Acidic soil can occur naturally or as a result of factors in the environment such as construction, mining or farming. Soil pH can be strongly acidic, 4 to 5.5, to very slightly acidic, 6.5 to 7. Soil test results help you to select acid-loving plants that thrive in this type of soil. There is a wide variety of plants and shrubs to choose from for any landscape design.
The large-flowered trillium, also called large-flower wake-robin and white trillium, is a perennial herb. Grown in full sun to full shade, it thrives in moist, medium to slightly acidic soil rich in organic matter. The three broad, medium green leaves are up to 6 inches long and 5 inches wide on a 12 to 15 inch long stem. A single three-petaled flower measuring 3 to 4 inches in diameter rises above the leaves on a stiff, reddish-green or pale green stalk that is about 1 to 3 inches long. The flower turns pink as it matures and blooms in May and June. Each flower lasts approximately 3 weeks before being replaced with red berries, which split open and releases the seeds inside.
This oak tree needs acidic soil to be at its best. Pin oak will begin to show signs of iron-deficiency--yellowing of the leaves called chlorosis--if grown in a soil pH that is above the high 6's. Hardy in zones 4a to 8a, the pyramid shape of pin oak along with its drooping lower branches and upright branches in the top of the tree, make it ideal for shade on a hot summer day. Pin oaks reach a height of 50 to 75 feet and 35 to 40 feet wide. The glossy, dark green leaves are 2 to 8 inches long and turn dark red or copper in the fall. The hard, brown nuts attract birds and squirrels.
Partridgeberry is a perennial evergreen groundcover that thrives in rich, moist, slightly to medium acidic soil in partial or full shade. It grows about 2 inches tall and forms a dense carpet of dark green foliage as it creeps across the ground. The tiny, white, purple or pink tubular flowers bloom from May to October. The bright red berries of the partridgeberry ripen in late summer. The berries are eaten by partridges and other birds and small mammals.
The Virginia sweetspire shrub grows up to 8 feet tall, but it's typically 3 to 6 feet tall. It has multiple, slender, arching branches ending in 4-inch spires covered with tiny white flowers that bloom from April to June. This shrub likes a partially shady area of the garden with moist, rich, medium to very slightly acidic soil. The green leaves are about 3 inches long and 1-inch wide. The leaves turn varying shades of maroon, red, purple or orange in the fall. Stems facing the sun are purple-red, while the side in the shade is green. The brown, capsule-shaped fruit attracts birds, and the flowers attract butterflies.