Tips On Using Vinegar To Lower Soil pH


Some plants require a lower level of pH than others. Fortunately, adding a little bit of vinegar to your soil can up the acidity and correct the pH levels to suit your plants.

Lower soil pH with vinegar and turn Hydrangea flowers blue

A Look At pH And Acid In Soil

If you’ve spent any time studying gardening, you’re sure to have seen the words “pH levels.” When you test soil, it’s often for four things: nitrogen, phosphorus, potash, and pH. It measures the acidity level in the dirt.

Understanding pH levels is essential in gardening. When the soil has high pH levels, it’s called alkaline and isn’t a hospitable environment for many plants. To balance this, you need to increase your soil’s acidity.

Using Vinegar To Increase Soil Acidity

Vinegar is truly a wonder product. It provides health benefits for blood sugar control and has been a standard cleaning agent for centuries. Vinegar is also useful in the garden to increase the acidity in your soil.

Vinegar is inexpensive, and you can buy it at almost any grocery store. It’s also a safe and non-toxic treatment when diluted for soil.

The simplest method to create a vinegar solution for your garden is to mix vinegar and water. Use one cup of vinegar for every gallon of water.

The ratio of vinegar to water may vary depending on how alkaline your soil is. But one cup of vinegar to one gallon of water is a reliable place to start.

Once mixed, you can water your soil, distributing the mixture with a watering can as evenly as possible throughout the designated plot.

This simple approach will do for an average backyard garden.

As you continue to water your soil regularly with the mixture, you should take soil samples to check the soil pH levels with a test kit so you don’t overdo the acidity level.

When changing the chemistry of soil, it’s advisable to do so in raised beds. There, you can contain the soil, and have more control of the materials involved.

As with many things in the garden, pH adjustment takes time. With continuous attention, it may take up to several months for the pH levels to lower to a satisfactory level.

The results are a wide variety of flowers enjoying their environment and blooming to full capacity.

Can Vinegar Harm Plants?

Despite its usefulness and edibility for humans, vinegar is still acid. Acid can be harmful if not handled carefully.

Regular household vinegar is already a diluted acid, with more than 90% percent of it being water. When you mix vinegar with even more water to use in your soil, the mixture is relatively mild.

Even so, do not use straight vinegar on plants or the soil to try and hurry the soil-acidifying process. Vinegar may not permanently kill, but it can kill off blooms or produce soil with more acidity than you want.

When attempting to change your soil’s chemical makeup, it’s best to go slow and test often.

What Plants Like Acidic Soil?

A wide range of beautiful plants enjoys acidic soil. Here are a few popular plants you may want to add to your garden.


Azaleas are flowering shrub plants that are generally pink or red but can also be white or purple. Azaleas can be large, statement bushes that can be up to six feet tall.

Whatever their size, azaleas provide a beautiful burst of color.


Change the soil pH to turn the flowers blue. Read the details on Making Hydrangeas turn Blue.


Some call Gardenia plants “perfection in nature.” The beautiful fragrant, waxy white flowers fills gardens with and intoxicating, unmistakable fragrance. Some consider caring for Gardenias difficult. We help demystify the gardenia myths on growing these acid-loving plants.


The magnolia is a well-loved flowering tree that grows white or pink flowers. These sweet-smelling trees can grow to be 8′ feet tall, with their branches stretching as far as 50′ feet outwards.

Even when they aren’t in bloom, magnolias provide height and structure to a garden or yard.

Japanese Anemones

Japanese Anemones are glorious, delicate blooms with versatility and durability to their credit. They come in a variety of colors but favor pink and white. They add an air of quiet strength and beauty to any garden. More on Anemone care.


Lowering the pH levels in your soil with vinegar takes time, but the benefits abound. Vinegar is an inexpensive and safe way to adjust your soil’s chemistry. It also provides your plants with the nourishing environment they deserve.

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