How to Balance pH for Kangaroo Paw Plants

Maintaining the right pH level is crucial for the healthy growth of Kangaroo Paw plants. These plants thrive in slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of balancing the pH for your Kangaroo Paw plants.

Determining the Soil pH

The first step in balancing the pH for your Kangaroo Paw plants is to test the soil pH. You can purchase a soil pH testing kit from a local gardening store or online. This will help you determine the current pH level of your soil.

Adjusting the Soil pH

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If the soil pH is too high (alkaline), you’ll need to lower it by adding elemental sulfur or a sulfur-containing product. The amount required will depend on the current pH level and the desired pH level. As a general guideline, 1 to 2 pounds of elemental sulfur per 100 square feet of soil can lower the pH by one point. Spread the sulfur evenly over the soil and water it in thoroughly.

After applying the sulfur, wait a few weeks and then test the soil pH again to ensure it’s within the desired range of 6.0 to 6.5. If the pH is still too high, repeat the process until the desired level is achieved.

Maintaining the Optimal pH

To maintain the optimal pH level for your Kangaroo Paw plants, use a native-specific or low-phosphorus fertilizer instead of an all-purpose plant food. Apply a handful of controlled-release fertilizer for native plants to the soil when buds start to form or after pruning to help the plant recover.

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Planting with Other Phosphorus-Sensitive Natives

kangaroo paw 2Image source: Pixabay

To make it easier to maintain the pH level, plant your Kangaroo Paws alongside other phosphorus-sensitive native plants, such as acacia, banksia, and hardenbergia, in your garden borders.

Avoiding Over-Fertilization

Kangaroo Paws often thrive in poor, sandy, light soils rather than heavily fertilized loamy ones. They are sensitive to phosphorus and don’t like over-rich soils. Avoid over-fertilizing your Kangaroo Paw plants to prevent pH imbalances.

Watering and Pruning

In addition to balancing the pH, Kangaroo Paws require well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Water them regularly during the flowering season (spring/summer), but be careful not to let them get too wet.

When pruning Kangaroo Paws, remove any damaged or dying leaves with secateurs or snips. Cut back each clump of leaves and stems that have finished flowering, leaving any leaf-clumps that didn’t produce flower stems. For taller varieties, cut back spent flower stems by about half, as they’ll often produce new buds lower down the stems.

By following these steps, you can successfully balance the pH for your Kangaroo Paw plants and ensure their healthy growth and vibrant blooms.

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