It is important to know the type of soil you have to grow vegetation. By conducting a soil test, you find out whether your soil is acidic, alkaline or neutral. The test will give you a numeric pH level. Acidic, or "sour" soil will have a pH that is lower than 6.5. Alkaline or "sweet" soil has a ph level over 7.5. Neutral soil has a pH level range of 6.5 to 7.0. The pH level determines what types of plantings will thrive in the soil or whether the soil needs to be amended to achieve the right balance of acidity and alkalinity for healthy growth.
Bougainvillea is categorised as a hardy tropical plant. It will survive and thrive in acidic, alkaline or neutral soil. It is hardy in zones 9 and above -- areas in the United States where the weather is hot and sunny most of the year and the temperature does not fall below 15.6 degrees Celsius. Contrary to what some people think, the bract, which is actually a leaf, is what gives bougainvillea plants their colour. The flower is the very tiny pea-size white centre that you see. Plant bougainvillea directly into the soil by cutting away the bottom of the plastic container the plant came in and dig a hole deep enough to insert the container into the ground. Backfill the hole with fertiliser, water thoroughly, and keep it well watered until the plant is established; stake to give the plant support.
Echinacea is most commonly called the purple coneflower that is known for its vivid purple petals. It is very hardy, versatile, and known for its ability to grow in sweet, sour or neutral soil. Well-drained soil is advantageous to good growth. Stems will get bushy and reach a height of 2 to 4 feet. Its namesake purple flowers bloom straight through the summer throughout zones 3 through 8 and sometimes even as far as zone 10 if the weather doesn't get too humid.
Geranium plants are as fussy about soil conditions as they are about sun and soil drainage, which is to say not fussy at all. As long as you wait to plant geraniums from late May through early summer, you should be in good shape. If your soil is clay-based, you may want to add an amendment of organic matter -- manure and sphagnum peat moss and are among the geranium's favourites.
If you're looking for a flowering shrub that can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, hydrangea will come to your rescue with "super hero" flower power. Hydrangea can tolerate sweet or sour soil but tends to do better in acidic soil. Hydrangea can also tolerate sun or partial shade. Water is a hydrangea's biggest ally, so be sure keep the soil moist because its leaves lose water quickly, which can make the foliage wilt. It's also best to select a site that's not too windy. Once those conditions are taken care of, look forward to a plethora of hydrangea blossoms in the spring and summer.
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