How to Determine the pH of Potting Soil


Potting soil, like regular gardening soil, has a pH level. pH is the measure of how alkaline or acidic the soil is. pH lower than 7.0 means the soil is acidic, while 7.0 and above is alkaline (7.0 is neutral). Acidic soil needs lime to balance out, while alkaline soil requires sulfur. Testing your potting soil using a home pH testing kit will inform you whether and how your soil is adjusted for optimal plant growth.

Step 1

Remove a handful of the potting soil from the pot and place it into a small bowl or container. Four inches of soil will do, says Mark Highland of Organic Mechanic Soil.

Step 2

Add four parts water to one part soil until it is a dark, murky mixture.

Step 3

Pour a portion of the liquid into the container that came with the pH test kit (available at nursuries and hardware stores) and add the chemicals. Put the lid on and shake the container until the liquid changes color. Compare the color to chart provided with the testing kit to get your pH results.

Things You'll Need

  • pH test
  • Shovel
  • Container
  • Water


  • Youtube: Garden Girl - How to Test Your Garden Soil
  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Changing the pH of Your Soil
  • The Garden Helper: How to Test and Adjust your Soil pH
Keywords: potting soil pH, testing potting soil, testing soil pH

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.