How to Balance pH for Calendula: A Comprehensive Guide

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a beautiful and versatile flower that has been used for centuries in herbal medicine and skincare. To ensure healthy growth and vibrant blooms, it is crucial to maintain the proper soil pH level for Calendula plants. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss how to balance pH for Calendula, including testing methods, soil amendments, and home remedies.

Why is Soil pH Important for Calendula?

Calendula grows best in slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.0. When the soil pH is within this optimal range, Calendula plants can efficiently absorb nutrients from the soil, leading to robust growth and abundant flowers. If the soil pH is too acidic or alkaline, it can hinder nutrient uptake and cause various growth issues.

How to Test Soil pH for Calendula

Calendula

Before planting Calendula, it is essential to test the soil’s pH level. You can use a home testing kit or send a soil sample to a local extension service for analysis. Home testing kits are readily available at garden centers and online retailers. They typically involve mixing a small amount of soil with water and using a color-coded chart to determine the pH level.

How to Amend Soil pH for Calendula

If the soil pH is too acidic (below 5.5) for Calendula, you can raise it by adding lime to the soil. The amount of lime needed depends on the current pH level and the soil type. As a general guide, add 1 pound of lime per 100 square feet of soil to raise the pH by 0.5 units. For example, if your soil pH is 5.0 and you want to raise it to 6.0, you would need to add 2 pounds of lime per 100 square feet.

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On the other hand, if the soil pH is too alkaline (above 7.0) for Calendula, you can lower it by adding elemental sulfur or a sulfur-containing product to the soil. The amount of sulfur needed depends on the current pH level and the soil type. As a general guide, add 1 pound of elemental sulfur per 100 square feet of soil to lower the pH by 0.5 units. For example, if your soil pH is 8.0 and you want to lower it to 6.5, you would need to add 3 pounds of elemental sulfur per 100 square feet.

When amending soil pH, always follow the package instructions carefully and retest the soil after application to ensure the pH is within the desired range for Calendula.

How to Maintain Soil pH for Calendula

Calendula 2

To maintain the optimal soil pH for Calendula, it is important to keep the soil healthy by adding organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. Organic matter helps buffer the soil pH and provides essential nutrients for plant growth. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure around the base of Calendula plants each spring and fall.

In addition to adding organic matter, monitor the soil pH regularly throughout the growing season. Test the soil every 4-6 weeks and adjust the pH as needed using the methods described above.

DIY Soil Mix for Calendula

For advanced DIY users, creating a custom soil mix can help ensure the optimal pH level for Calendula. To make a soil mix, combine equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. Peat moss has a naturally low pH (around 4.0), while perlite and vermiculite are neutral. To raise the pH of the mix to the desired level for Calendula (5.5-7.0), add dolomitic limestone at a rate of 1 pound per cubic yard of soil mix.

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When using a custom soil mix, it is important to monitor the water quality, as tap water can contain minerals that affect soil pH. Consider testing your water source and adjusting the pH level accordingly, or use distilled or reverse osmosis water for irrigation.

Home Remedies for Balancing Soil pH

In addition to commercial soil amendments, there are several home remedies that can help balance soil pH for Calendula. To lower soil pH, you can use vinegar or lemon juice. Mix 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 gallon of water and apply it to the soil around Calendula plants. To raise soil pH, you can use baking soda. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 gallon of water and apply it to the soil.

It is important to note that home remedies should be used sparingly and with caution, as extreme changes in pH can harm plants. Always test the soil before and after making adjustments to ensure the pH remains within the desired range for Calendula.

How Long Does it Take to Balance Soil pH for Calendula?

The time it takes to balance soil pH for Calendula depends on the current pH level, the soil type, and the amendment used. In general, it can take several weeks to several months for soil amendments to fully take effect. It is important to retest the soil regularly and make adjustments as needed until the pH stabilizes within the optimal range for Calendula.

Watering and Temperature Requirements for Calendula

In addition to maintaining the proper soil pH, Calendula plants require consistent moisture and moderate temperatures to thrive. Water Calendula deeply and regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Calendula prefers full sun to partial shade and temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C). Avoid planting Calendula in areas with excessive heat or humidity, as this can lead to disease issues.

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By following these guidelines for balancing soil pH, watering, and temperature, you can create the ideal growing conditions for Calendula and enjoy a bountiful harvest of beautiful blooms.

References

  1. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/annual/calendula/
  2. https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/the-health-hub/natural-beauty/skincare/guide-to-calendula/
  3. https://www.westcoastseeds.com/blogs/wcs-academy/grow-calendula