without flowers. Once planted, your plants will grow and thrive giving you flowers for many years to come!

Pot Sizes

Pot sizes (commonly referred to in gallons) are shipped in the same size nursery trade pots which may vary in actual volume. Some plants may have been at the approximate pot size listed, but require excess dirt to be removed so that you will not be paying any additional shipping costs. This doesn’t happen very often though.

Shipping Fees

Our shipping charges are based on the value of your order. Please use the chart below to see what your shipping charge will be.

Choose a planting location that offers adequate sunlight and shade in a low traffic area. Allow proper clearance for the mature growth size. Well-drained soil is ideal. Water regularly for the first planted year to ensure adequate water is available for establishing a strong root system. Prune as necessary to remove any damaged or dead foliage and to promote a well-balanced structure.

Planting Instructions:

Dig a hole approximately twice as wide as your new plant’s root ball and deep enough so that the top of the root ball is equal with the ground level.

Loosen the root ball using a small garden spade or by hand. Breaking smaller outer roots can encourage growth into the new soil, but take care to not damage large primary roots.

Place the plant in the hole and ensure that it is situated evenly upright. Use the excavated soil to fill in around the root ball, using your foot to pack it in firmly. Thoroughly soak with a hose as you fill in the dirt. Take great care to not leave any gaps or air spaces around the root ball as this could kill the plant.

A 2-4 inch layer of mulch is strongly recommended to help retain moisture and discourage weed growth. Apply mulch over the entire planting area but keep away from the stems or trunk by a few inches. Ensure that the plant and surrounding soil is completely soaked with water.

To ensure the proper nutrients are available for the life of your plant our proprietary Perfect Plants Special Blend Soil and a once yearly application of Nutricote Total 360 Fertilizer are great considerations for your new plants!