Acidic Houseplants

>> Thursday, January 13, 2011

I provided the few acidic houseplants that I know of. I will continue looking and as I find more this page will be updated.



One of the most popular varieties of house plant, philodendrons come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and foliage color. Native to the West Indies and tropical areas of the Americas, philodendron thrives in diffuse light, humidity and acidic soil with a pH of between 5.5 and 6.0. Coffee is a good home remedy for perking up slow-growing philodendrons, whether the grounds are mixed in with the potting soil or it is simply watered with a solution of half coffee, half water.

Some varieties are trained to grow on a pole to create a slender upright shaped plant. These pole plants must be continuously pruned to keep the vines on the pole.

These fast growing plants have vining tendencies. Most people prefer a full, leafy looking plant, so it is important to trim back new growth on the vine tips. This keeps the plant full and helps prevent the plant from looking stringy.

*Update: It was recently pointed out by an Anonymous viewer that this is a Pothos. Upon further research I learned that this plant is often called devil's ivy or variegated philodendron. Philodendron is what I have always known this plant as, hence the confusion. Thanks to Anonymous for pointing out that this is indeed a Pothos.

Snake Plant
Sansevieria trifasciata

Tall and sword-shaped variegated leaves distinguish the snake plant as one of the most popular houseplants. It is known for being low-maintenance and tolerant of neglect, although it responds nicely to an occasional cup of coffee. Native to tropical west Africa, snake plant grows best when given acidic soil with a pH of between 4.5 and 7.0. It requires low to moderate light and the occasional watering, especially if watered with a strong solution of three parts coffee to one part water. Best temps: 60-85F, 16-29C.

Be careful not to over-water.

This plant is known to be a good remover of formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the atmosphere.

Spider Plant
Chlorophytum comosum

Also known as Airplane plant, this popular hanging plant, is known for its cascading fountains of thin, variegated leaves. Native to South Africa, they prefer well-draining, mildly-acidic potting soil and moderate to bright indirect light. Occasional watering with diluted coffee is beneficial to spider plant, helping to achieve their ideal soil pH of 6.1 to 6.5. The recommended ratio of coffee to water is one part coffee to three parts water.

Spider plants like to be root bound and will grow much better if there’s just a little extra room around the roots. Potting a small plant into a large pot can actually kill the plant!

Some varieties of Spider plants can be very sensitive to the chlorine found in tap water. And, sodium can also damage the plant. If you’d prefer you can water your plant with distilled water, filtered water or allow tap water to sit over night before using it.

Musa species

All species of banana plant prefer acidic soil, especially indoor varieties such as red torch banana (M. coccinea) and purple banana (M. velutina), which enjoy a soil pH of between 5.0 and 6.5. Native to Southeast Asia, banana plants are grown for their dramatic tropical foliage, as well as their fruiting capability. A half coffee, half water solution can be substituted for water during the growing season, although pure water should be given in small amounts throughout the rest of the year.

Many times bananas grown indoors will suffer from brown leaves if their humidity requirements can not be met.

Ghost Man
Pachypodium namaquanum

In its native habitat of Madagascar, the succulent ghost man thrives in highly acidic soil with a pH of between 3.5 to 5.0, although under home cultivation it can withstand much lower acidity.

Usually unbranched, heavy trunk about six feet (180cm) tall with spiraled tubercles and long spines in threes. Flowers emerge in a ring at the apex, dull green among the downy green leaves.

It does flower, however, usually only under ideal conditions: plenty of sunlight and temps 60-85F, 16-29C. The flowers are not fragrant.

 To achieve a suitable acid level, strong coffee can be given sparingly during the growing season. Ghost man is a succulent plant with a wide, fleshy trunk covered in one-inch long spines. A ring of deciduous leaves top it during the winter growing season following the short-lived appearance of numerous tubular, scarlet flowers.


Anonymous August 31, 2012 at 12:29 PM  

I think your Philodendron is a Pothos (Epipremnum.)

Greg W September 3, 2012 at 2:28 AM  

Thank you for your comment. After researching I did learn that it is commonly known as variegated philodendron which is what I have always known it to be. It is indeed a Pothos. Thanks again.

© 2007 -2011 - Utah Valley Gardens - All photos and content copyrighted by Utah Valley Gardens unless otherwise attributed. The use of photographs posted on this site without permission is forbidden and is protected by copyright law, as is all original text.

Blogger templates made by

Back to TOP