Ericaceous compost is a compost intended to enhance the growth of certain plants. In simple language, it is a supplement that helps plants grow strong and healthy.
Some plants prefer acidic soil and some prefer alkaline. Plants thrive in various conditions according to their biological makeup.
An example of a plant that loves acidic soil is the blueberry!
Ericaceous compost acidifies and manipulates the soil. This makes it suitable for acid-loving plants, also known as ericaceous plants.
Ericaceous compost lowers the pH of the soil as it contains organic matter, including pine leaves, needles, bark, etc.
Thus, it creates ideal growing conditions for acid-loving plants.
What pH Levels Do Clematis Like?
Clematis plants thrive in slightly alkaline soil, rather than acidic soil. They love a soil pH level between 6.0 and 7.5.
Acidic soil fails to provide essential growth nutrients to clematis plants. Not only that, they even limit the possibility of providing such nutrients and hence, they limit the growth and blooming of clematis.
On the contrary, alkaline soil provides the much-needed nutrients to the soil for unhinged growth and the spectacular blooming of its flowers.
However, one must note that clematis plants are adaptable and grow in a wide range of soil pH. Their growth might be stifled, but a well-drained condition is enough for them to grow.
The pH level of soil changes with time. Thus, it is necessary to check the pH of the soil regularly, to avoid any irregularity in its pH.
Do not worry if the present soil does not match the required pH. One can readjust acidic or alkaline soil to suit the clematis plant.
Simple readjustments can make it easier to grow clematis.
If the present soil is acidic in nature, one can increase its pH by adding lime. If the soil is extremely alkaline, one can reduce its pH by adding sulfur to the soil.
Why Clematis Don’t Like Acidic Soil?
High acidity affects the supply of essential growth nutrients to clematis. If the pH of the soil is below 6, i.e., if it is acidic, nutrients such as iron and phosphorus lose solubility.
Clematis plants cannot absorb less soluble nutrients and hence, they die due to nutrient deficiency and poor growth.
Furthermore, such soil also causes aluminium toxicity in plants due to an abundance of aluminium in acidic soils.
Aluminium becomes available to clematis in high amounts and thus causes aluminium toxicity in clematis.
Aluminium toxicity, in turn, causes stifled growth, discoloured leaves, and poor blooming.
Testing The Soil
If the pH of the soil one has doesn’t meet the requirements for clematis plants, they will have to change the pH of the soil.
Before changing the pH of the soil, one ought to first test the pH of the soil. If one doesn’t change the pH of the soil before readjusting the pH of the soil, the result can be undesirable.
There are different types of methods used to test soil pH at home.
The two major ways of testing soil are slurry testing and direct soil testing.
To check general acidity or alkalinity, one can use the pantry soil pH test at home. Another way to check the pH of the soil is to take pH paper and dip it partially into moist soil. Compare the colour that appears on the pH paper with the chart that comes with the pH paper.
The most accurate way is to test the soil using a home pH meter.
Once you have tested the soil for its pH level, you can now make the necessary adjustments to the soil.
Remember to check the pH of the soil regularly, as it keeps changing with time.
Best Conditions For Clematis
Clematis is adaptable and can grow in a wide range of soils. However, there are desirable conditions in which it seems to thrive.
A moist and well-drained soil is one of the best scenarios for clematis plants. A soil that can hold moisture and allow drainage at the same time is the best type of soil for clematis plants.
Now, in the case of sandy soil, one can add organic material before planting clematis.
Sandy soil does not contain moisture and hence, plants do not get enough nutrients for growth. Clayey soil doesn’t allow water to drain, and the soil becomes water-logged.
However, a rich loamy type of soil that can hold nutrients and moisture is desirable for clematis.
Clematis is a very nutrient-hungry plant. Therefore, a regular supply of organic fertilizers helps it get enough nutrients needed for steady growth.
First, one will have to decide what type of clematis they want to grow. Are they looking for a climbing clematis that is best suited for pergolas and walls? Or are they looking for a non-climbing clematis that can be grown in a pot or container?
Non-climbing herbaceous clematis grows up to two feet with a spread of roughly three feet. Climbing clematis can grow up to a maximum length of 9 feet.
Although different types of clematis can grow in all types of light conditions, clematis grows very well in the sun. As long as you expose it to direct sunlight, clematis can grow even in a partially-shaded area.
For flowering, however, it is best to plant it under the sun.
Clematis can grow well in slightly alkaline soil and under sunny conditions. However, various types of clematis need shade for growth.
Regular checking of pH level will help one to maintain the pH level of the soil.
One must also keep in mind that pests such as capsid bugs and slugs apart from other disorders can also infect clematis. These factors affect the blooming and colour of the clematis.
Other factors that one should be mindful of include clematis slime flux, powdery mildew, clematis wilt, and phytoplasma.
If you are an avid gardener, you ought to be mindful of all these factors for the best growth conditions of clematis.