How to Balance pH for Scented Geraniums

Maintaining the proper pH level in the soil is crucial for the healthy growth and vibrant blooms of scented geraniums. These fragrant plants thrive in mildly acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can easily balance the pH and create the ideal growing conditions for your scented geraniums.

Assessing the Soil pH

The first step in balancing the pH for scented geraniums is to test the soil. You can use a soil test kit or take a sample to your local cooperative extension office for analysis. This will provide you with the current pH level of your soil, which is the foundation for determining the necessary adjustments.

Adjusting the Soil pH

scented geraniumImage source: Pixabay

Depending on the initial pH reading, you may need to either increase or decrease the acidity of the soil. Here’s how to balance the pH for scented geraniums:

Increasing Soil Acidity

If your soil pH is above 6.5, you’ll need to lower the pH to create a more acidic environment. You can achieve this by incorporating the following amendments:

  1. Sulfur: Apply elemental sulfur at a rate of 1-2 pounds per 100 square feet of soil. Sulfur will gradually lower the pH over several weeks.
  2. Aluminum Sulfate: Use this product at a rate of 1-2 pounds per 100 square feet of soil to quickly lower the pH.
  3. Peat Moss: Mixing in peat moss at a rate of 2-4 inches per 100 square feet of soil can help acidify the soil.

Increasing Soil pH

If your soil pH is below 6.0, you’ll need to raise the pH to create a more neutral environment. You can do this by adding the following amendments:

  1. Lime: Apply ground limestone or dolomitic lime at a rate of 2-4 pounds per 100 square feet of soil. Lime will gradually increase the pH over several weeks.
  2. Wood Ash: Sprinkle a thin layer of wood ash over the soil to raise the pH.
  3. Baking Soda: Mix in baking soda at a rate of 1-2 tablespoons per 1 square foot of soil to quickly increase the pH.
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Monitoring and Maintaining pH

After making the necessary adjustments, it’s essential to monitor the soil pH regularly. Retest the soil every 6-12 months and make additional amendments as needed to maintain the ideal pH range of 6.0 to 6.5 for your scented geraniums.

Watering and Temperature Considerations

scented geranium 2Image source: Pixabay

In addition to pH balance, scented geraniums also thrive in well-draining soil and moderate temperatures. Water the plants when the top inch of soil becomes dry, and avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. Aim for daytime temperatures between 65°F and 75°F and nighttime temperatures around 55°F to 65°F.

Fertilizing for Optimal Growth

To support the overall health and vigor of your scented geraniums, use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer with a ratio of 5-10-15 or 6-12-12. Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.

Home Remedies for pH Adjustment

If you prefer more natural solutions, you can try the following home remedies to balance the pH for your scented geraniums:

  1. Coffee Grounds: Sprinkle used coffee grounds around the base of the plants to help acidify the soil.
  2. Eggshells: Crush and mix eggshells into the soil to slowly increase the pH and provide calcium.
  3. Epsom Salts: Dissolve 1-2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in water and apply it to the soil around the plants to raise the pH.

Remember to monitor the soil pH and adjust the application rates as needed to maintain the ideal range for your scented geraniums.

By following these steps, you can successfully balance the pH of your soil and create the perfect growing conditions for your scented geraniums to thrive. Enjoy the vibrant blooms and captivating fragrance of these beautiful plants.

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References:

  1. Scented Geranium Leaves Curling? Here’s What to Do
  2. Geraniums
  3. Coffee Grounds, Eggshells, Epsom Salts: What Do They Do for Soil?
  4. Why Does pH Matter?