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Do Azaleas Like Acidic Soil? What pH Do They Prefer?


If you’re planting azaleas or trying to figure out why your azaleas aren’t quite thriving, the pH level of the soil can make a huge difference. But what kind of soil do azaleas like, and how do you change the pH level of the soil?

We’ll answer both questions for you here. That way, you know exactly what you need to get your azaleas to thrive.

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What Is the Ideal pH Level for Azaleas?

Neutral soil is soil with a pH level of 7.0, anything lower than that is considered acidic. With that in mind, azaleas certainly prefer more acidic soil. Azaleas thrive in soil with a pH level between 5.0 and 5.5, which is definitely on the more acidic side of things.

You can plant azaleas in soils with higher pH levels, but you’ll likely notice stunted growth, nutrient deficiencies, and fewer flowers.

3 Tips for Changing the pH Level of Your Soil

If the soil in your area is too alkaline to grow azaleas effectively, you can do a few things to lower the pH level so your azaleas can thrive. Below, we’ve highlighted three different methods you should consider for your azaleas.

1. Pot Them

Blossoming colorful azalea flower in pots greenhouse orangery
Image By: Anastasiia Immortal, Shutterstock

While there are some things you can do to change the acidity level of the inground soil, there’s no doubt that simply putting your azaleas in pots is much easier. That’s because then you can simply purchase soil with the right acidity level and get it perfect every single time.

And if you want to have the “in-ground” look, you can always bury the pots. You will need to fertilize the soil each season, but it’s still far easier than constantly trying to regulate the inground soil pH level.

The tradeoff to potting azaleas is that you’ll either stunt the plant’s growth by using a pot that’s too small or you’ll have to invest in larger and more expensive pots.

2. Use Sulfate or Sulfur

sulfur in wooden table
Image Credit: wasanajai, Shutterstock

If you’re trying to change the pH level for a larger area, using sulfate or sulfur is probably your best solution. Sulfate and sulfur can drastically change the pH level of your soil, but to do it right you’ll need to test the current pH level of the soil and apply the right amount of sulfate or sulfur.

Adding too much or too little won’t give you the results you want, so it’s possible to end up with the wrong pH level even after treating the soil.

3. Use Acidic Mulch

Image Credit: Jenny Johansson, Pixabay

If the soil around your azaleas is only a little too alkaline, simply adding acidic mulch each year might be all you need to do to get the soil to the right pH level. Some acidic mulch options include compost, peat moss, or pine mulch.

Just keep in mind that if the soil is already at an ideal pH level, using acidic mulch might make the soil too acidic for your plants.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know a little more about the kind of soil azaleas like, all that’s left is for you to take some pH measurements and make the necessary adjustments to the soil. It might take a little more work, but when you get the soil at the right pH level it really lets your azaleas thrive!

Featured Image Credit: pixel2013, Pixabay


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