Soil PH Preferences for Garden Shrubs

How to use the information in the chart. To make the best of the lists, group plants with similar soil requirements. Also, avoid planting trees, shrubs, vegetables, flowers and herbs in an unsuitable pH. For example, lilac bushes won’t do much if their feet are sitting in acid soil, while potatoes will be dotted with scab if the soil is too sweet.
(Note: Don’t use them as your only guide because other factors may lead to poor performance.)

Plants are listed here in columns according to the pH level they prefer. Note that some are very sensitive to pH levels outside their tolerant range, in which case they will appear in more than one column even though they are colored yellow as being “sensitive”.

This green background means that this is an ideal pH for this plant.
This background is the ideal pH for this sensitive plant
This background means that this plant is very sensitive to the pH level of the soil.
pH 4.5 pH 5.25 pH 6.0 pH 6.75 pH 7.5
Azalea American Laurel
(Kalmia)
American laurel
(Kalmia)
Barberry
(Berberis)
Adam’s needle
(Yucca)
Bilberry
(Vaccinium)
Azalea Boronia Blackcurrant (Ribes) Barberry (Berberis)
Camelia Boronia Californian lilac (Ceanothus) Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus) Blackcurrant (Ribes)
Chillean pernettya (Pernettya) Californian lilac (Ceanothus) Cinquefoil (Potentilla) Box (Buxus) Boston Ivy
Flame of the forest (Pieris) Camelia Clematis Bridal wreath (Spirea arguta) Bridal wreath (Spirea arguta)
Heather (Erica) Cinquefoil (Potentilla) Currant, flowering (Ribes) Butterfly bush (Buddleia) Butterfly bush (Buddleia)
Hydrangea (Blue) Dogwood (Cornus) Daphne Clematis Clematis
Ledum Heather (Erica) Dogwood (Cornus) Cotoneaster Cotoneaster
London season (Zenobia) Leucothoe Flowering currant (Ribes) Currant, flowering (Ribes) Currant, flowering (Ribes)
Phyllodoce Photina Fuchsia Daphne Daphne
Rhododendron Rhododendron Forsythia Deutzia Deutzia
Rosemary (Rosmarinus) Grapevine (Vitis) Diervilla (Weigela) Diervilla (Weigela)
Snowbells (Stryax) Heather (some) (Erica) Escallonia Escallonia
Sweet fern (Comptonia) Hydrangea (Pink) Euonymus Euonymus
Tea Tree(Leptospermum) Jasmine Firethorn (Pyracantha) Firethorn (Pyracantha)
Wintergreen (Gaultheria) Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Flowering Currant (Ribes) Flowering currant (Ribes)
Lavender (Lavendula) Forsythia Forsythia
Leucothoe Fuchsia Golden bells (Forsythia)
Mezeron (Daphne) Genista Grape vine (Vitis)
Passion Flower (Passiflora) Golden bells (Forsythia) Guelder rose (Viburnum)
Photina Grape vine (Vitis) Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Privet (Ligustrum) Guelder rose (Viburnum) Hydrangea (white)
Quince (Chaenomeles) Hibiscus Ivy (Hedera)
Rock Rose (Cistus) Honeysuckle (Lonicera) Japonica (Caesalpina)
Rose (Rosa) Hydrangea (pink) Jasmine (Jasminum)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus) Hydrangea (white) Jews Mallow (Kerria)
Senecio Ivy (Hedera) Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Snowbells (Stryax) Japonica (Caesalpina) Maple (Acer)
Spanish gorse (Genista) Jasmine (Jasminum) Mezeron (Daphne)
Sweet Fern (Comptonia) Jews Mallow (Kerria) Mock Orange (Philadelphus)
Tea tree (Leptospermum) Lavender Myrtle (Myrtus)
Veronica Hebe) Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Peach (Prunus persica)
Vine (Vitis) Maple (Acer) Rock rose (Cistus)
Wintergreen (Gaultheria) Mezeron (Daphne) Rose Mallow (Hibiscus)
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis) Mock Orange (Philadelphus) Senecio
Yew Myrtle (Myrtus) Spanish gorse (Genista)
Passion Flower (Passiflora) Spirea
Peach (Prunus persica) St John’s wort (Hypericum)
Privet (Ligustrum) Veronica (Hebe)
Quince (Chaenomeles) Vine (Vitis)
Rock rose (Cistus) Wisteria
Rose (Rosa) Witch Hazel (Hamamellis mollis)
Rose of Sharon (Hypericum) Yucca
Rose Mallow (Hibiscus)
Senecio
Spanish gorse (Genista)
Spirea
St John’s wort (Hypericum)
Veronica (Hebe)
Vine (Vitis)
Wisteria
Witch Hazel (Hamamellis mollis)
Yew (Taxus)
Yucca

pH Plant Preference Lists

See also…

Identifying Your Soil Type
How pH Affects Plant Foods
Raising Soil pH
Lowering Soil pH

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3 thoughts on “Soil PH Preferences for Garden Shrubs

  • Marti

    Question about soil pH for an item above: Diervilla (Wygelia). Why does Diervilla (aka: honeysuckle) have (Wygelia) listed after it? Are the pH needs for Weigela (Diervilloideae ) the same? And, when the soil pH gets too high or too low for the bush, does iron chlorosis occur?

    • Farmer

      Marti,
      Thank you for your question. Regarding the name genus and species of Bush Honeysuckle, I would direct you to

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diervilla
      and
      http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/1965-25–a-check-list-of-cultivar-names-in-weigela.pdf

      I have classified them together for convenience and brevity’s sake. 🙂
      Also, Lonicera is the vining honeysuckle we are so often familiar with (at least out in the country where I am, NE Oklahoma!)
      and yes, high pH is often a cause of iron chlorosis (chlorosis being leaf yellowing) if the chlorosis is caused by an iron deficiency it is then, iron chlorosis. When a plant enjoys a higher pH, iron chlorosis is not the first one I’d look for…. iron chlorosis is most often associated with a plant thriving best in a lower pH that is actually planted in soil with a pH too high for it… the high pH makes the iron not so bio-available to that plant. Does that make sense?

  • Farmer

    Marti, I meant to mention this source, also…
    http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=255806
    and at pfaf.org they state,
    “Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.”
    This is what I went by when creating the (far from comprehensive) list on this page. 🙂
    I hope that helps!
    Jodi

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