The short answer to this question is yes. To fully understand the question and answer of this article, we need to consider the meaning and components of ericaceous compost.

What Is Ericaceous Compost?

This term defines a group of plants in the Ericaceae family and other groups of plants that grow in infertile and acidic conditions. From this definition, ericaceous compost is a type of compost suitable for growing acid-loving plants such as cranberry, blueberry, azalea, and of course Acer palmatum plants

Plants that fall under this category of plants thrive in soil with a pH of 5.5 and sometimes lower because the low pH allows them to absorb the nutrients they need from the soil to grow healthily.

Why Do Acers Need Ericaceous Compost?

Acid-loving plants like Acers are alternatively referred to as Lime-hating plants because the alternate of acid soil has lime and is referred to as alkaline soil. These plants don’t love acid because they like to grow in hard conditions but because the nutrients like iron that they need to grow are insoluble in alkaline soil with higher pH. 

In simpler terms, the nutrients that these plants need are locked up in the soil once the pH of the soil is higher than 7.

When you try to grow the lime-hating plants in limey soil, they suffer a condition known as lime-induced chlorosis where they don’t grow to their full potential or flower well and might eventually die.

How To Make Ericaceous Compost

If you have alkaline soil, growing your ericaceous plants in pots and containers where you can easily get acidic soil for potted plant growth and mix in an ericaceous compost is usually the best option to ensure the healthy growth of these plants. 

You can either buy your ericaceous compost from plant nurseries or plant and garden supply shops or you can DIY and make your ericaceous compost.

There is no singular recipe for making ericaceous compost because the amount of acidic material you add to your pile depends on the initial pH of the pile. Simply start your compost pile with layers of organic matter and add in acidic organic materials such as oak leaves and pine needles, proceed by adding fertilizer for acid-loving plants and your compost is ready to be used.

Do Acers Always Need Ericaceous Compost?

Acer palmatum cultivars may not always require ericaceous compost to flourish. Out of the long list of ericaceous plants, Acers are among the least sensitive to soil pH so they can survive in alkaline soil as long as all the other soil requirements such as the soil moisture and draining abilities are met. 

If you are growing Acer trees in your garden, you may not necessarily need to alter the pH of your soil and instead try to maintain a healthy, moist, and well-draining soil. However, if you are growing your Acer trees in pots and containers then potted soil mix suited for ericaceous plants and adding ericaceous compost to the mix will get you better results.

Further Reading

We have lots of other helpful content for Acers, such as common questions we have been asked such as:

Other Acer’s you might be interested in

Acer Brilliantissimum, Acer Feeds, Acer Jerre Schwartz, Acer Altropurprueum, Acer beni maiko, Acer Bi Hoo, Acer Bloodgood, Acer bonsai, Acer Butterfly, Acer Deshojo, Acer dissectum, Acer dissectum Firecracker, Acer emerald lace, Acer fireglow, Acer garnet, Acer katsura, Acer little princess, Acer orange dream, Acer Osakazuki, Acer Phoenix, Acer Sango kaku, Acer Seiryu, Acer Shaina, Acer Shindehojo, Acer Skeeters Broom, Acer Taylor, Acer Trompenburg, Acer Ukigumo.

FAQ Acers – Learn, Buy & Grow with us.


Last Modified: September 7, 2022