Gardening to Grow Plants and Flowers Even with Poor Soils

The Secret is Knowing What Plants to Use

Many people want to be gardeners. But they think they can not do it. They say they don't have a green thumb. They don't have the right soil. Well, if you want a green thumb, sometimes it takes a bit of practice and research for that thumb to begin to turn green. As for the soils, you can grow plants in poor soils. You just have to know the right plants for the right soils. Here are some examples that might help for those gardeners still learning.

Acid Soil:

This is a soil that has a high PH balance. You can find out if your soil has this by buying a home soil testing kit. It only takes a matter of minutes to perform the test. Usually if the PH balance measures more than 6.5 than your soil is not suitable for growing acid loving plants.

What causes our soil to have a high PH balance? Rainwater is slightly acidic, so over time it can play a part. Your soil can also become acidic if there is any lime leached in it through some sort of run off or free draining. Clay soils may also be acidic depending on their make up.

Here are a few examples of some flowers that usually do well in acidic soils:

Begonia - - These are considered half hardy flowers and flowers in the summer through fall. They are also annuals.

Rhododendron - These are considered hardy. They grow from 5 to 10 feet tall. They flower in late spring.

Camellia Japonica - This flower grows to be about 12 feet. It is considered to be moderately hardy and flowers in the spring.

Alkaline soils

This type of soil occurs naturally in limestone areas. But it also can occur because of building's rubble, example would be around bases of walls. If you have this type of soil you may need to use extra compost to increase the nutrient content of the soil.

If you take a soil test and you find your soil testing at a PH of 7.0 or higher than you have an alkaline based soil. Congratulations, there are a lot of varieties in the way of plants that thrive in this type of soil.

When a plant is first planted in this type of soil, it must be watered a lot during dry spells. Over time, it will begin to establish an extensive root system that will help it retain moisture from the ground itself when it doesn't rain. But in the beginning the first layer of soil is so thin that the plant can not absorb or hold much in the way of moisture. By watering it often in dry spells, you are helping it to grow its root system where it can help itself in time.

Here are a few examples of some perennials and ground cover plants that do well in alkaline soil:






Lilac (this is of course a shrub).

Clay soil

Clay soil can be a difficult soil. It can become waterlogged in the winter and bake hard in the summer. Plants growing in clay soil can suffer a lot during the drought season. If you have this type of soil, water your plants daily and be sure to add mulch.

Clay soils can also contain acid, and alkaline. For this reason, you may want to do a soil test.

Yet, do not despair there are plants that like the coolness of clay. Here are a few examples:

Hostas: These are very hardy plants. They flower in late spring. They usually grow about 2 feet in height. They have beautiful foliage and flowers in the late summer.

Day Lilies: These are hardy plants that usually grow about 3 feet. They flower in the summer. They are perennials that are propagated by division in the spring.

Darmera peltata: This plant is also known as an umbrella plant. It is hardy and grows to be about 4 feet, flowering in the spring. It has beautiful green leaves with a touch of pale pink.

Shasta Daisy: This is a hardy plant that has flowers anywhere from late spring to late summer.

As you can see, no matter what soil you have in your yard, you have choices. Do your research and watch as your thumb becomes green with time.