Whether you’re growing plants hydroponically — that is, with the roots immersed in water — or in soil, the pH of the growing medium around your plants is important for ideal growth. The pH of your growing medium can be acidic, basic or alkaline, or neutral; generally, plants thrive with a pH of about 5.5 to 6.5. Below that, plants are acidic, and above that, they’re basic or alkaline. If you’ve discovered that the pH of your growing medium is out of whack, you can use a number of different ways to fix the problem.
Add the nutrients or fertilizers that you’re currently using for your garden. If you’re growing hydroponically, wait about one hour before you move on to the next step. If you’re growing in soil, wait about 24 hours.
Test the growing medium by inserting a pH test strip or electronic test kit into it, following the instructions on the test kit to ensure proper testing. Read your pH level and compare that to the ideal pH for the type of plant you’re growing to determine whether you need to raise or lower the pH of the growing medium.
Fill a gallon jug with clean water. Depending on the substance you’re using to adjust your pH, you may be instructed to use a different amount of water. Be sure to read the instructions on the bottle or talk with the retailer for instructions on the proper water-to-substance mix.
Add lime, wood ash or a specially formulated solution to the water to raise the pH, or add sulfur, phosphoric acid or a pH-lowering solution lower the pH. If you’re adding solid materials to a liquid solution, allow the material to soak in the water for a few hours to allow it to “steep.”
Water your plants with the solution. If you’re growing in soil or another solid such as perlite, water the plants with the solution in the same way you would water the plants with regular water. If you’re growing hydroponically, add the solution to your hydroponic solution.
Test the pH again following the treatment, to determine whether you need to do another treatment. For hydroponics, wait about 30 minutes to test the pH again. For soil and other solids, wait about 24 hours.
Things You Will Need
- pH test kit
- Watering can
- Lime, wood ash, phosphoric acid, sulfur, phosphoric acid or commercial pH-altering solutions
If you are into natural ways to raise an lower you PH, try baking soda to raise the PH. Try lemon juice to lower the PH.
Let us know what product you use to PH your water.