Every gardener knows to check their soil pH prior to planting to ensure their plant selections are designed to grow in the space they are providing. For an acidic soil the gardener will need to select acid-loving plants, those that will not yellow or die in the soil. Acid loving plants in Florida include good solid choices in trees, shrubs, and plants.
The bald-cypress tree, Taxodium distichum, is a fast growing drought tolerant plant. Leaves are linear, deciduous, and needle-like in appearance. The tree grows to 130 feet high. Bark colors can be red-gray or brown. Cones come in summer and are 1 inch wide. Plant a bald-cypress in acidic soil with full sun or light shade. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones of 5 through 10.
The ixora or jungle flame, Ixora coccinea, is an evergreen shrub. It gets 4 to 6 feet high on average but has the potential to get 12 feet high. Leaves are 4 inches long and leathery. Flowers are red and tubular, in clusters 2 to 5 inches wide. Plant an ixora in acidic soil in partial shade with a moist, well-drained environment. Propagating this plant can be done via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 9 through 11.
The Stokes’ aster, Stokesia laevis, is an evergreen perennial that is easy to grow. It has 6- to 8-inch-long leaves and 1- to 2-foot-tall stems. Flowers resemble cornflowers and 3 to 4 inches wide, with fringed blooms of white, pink, blue and lavender. Plant a Stokes’ aster in acidic, well-drained soil with full sun in USDA hardiness zones of 5 through 10. Division or seed planting is the desired form of propagation.
The shiny blueberry, Vaccinium myrsinites, is an evergreen shrub that is drought-tolerant and attractive to hummingbirds and songbirds. It will get a couple of feet high with small glossy leaves. Flowers are pink-white and urn-like. Berries are blue-black. Plant a shiny blueberry in acidic, well-drained soil in light shade or full sun in USDA hardiness zones of 7 through 10. Propagate via cuttings or seed.
The fetterbush or shiny lyonia, Lyonia lucida, is a fragrant evergreen shrub. It has 1- to 3-inch-long leathery, dark green leaves. Bell-like flowers are ½ inch long. Blooms can be white, red or pink. The entire plant can get 3 to 6 feet high on average but has the potential to reach 12 to 15 feet in height. Plant a fetterbush in acidic soil with partial shade to full sun. Propagation should be via cuttings. South Florida may have issues in growth, but fetterbush is hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 7 through 10.