I have always had a fondness for Rhododendrons and Azaleas, principally I guess because I was brought up on the borders of Surrey, near Bagshot, an area known for these types of plants in the landscape. The soil in that region is naturally acidic which is perfect for growing what are known as Ericaceous plants. The term Ericaceous is derived from the Latin family name of Ericaceae, which is a family of plants, all of which do not like growing in lime – they prefer acid soils, those with a low pH.
Plants that belong to this family include all Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Pieris, Heathers, Blueberries and Cranberries. Other plants that do not belong to this family but also prefer to be planted in a slightly acidic soil include Magnolias and Japanese Maples.
Here in Suffolk there are areas that naturally have acidic soil but if you happen to live in an area where your soil is neutral or acidic it seems a shame to miss out on growing plants in the Ericaceae family. I love to see a spring display of Rhododendron and Azalea flowers and feel that a garden is not complete without a stunning array of flowers, which are available in a wide pallet of colours.
So, if you happen to live in an area not suitable for growing acid loving plants don’t worry as you can still grow them in a pot or a raised bed but to ensure real success your pots or raised beds needs to be filled with ericaceous compost. If you have acid loving plants in your garden then to maintain the acidity in the sol they will benefit from a regular dressing of ericaceous compost around the base of the plant.
If you are a particular fan of all things ericaceous then a visit to the valley gardens near Sunningdale, Surrey is a must. Go at the right time of the year and you will not be disappointed.
Order your Ericacious Topsoil here.