Sometimes it can be a little confusing knowing what types of soil to use for certain types of plants.
Different plants tolerate different growing conditions. What is great for one plant is exactly the opposite for another.
So if you are asking will daffodils grow in ericaceous compost?
Then you are certainly not the only one with that query.
That is the question we will be tackling today.
So let’s get started.
Will Daffodils Grow In Ericaceous Compost?
Daffodils grow best in soil with a pH level of between 6 and 7. Ericaceous compost generally has a pH level of between 4 and 5, so it isn’t the ideal growing condition for a daffodil. However, daffodils are pretty tolerant of a variety of soil pH. But if you are trying to grow daffodils in ericaceous compost and you are finding they aren’t developing strong roots, then the compost could be the reason why.
What is Ericaceous Compost?
So let’s cover the basics first.
Ericaceous compost is a type of compost with a pH of between 4 and 5, the pH of normal compost usually ranges between 6 and 8.
As you can see from the image above, this means that ericaceous compost is slightly acidic.
Ericaceous comes from the Latin word for the Ericaceae family of plants, more commonly known as the heather family.
Members of the Ericaceae family of plants include rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and obviously heather.
Ericaceous compost has a number of benefits:
- Most obviously it is great for acid-loving plants
- It is good for potted plants in general
- It retains moisture well
- Plants generally require less feeding with ericaceous compost.
- Ericaceous plants tend to attract fewer pests
Now of course it won’t suit all plants, as many plants prefer alkaline soil.
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But the question is…
Is Ericaceous Compost Good for Daffodils?
Or perhaps the more pertinent question is:
Will daffodil bulbs grow in ericaceous soil?
The real answer is, it depends.
But generally, if I were pushed, I would say daffodils should grow in ericaceous compost or soil.
The reason I am slightly hesitant is ericaceous compost is, as we discovered above, slightly acidic and suited to lime-hating plants (lime is alkaline).
Bulbs such as daffodils tend to favour neutral to slightly acidic soil, with a pH level of between 6 and 7.
As a reminder ericaceous compost has a pH level of 4 to 5.
So the soil might be too acidic for them to fully flourish.
However, daffodils are pretty tolerant plants and can cope with a variety of soil conditions and a wide variation in soil pH.
What is equally important when it comes to growing daffodils is well-drained soil that retains a bit of moisture.
They also like sun but will last longer in light shade.
So ericaceous compost isn’t an ideal medium for them and it may mean they don’t develop strong roots.
Daffodils are best grown in multipurpose compost with a neutral pH.
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Having said all of that, I know of people who have reported growing daffodils in acidic soil without any problem at all.
Ericaceous compost can vary, as can the outside growing conditions and there are hundreds of varieties of daffodils, so in many ways it is all about experimentation!
Can You Plant Anything in Ericaceous Compost?
No, you can’t.
Ericaceous compost is slightly acidic. Whilst some plants thrive in acidic soil, others prefer alkaline soil or neutral soil.
So it won’t suit everything.
Plants that prefer ericaceous soil are referred to as ‘lime haters’ or calcifuge plants on account of the fact that alkaline soil (which they don’t like), has lime in it.
We’ve already established that the name ericaceous comes from the Latin word for the Ericaceae family of plants.
So as you might guess the Ericaceae family of plants, love ericaceous compost. The Ericaceae family includes heather, rhododendron, azalea, calluna and more.
If you try to grow an ericaceous plant in non-ericaceous soil they will produce yellow leaves and most probably won’t flower well and most likely die.
If you have specific questions about a particular plant, this excellent chart from growgreatplants.com should help.
As a reminder of pH levels:
- 0 to 6: Acidic
- 7: Neutral
- 8 to 14: Alkaline
If you are unsure of what type of soil you have I would suggest you test it yourself.
You can buy a pH testing kit from any garden center, and they are usually very inexpensive.
You should also be aware that if your plants aren’t growing well, it might not solely be due to the soil pH level not suiting the plant.
Always also consider other factors such as the drainage levels and moisture in the soil and the amount of sun or shade the plant prefers.
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Ericaceous compost is slightly acidic, with a pH of between 4 and 5. Daffodils prefer soil with a pH level of around 6.
Ideally, I would avoid using ericaceous compost with daffodils, but daffodils are hardy plants and they should be able to tolerate it.
They may even thrive depending upon other circumstances.
In fact, I would say daffodils in ericaceous compost with well-drained, moisture-retaining soil, that gets the right amount of sunlight should be absolutely fine.
But if you are trying to grow daffodils in ericaceous compost and are finding you are having problems and they aren’t developing strong roots, you know the reason why.
Either way, good luck!