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Author Topic: American hepatica species and soil pH  (Read 2923 times)

Rodger Whitlock

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American hepatica species and soil pH
« on: June 15, 2009, 02:21:36 AM »
Which of the two American species of hepatica prefers acidic soil?

My notes on hepatica culture touch on this detail, but unfortunately the information I have complied turns out, on close inspection, to be garbled. I am left uncertain if it's H. acutiloba or H. americana that is the acid-lover.

And does "prefers acidic soil" mean pH 5 (slightly acid) or pH 4 (quite acid)?

As for those hepatica species that like lime, again, what pH is optimum? pH 6.5 or something more distinctly alkaline?
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

gote

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Re: American hepatica species and soil pH
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2009, 03:00:44 PM »
You have opened the stables to my hobby horse Rodger  ;D
I have no Idea about your American hepaticas but I know that:

#1:  90% of Swedish gardeners will swear on that Hepatica nobilis only grows in alkaline soils.
#2:  I have wild H.n. all over the place in what must be ten figure numbers and that on soil that will grow Rhododendron well.

Why is that? It is true that most hepaticas grow in the high pH areas of Sweden. They do that  because deciduous forests usually grow there. The hepaticas do not grow well in conifer forests where the pH is lower because the spring window of light and moisture does not exist there. It is not the high pH they need it is the biotope. Mine grow naturally even in forests of Picea excelsa where it is thin enough.

The same goes for the amount of shade they need. They tend to grow in relatively deep shade but not because they grow better there but because the compettion is less fierce there. Take a plant from the forest and put it in a ligher position in the garden (Not in a place where you would grow Opuntias or Sempervivums) and it will really flourish. Put it into the same leight level in a natural setting and it will succumb to grasses.

Based on my experience I think that you must find out for yourself. The only way to do that is by testing. of course all plants need a small supply of Calcium and Magnesium but not necessarily in the shape of pH-increasing carbonates.

Good Luck!

Göte



Göte Svanholm
Mid-Sweden

Tony Willis

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Re: American hepatica species and soil pH
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 09:30:28 PM »
an interesting question because I did not know that one required lime and the other not.

I grow both species in lightly shaded acidic soil and they are both flourishing.

Ignorance is bliss !
Chorley, Lancashire zone 8b

Diane Clement

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Re: American hepatica species and soil pH
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 10:40:15 PM »
This is taken from Ashwood's Hepatica leaflet:

"There are only two species of hepatica found in North America and in many locations they can be found growing in close proximity. Their extensive range stretches from the east coast westward as far as Missouri and Mississippi rivers. In the north they extend to Quebec and Ontario to the south Alabama and north Florida. They generally grow in rich upland woods, up to an altitude of about 1200 metres. In the north, H. americana is the more prominent of the two, growing in acid woodland. Further south, H. acutiloba is more widespread, where it is often found growing over limestone. They both grow in humus rich leaf-mould which tends to be neutral or slightly acid."

This is where they grow in the wild but I agree with Göte that the growing conditions are more important than the precise pH.  I grow all mine as woodland plants, in similar conditions to cyclamen and a lot of other woodland plants I grow: loam/leaf mould/perlite with some sand.  I'm not sure about a pH4 but pH5-6 is fine for most species 
Diane Clement, Wolverhampton, UK
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Rodger Whitlock

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Re: American hepatica species and soil pH
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2009, 04:53:46 AM »
Thank you, Diane. That's exactly the information I was seeking.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

 


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