Generally, the soil in our Alexandria gardens is clay-like and in the acid range on the pH scale. If you want to successfully grow plants that like the soil a little alkaline or sweet, add a pinch of hydrated lime to the areas where you are going to put these plants or at the base of existing ones. The addition of hardwood ash, bone meal, crushed marble, or crushed oyster shells will also help to raise your soil pH.
What does soil pH mean? A neutral pH is 7.0—a soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil and one with a pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline. The soil must be adjusted to suit the plant which will occupy that area if it is not already within that plant's requirement range. First test your soil's pH; you can buy an inexpensive pH test kit at most garden centers or hardware stores.
Below is a list of plants that like it a little on the alkaline or sweet side:
|Scientific Name||Common Name|
|Anemone hupehensis||Japanese Wind Flower|
|Buxus sempervirens suffruticosa
|Campanula carpatica and persicifolia||Bellflower|
|Centaurea montana||Mountain Bluet|
|Centranthus ruber||Red Valerian, Jupiter's Beard|
|Cranesbill Geranium||Hardy or perennial Geranium|
|Lily of the Valley||Convallaria majalis|
|Dicentra eximia||Fringed bleeding heart (and commong)|
|Helleborus||Christmas or Lenten Rose|
|Hesperis matronalis||Dame's Rocket|
|Oenothera macrocarpa||Missouri evening primose (yellow)|
|Oenothera speciosa||Species primose—light pink|
|Salvia x sylvestris/nemorosa||Sage|
|Scabiosa columbaria||Pincushion flower|
Nancy Burns is a certified Master Gardener, Belle Haven Garden Club President for the past six years, co-author of two award-winning gardening books, member of the Landscape Designers' Group and the Landscape Design Council as well as being completely fascinated with plants, gardening and their surrounding landscape design.