Different soils have different properties that may impact what can grow in them, and also how things grow in them.
In this short guide, we outline what might grow well in alkaline soil, along with other relevant considerations.
Summary – What Grows Well In Alkaline Soil
The main thing to be aware of with alkaline soil is the pH
The soil pH is only one factor in determining what you can and can’t grow in that soil (or, how effectively plant life might grow in a specific soil type)
Other factors to consider for growing in different soils include the general soil fertility, and the local conditions and variables such as weather and climate, as just a few major examples
Overall, each square area of soil on an individual plot of land potentially has it’s own unique factors and variables to consider that will impact soil production. And, the same can be said for the soil in the different geographic locations around the world
All alkaline soils may have general soil production principles that apply to them, but, may also have unique local variables impacting soil production as well
Profile Of Alkaline Soil – Traits, Characteristics, & Features
Alkaline soil may have these general features, traits, and characteristics:
Have a pH over 7
Can contain limestone or some type of calcium/lime rock deposit underneath the soil
Chalky soil is usually alkaline
Real Examples Of Alkaline Soil, & Where It Might Be Found
chinadaily.com.cn outlines that China has different areas of saline-alkali soil across the country, that rice can be cultivated in.
Working With, Amending & Improving Alkaline Soil
Adding To Alkaline Soils
Alkaline soils can be amended or balanced to come back to neutral, or become more acidic, with the additions of acidic fruit compost scraps, or elemental sulfur, or peat moss.
The addition of ash or lime will make soils more alkaline if you have acidic soils.
Levels Of Alkalinity, & Testing Soil pH
Note that there are differing levels of alkaline soil.
Some plants for example may grow in slightly alkaline soil (just about 7), whilst some might like more alkaline soil.
So, pH range does matter.
You can test pH with a simple pH testing kit you can buy online or at the local gardening or home/outdoors store.
You can also get soil professionally tested.
More Resources On Working With Alkaline Soils
Read more about working with and improving alkaline soil at:
A Note On Soil Types, & What Ultimately Impacts How Things Grow
Before we look at what grows well in alkaline soil, it’s important to note that all soils have a slightly different composition in each geographic location – you might get a more alkaline soil in one location, but in another location you might get a less alkaline soil, and this can change it’s characteristics
There are also different external factors acting upon the soil in each geographic area. Climate and weather are a major example of this
Additionally, there are ultimately a range of physical, chemical and biological factors that determine how well something grows in a particular spot or under particular conditions.
Soil fertility is a major factor tied to soil’s physical, chemical and biological traits, that can impact soil productivity and yield. Some soils have high natural fertility, but it’s also possible to modify or increase the fertility of some soils
This is just a guide on alkaline soils in general, without going into extreme depth about all these other factors (factors like soil fertility, soil health, soil quality, the impact of adding fertilizers and pesticides, bringing in commercial topsoil, the impact of different tilling practices, and so on).
To assess the soil in an individual location, it can help to become aware of factors like:
– What the soil is, and what is the best way to manage it
– The climate in that location (temperature, rainfall etc.) and the growing seasons (for example – the US has different planting zones),
– The plants or things you want to grow and the conditions they need
This is of course just basic information – it’s important to research beyond these things for each individual situation.
These guides provide some basic information on figuring out what might grow well in different soils, conditions and locations:
Below is a collection of generalized lists of things that may grow well in alkaline soil.
It’s important that you don’t rely solely on these lists though – obviously you should do your own additional research, and make your own independent decisions.
Plants & Flowers That Grow Well In Alkaline Soil
You can find a list of alkaline friendly plants at:
Vegetables, Crops & Herbs That Grow Well In Alkaline Soil
Most vegetables prefer neutral, or slightly acidic soil, but some can do well in alkaline soils (homeguides.sfgate.com):
Fruits & Fruits Trees That Grow Well In Alkaline Soil
Most fruit trees like a slightly acidic soil, or neutral soil, and not alkaline soils. But, there are a few that can tolerate alkaline soils:
Some cherry varieties
Trees, Shrubs & Bushes That Grow Well In Alkaline Soil
Common, or European Beech