Healthy pepper plants, whether hot chiles or sweet bells, require temperatures within a certain range, plenty of light, and ample moisture and drainage. Soil pH influences plant health by affecting the available nutrients. Nutrients must dissolve in water before plants can absorb them; too high or low a pH may prevent some minerals from dissolving.
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The ideal pH range for pepper plants is 6.0 to 6.8. However, peppers generally tolerate soil pH as low as 5.5. Peppers might tolerate a more basic soil than fits within the ideal range, but they could suffer from a lack of iron, manganese or phosphorous.
Correcting a Low pH
A low pH can be adjusted by applying a fertiliser with lime (a substance commonly found at garden stores or centres, not the fruit). This or any other base can neutralise acid in the soil and raise the pH to the ideal growing range. Crushed eggshells can also be applied to raise the soil pH.
Correcting a High pH
In most cases, a high pH can easily be lowered by simply applying a fertiliser containing ammonium-N. Ammonium sulphate or sulphur-coated urea acidify soils and are often ingredients in speciality fertilisers labelled for "acid-loving" plants.
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