What Plants Need Lime?

You’ve heard that some plants like lime but you’re not sure which ones and you’re wondering, which plants need lime?

In this article you will find a complete list of flowers, vegetable plants, herbs, fruits and shrubs that all like lime.

Welche Pflanzen brauchen Kalk

All plants that require neutral or slightly alkaline soil (pH 5.5 to 7.5) need lime if the soil is deficient in lime. Lime-loving flowers include asters and fuchsias, and vegetables that need lime include, above all, heavy growers such as potatoes, tomatoes and cabbage. Herbs such as oregano or chives, fruit such as raspberries or gooseberries, and various shrubs such as boxwood, ivy or elderberry also like lime.

Which plants need lime?

Not all plants like the same conditions and prefer different soil types or different soil pH values.

Soil pH indicates how acidic (low pH) or alkaline/basic (high pH) a soil is.

Some plants prefer an acidic soil, but some plants like a neutral or more alkaline soil to grow in.

You can use lime to raise the pH and thus deacidify, neutralize and bring the soil into the alkaline range.

The plants that prefer alkaline/basic soil like lime accordingly.

However, you should only lime your garden if there really is a lack of lime.

Liming the soil only on suspicion can in the worst case have the opposite effect and harm the soil.

If you want to know how much lime should be spread for different soils, check here.

List of the most popular plants that need lime

In the following table I have listed the most common plants that like lime. I have distinguished between flowers, vegetables, herbs, fruits and ornamental shrubs that need lime.

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ColumbineAll cabbageBorageRaspberriesBoxwood
CyclamenGreen asparagusLavenderFruit treesIvy
AstersCarrotsOreganoGooseberriesCommon rock pear
Flowering perennialsGarlicChivesElderberry
Christmas rosesLeeksWoodruffButterfly Lilac
Garden Ball ThistleBrussels sproutsOther shrubs
Garden silverrootBeets
Small snowdropAsparagus
Rispy veil cratChicory salad
Spiraen (spire bushes)Onions
Roller spurge/colored spurge

Egg shells or ash can also be used as a cheap or common alternative for liming the above mentioned plants.

If you want to know more about natural fertilizing or liming with eggshells check here and click here if you want to find out more about ash as a fertilizer or for liming.

Which flowers need lime?
A lot of well-known but also some rather unknown flowers like lime.

These include popular balcony flowers such as fuchsias, geraniums and asters, but also larger garden flowers such as peonies, gladioli and chrysanthemums.

Roses also like lime, because they prefer a slightly alkaline soil.

  • Columbine
  • Cyclamen
  • Asters
  • Barberry
  • Flowering perennials
  • Christmas roses
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Fuchsias
  • Garden globe thistle
  • Garden silverroot
  • Geraniums
  • Gladioli
  • Small snowdrop
  • Carnations
  • Peonies
  • Spikey veil creeper
  • Roses
  • Spiraea (spirea shrubs)
  • Roller spurge/Colored spurge

What vegetable plants need lime?

In the vegetable patch, most vegetable varieties also like lime. In particular, high-yielding plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and beets need lime.

But asparagus, leeks or onions also like somewhat alkaline, i.e. lime-containing soils.

  • All cabbage varieties
  • Green asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Leek
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Beetroot
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Chicory salad
  • Onions

What herbs need lime?

Herbs have very different requirements for soil conditions and nutrient content. Some like more stony, barren soils and others more nutritious.

Some herbs also like lime, such as lavender, oregano or chives.

  • Borage
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Woodruff

What fruit needs lime?

Some fruit bushes and trees also like lime. These include raspberries, gooseberries or grapes.

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Fruit trees, from apple to pear to plum, can also be limed.

  • Raspberries
  • Fruit trees
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapes

What shrubs need lime?

Probably the best known shrub or tree that needs lime is the boxwood. The boxwood not only likes a lime-rich soil, but scattered lime also helps on the leaves to keep pests (more precisely, the boxwood borer) away.

Other shrubs that like lime are ivy, all sorts of hedges and shrubs, elderberry or lilac.

  • Boxwood
  • Ivy
  • Common rock pear
  • Hedges
  • Elderberry
  • Butterfly bush
  • Daphne
  • Other shrubs

Is lime good for tomatoes?

Tomatoes are heavy growers and prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil pH between about 5.5-7.5.

Therefore, lime is good tomatoes because it deacidifies the soil and raises the pH.

However, before you lime tomatoes, you should check if there really is a lime deficiency. Only then lime is good for tomatoes by restoring optimal conditions for plant growth.

Is lime good for roses?

Roses need a rather neutral soil with a slight tendency towards acid (pH between 5.5 to 7.0). In no case, however, roses like alkaline soil.

Due to the fact that the soils in Central Europe are slowly but steadily acidifying, lime is good for roses in that it raises the pH slightly and brings it into the ideal range for roses.

However, the soil should not be limed just like that, even for roses, but only if the soil is actually too acidic.

What kind of lime do plants like?

There are many different types of lime that are more or less suitable for use in the garden.

Often there is talk of algal lime, garden lime or carbonic acid lime (you can find this lime here*). All these terms mean the same thing and can be used for liming plants.

Garden or lawn lime (such as this one*) is often just a common term for lime with a high carbonic acid content, as is the case with the Hamann product, for example.

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And algal lime also consists for the most part of carbonic acid lime. More precisely, about 80%, while the rest is magnesium, silicates and smaller amounts of other trace elements, such as boron or iodine.

Whether you use a product called Algal, Garden, Lawn* or Carbonic Lime* does not matter as long as the percentage of Carbonic Lime is at least 80% (which is usually the case).

The types just mentioned are suitable for all types of soils, but especially for light, i.e. sandy or slightly loamy soils.

For heavy soils it can make sense to use quicklime in extreme cases. You can find quicklime in garden stores as well as directly here on the internet.

Alternatively, quicklime can be made from ash. You can find more details in this article.


However, caution is advised when using quicklime, which is why it is not usually recommended in home gardens.

This is because quicklime acts very quickly and aggressively or, depending on the concentration and quantity, it can even be highly corrosive.

As soon as water (e.g. in the form of rain) meets quicklime, slaked lime is formed which acts a little slower but is still corrosive. Therefore, you should refrain from using quicklime or slaked lime in your own garden or, in an emergency, consult a specialty store or nursery for advice.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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