List of Acid-Loving Vegetable Plants

Although a variety of vegetables grow best in slightly acidic or , there's a limit to the level of acidity plants can tolerate. is measured on the so-called pH scale, ranging from 1 to 14. Unlike temperature, the pH scale changes by a factor of 10 for each unit. So a pH of 6.0 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 7.0, and a pH of 5.0 is 100 times more acidic than a pH of 7.0. Seven is neutral, and pH numbers above 7.0 indicate alkaline conditions, which are essentially the opposite of acidic.

There are no strict cutoff numbers or formal definitions for slightly acidic versus acidic, but as a rule of thumb, consider pH numbers between 6.0 and 7.0 as slightly acidic and those below 6.0 as acidic.

Green beans
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Like all plants, vegetables have soil acidity requirements for best growth.

Vegetables That "Like" Slightly Acidic Soils

Slightly Acidic to Alkaline

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea 'Capitata') and beets (Beta vulgaris 'Crassa') are two vegetable crops that have a fairly broad optimal pH range, including up into the alkaline range, between 6.0 and 8.0. Peas (Pisum sativum) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) prefer a range between 6.0 and 7.5

Slightly Acidic

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), summer squash (Cucurbita pepo), winter squash (Cucurbita maxima), cauliflower (Brassica oleracea 'Botrytis'), radishes (Raphanus sativas), chives (Allium schoenoprasum), celery (Apium graveolens), broccoli (Brassica oleracea 'Italica'), endive (Cichorium endiva) and carrots (Daucus carota) have a preferred pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.

green lettuce crops in growth at vegetable garden
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Lettuce prefers slightly acidic conditions.

Vegetables That Like Acidic Soils

Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus), eggplants (Solanum melongena), peppers (Capsicum annuum), beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), rutabaga (Brassica napus 'Napobrassica') and parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are all suited to acidic soils down to a pH of 5.5. Add to these tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) and sweet corn (Zea mays) -- suited to a pH range between 5.5 and 7.5. Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are something of a special case, with an optimal low end limit of 5.0 on the pH scale.

yellow flower and ripe cucumber close up in garden
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Cucumbers’ optimal acidity range is between 5.5 and 7.0.

Test Your Soil

There's no reliable way to guess about or estimate soil pH, so having the soil tested is the best approach to ensuring that your vegetables have the proper acidity levels. The Cooperative Extension System offices in your state can help with this.

Donald Miller

Donald Miller has a background in natural history, environmental work and conservation. His writing credits include feature articles in major national print magazines and newspapers, including "American Forests" and a nature column for "Boys' Life Magazine." Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in natural resources conservation.