7 Perennials That Thrive In Acidic Soil

Perennials, with their capacity to grace our gardens for more than two years, make for a magnificent and enduring display. Particularly intriguing is their ability to prosper in a variety of soil conditions - even acidic ones!

If you're wondering which floral wonders thrive in such environments, rest easy. This article unveils a curated list of perennials that revel in the tang of acidic soil!

Here are seven perennials that positively bask in acidic conditions:

  1. Azaleas
  2. Hydrangeas
  3. Daffodils
  4. Holly
  5. Dogwood
  6. Caladium
  7. Iris

Gaining a deep understanding of perennials is instrumental in deciding if they are the right fit for your garden.

In this enlightening exploration, we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of perennials, their comparison to their short-lived cousins, the annuals, and the essentials of their care regimen.

Journey with us as we unearth more about the diverse world of perennials and the secrets to their successful cultivation.

A soil meter for measured PH, temperature and moisture at field, 7 Perennials That Thrive In Acidic Soil

What are the Best Perennials for Acidic Soil? 

Seven of the best perennials for acidic soil include azaleas, hydrangeas, daffodils, holly, dogwood, caladium, and iris. 


Pink and red azaleas flowers blooming in spring

Azaleas, native to Asia, Europe, and North America, are shrubs containing small, showy flowers. These flowers can be in various colors, including white, pink, purple, red, yellow, and orange. 

Azaleas bloom in the spring, typically from the end of March to the middle of May. Once they bloom in the spring, they continue to bloom throughout the summer and fall. 

There are several reasons, aside from beauty, that an azalea bush makes a great addition to any yard.

For one, azaleas attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which is great if you're a nature lover. Azaleas are also reasonably easy to care for, and some varieties even repel pests. 

In addition to thriving in acidic soil, azaleas grow best in partial shade. Too much sun can scorch their leaves. You must also plant azaleas in well-drained soil, as planting them in wet soil can result in root rot. 


Various shades of hydrangea flowers from purple and blue to pink and magenta

Native to Asia and the Americas, hydrangeas are perhaps best known for their beautiful, lively colors, which include blue, purple, pink, white, and green.

The color of a hydrangea depends on the soil in which it's planted. If hydrangeas are grown in acidic soil, they will boast a blue hue, but if planted in alkaline soil, they'll be pink.

If you're searching for an acid-loving perennial, you can't do much better than a hydrangea. These plants love acidic soil and can even die without it.

Additionally, most hydrangeas thrive in partial shade; they love the morning sun, but the afternoon sun can scorch them.

These plants also require more water than others, so you should water them about three times a week to keep the soil moist. However, you should be sure not to overwater them, as overwatering results in wilting. 

Hydrangeas come with several benefits, most notably medicinal properties. People use the hydrangea root to treat several medical problems, including urinary conditions, high blood sugar levels, and liver toxicity. So, hydrangeas are not only beautiful; they're also extremely helpful!


Yellow daffodil flowers in the garden

Daffodils are cheerful flowers that boast bright yellow or white hues. They originated in southern Europe and northern Africa but flourish in temperate environments throughout the world.

These flowers bloom a little earlier than azaleas and hydrangeas do, appearing in late winter or early spring. 

Daffodils grow from bulbs, so they prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Ensuring the soil is well-drained is essential because overwatered soil results in the bulb rotting. 

Unlike azaleas and hydrangeas, daffodils thrive in full sun. So, you should plant your daffodils in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sun daily. If the daffodils are planted in partial shade and don't receive a minimum of 6 hours of sun, they will not bloom. 

On top of being bright and beautiful, daffodils are very fragrant. This makes them great flowers to cut and place in a vase, and they will infuse your home with a pleasant scent.

Another great benefit of daffodils is that they attract pollinators, which is advantageous to other plants in your garden. 


Holly leaves with red berries on a sunny day

When people think of holly, they usually think of glossy, dark green leaves and bright red berries.

This kind of holly, English holly, is perhaps the most popular type, especially around the holiday season, but there are actually around 600 species of holly. Holly berries vary by tree species and can be red, black, green, or yellow. 

Hollies thrive in slightly acidic, well-drained soil and full sun. Although, most types of holly can tolerate partial shade. What these plants don't like, however, is being moved once you have planted them. So, be sure to plant hollies in a great spot the first time around to avoid transplanting them. 

One of the significant benefits of hollies is their contribution to wildlife. Their foliage provides shelter for a variety of small animals, and their berries serve as food for several bird species. 


A close-up of dogwood flowers blooming

There are about 60 species of dogwood trees, with one of the most popular being the flowering dogwood.

The flowering dogwood grows anywhere from 20 to 40 feet tall and has white and pink flowers that bloom between the end of March and the middle of May. 

Like daffodils and holly, dogwoods grow best in slightly acidic soil. Dogwoods are generally pretty easy to take care of, so you can plant them in full sun or partial shade.

These trees are a great option if you're looking for a beautiful, acid-loving, low-maintenance perennial. 


Large colorful leaves of caladium plant also known as elephant ears in full bloom during summer

Caladiums, also known as elephant ears or the heart of Jesus, are unique plants that boast green, white, pink, and red patterns. 

Caladiums thrive when they're planted in slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Most types grow the best in partial shade, but some species can tolerate full sun.

These plants are perfect for those looking for something easy to care for and uniquely beautiful. 


Blue iris flowers growing in spring garden

The iris is a gorgeous flower that comes in various colors, including purple, blue, pink, red, white, and yellow.

There are two different types of irises: bearded and beardless. Bearded irises have hairs near the middle of their falls, a term for the plant's outer hanging petals. Conversely, beardless irises lack these beards. 

Irises grow wonderfully in slightly acidic soil, but they can tolerate neutral soil. Regarding sunlight, the majority of irises grow the best in full sun. However, some varieties, such as the crested iris, thrive in partial shade. 

In addition to being beautiful, these flowers are easy to take care of, making them great perennials to choose. 

What is the Difference Between Perennials and Annuals? 

Simply put, perennials regrow every spring, and annuals do not. Annuals only live for one growing season; once they die, they have to be replanted yearly, which is why they're called "annuals."

You do not have to replant perennials yearly, as they grow back once you've planted them. 

What are Some Advantages of Perennials? 

Perennials come with several advantages. One of their primary advantages is less maintenance. Because perennials regrow yearly, you don't have to spend time and money replanting them.

Another major advantage of perennials is that they develop deep, extensive root systems, which allow them to help other plants by bringing water and nutrients to the surface of the soil. So, perennials can help you maintain your other plants. 

What are Some Disadvantages of Perennials? 

Though perennials have some great benefits, they also come with drawbacks. A major drawback of perennials is that they take longer to bloom than annuals.

An annual might be a better option if your main priorities are flowers and finding a plant that blooms quickly.

Additionally, perennials are generally more prone to diseases than annuals are, which can pose a significant problem. 

In Closing

Seven of the best perennials for acidic soil include azaleas, hydrangeas, daffodils, holly, dogwood, caladium, and iris.

Perennials are great plants, as they regrow every spring, saving you the time and money that comes with replanting. Furthermore, many perennials, like the seven on this list, are gorgeous and make any yard look great. 

However, it's important to remember that perennials come with some disadvantages, such as taking longer to bloom than annuals and being more prone to diseases.

Be sure to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of perennials before adding one to your yard, and if you do add one, consider the seven options on our list!

Before you go, check out some of our other articles:

Can You Plant Perennials Before Last Frost? 

When To Plant Perennials [By Zone and State]

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