Growing Herbs in Soil with Low pH
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Brian Carlick
Posted: Before April 1998

I have just moved house and the soil at my new place is very sandy with a pH that varies between 4.5! and 5.5. What herbs would grow well with soil that acidic? Evening primrose is a favorite of mine, would that be ok?

Most herbs prefer a soil pH in the range of 6 to 7 or slightly above. Your soil pH is clearly too low for optimum growth of the more common herbs. However many herbs can persist in low pH. Richard Alan Miller, in his book, "The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop," gives pH ranges for many common herbs, and surprisingly many are able to grow at soil pHs below 5. Examples are basil, borage, caraway, coriander, fennel, garlic, lemon balm, oregano, mint, rosemary, and thyme. You won’t get robust growth at low pH but these are worth a try.

There are more obscure herbs that are well-adapted for acidic soils. You can try: wintergreen (shade), blue flag (wet with partial shade), blueberry (full sun), and arnica (full sun).

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