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Vegetable Crop Soil pH Tolerances

Cool weather crops

Vegetables and other plants grow best when the soil pH is optimal for the plants being grown. It is important to match a plant to the soil pH or to adjust the soil pH to a plant’s needs.

Soil pH is the measure of the soil’s acidity or alkalinity. Soil acidity and alkalinity is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, called the pH scale. Most plants grow between the pH range of 4.5 to 8.0; a soil pH of 5.0 has a high acid content; a soil pH of 7.5 has a high alkaline content; a soil pH of 7.0 is neutral. A soil pH test will determine a soil’s pH.

Soil pH is important because a soil’s acidity or alkalinity determines what plant nutrients are available to plant roots. Nutrients in the soil—elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—become available to plants when they dissolve in water or soil moisture. Most plant nutrients will not dissolve when the soil is either too acidic or too alkaline.

Knowing the soil pH in the planting beds in your garden will allow you to group plants by their pH needs. Grow together plants with like pH needs, similar temperature tolerances, and nutritional needs.

Crops Listed by Soil pH Requirements:

This list will allow you to group plants according to their soil pH tolerances. You will find that in the lists below, some plants may be repeated if they have a wide soil pH range tolerance; that is some plants will grow equally well in acid or alkaline soil.

Acid Soil Crops: The following crops prefer a pH of 4 to 5.5:

  • Blackberry (5.0-6.0)
  • Blueberry (4.5-5.0)
  • Cranberry (4.0-5.5)
  • Parsley (5.0-7.0)
  • Peanut (5.0-7.5)
  • Potato (4.5-6.0)
  • Raspberry (5.5-6.5)
  • Sweet potato (5.5-6.0)

Somewhat Acid Soil Crops: The following crops prefer require a somewhat acid soil; they can tolerate a pH of 5.5 to 6.5:

  • Apple (5.0-6.5)
  • Basil (5.5-6.5)
  • Carrot (5.5-7.0)
  • Cauliflower (5.5-7.5)
  • Chervil (6.0-6.7)
  • Corn (5.5-7.5.)
  • Cucumber (5.5-7.0)
  • Dill (5.5-6.5)
  • Eggplant (5.5-6.5)
  • Garlic (5.5-7.5)
  • Melon (5.5-6.5)
  • Parsley (5.0-7.0)
  • Pepper (5.5-7.0)
  • Pumpkin (6.0-6.5)
  • Radicchio (6.0-6.7)
  • Radish (6.0-7.0)
  • Rhubarb (5.5-7.0)
  • Sorrel (5.5-6.0)
  • Squash, winter (5.5-7.0)
  • Sweet potato (5.5-6.0)
  • Tomato (5.5-7.5)
  • Turnip (5.5-7.0)

Moderately Alkaline Soil Plants: The following crops will tolerate a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 or greater:

  • Artichoke (6.5-7.5)
  • Arugula (6.5-7.5)
  • Asparagus (6.0-8.0)
  • Bean, pole (6.0-7.5)
  • Bean, lima (6.0-7.0)
  • Beet (6.0-7.5)
  • Broccoli (6.0-7.0)
  • Broccoli rabe (6.5-7.5)
  • Brussels sprouts (6.0-7.5)
  • Cabbage (6.0-7.5)
  • Cantaloupe (6.0-7.5)
  • Cauliflower (6.0-7.5)
  • Celery (6.0-7.0)
  • Chinese cabbage (6.0-7.5)
  • Celeriac (6.0-7.0)
  • Celery (6.0-7.0)
  • Chinese cabbage (6.0-7.5)
  • Chive (6.0-7.0)
  • Cilantro (6.0-6.7)
  • Claytonia (6.5-7.0)
  • Collard (6.5-7.5)
  • Cress (6.0-7.0)
  • Endive/escarole (6.0-7.0)
  • Fennel (6.0-6.7)
  • Gourd (6.5-7.5)
  • Horseradish (6.0-7.0)
  • Jerusalem Artichoke/Sunchoke (6.7-7.0)
  • Kale (6.0-7.5)
  • Kohlrabi (6.0-7.5)
  • Leek (6.0-8.0)
  • Lettuce (6.0-7.0)
  • Marjoram (6.0-8.0)
  • Mizuna (6.5-7.0)
  • Mustard (6.0-7.5)
  • Okra (6.0-7.5)
  • Onion (6.0-7.0)
  • Oregano (6.0-7.0)
  • Pak choi (6.5-7.0)
  • Parsnip (5.5-7.5)
  • Pea (6.0-7.5)
  • Radicchio (6.0-6.7)
  • Radish (6.0-7.0)
  • Rhubarb (6.5-7.0)
  • Sage (6.0-6.7)
  • Salsify (6.0-7.5)
  • Spinach (6.0-7.5)
  • Squash, summer (6.0-7.0)
  • Sunflower (6.0-7.5)
  • Sunflower (6.0-7.5)
  • Swiss chard (6.0-7.5)
  • Tarragon (6.0-7.5)
  • Tomatillo (6.7-7.3)
  • Watermelon (6.0-7.0)

Very Acid to Alkaline Soil Tolerant Plants: The following crops have the greatest tolerance for a wide range of soil acidity or alkalinity, from about 5.0 to 7.0:

  • Alpine strawberry (5.0-7.5)
  • Carrot (5.5-7.0)
  • Cauliflower (5.5-7.5)
  • Corn (5.5-7.5)
  • Cucumber (5.5-7.0)
  • Dill (5.5-6.7)
  • Endive/Escarole (5.8-7.0)
  • Garlic (5.5-7.5)
  • Parsley (5.0-7.0)
  • Parsnip (5.5-7.5)
  • Peanut (5.0-6.5)
  • Pepper (5.5-7.0)
  • Rutabaga (5.5-7.0)
  • Squash, winter (5.5-7.0)
  • Tomato (5.5-7.5)
  • Turnip (5.5-7.0)

Click on These Related Articles on Soil pH:

Understanding Soil pH

How to Test Your Soil

Adjusting Soil pH

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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