Posted on 25th Sep 2015
Ericaceous plants are plants that like low pH, acidic soils. These plants hate high pH, alkaline soils, so they hate lime.
Which plants are ericaceous? Azalea, Blueberry, Camellia, Calluna, Enkianthus, Gaultheria, Kalmia, Pieris, Rhododendron are some examples.
If you are adding compost to the soil of any of these plants, you want to make sure that your compost is lime free, and has a more acidic, low pH to it.
Two easy ingredients to add to your compost to raise the acidity are pinestraw (although I have to warn you that it is EXTREMELY slow to break down, so only add small amounts at a time and make sure it is broken into as small pieces and you can get it) and coffee grounds.
Did you know that you can get huge amounts of coffee grounds at most local coffee shops? Starbucks in particular will give you large bags for free if you ask for it. Other coffee shops will often give them to you too, because they are often just throwing them into the dumpster anyway.
Coffee grounds are a nitrogen rich ingredient, and pinestraw is a carbon rich ingredient, so they actually balance either other out well in the composter when it comes to breaking down, yet they both increase the acidity at the same time.
Here's to making your own ericaceous compost for your acid loving plants! Good luck.