Shop all plants for chalky soil
Chalky soils are alkaline, free draining and tend to have a lower nutrient content of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium than neutral, loamy soils. Chalks soils normally dry out more quickly during periods of dry weather (unless there is also clay present) and very chalky soils may contain visible lumps of white stone. It’s normally best to choose plants that are naturally suited to your soil type, rather than trying to change its pH, although some natural improvement with organic matter will always serve your plants well. Any artificial change in soil pH will only be temporary and will need to be repeated over time. Generally speaking, chalky soils are best suited to plants that like sharp drainage and are not too greedy in terms of nutrient requirements. In this section we show our full range of climbers, conifers, hedging plants, perennials, shrubs and trees that are best suited to growing on chalk.
When planting on chalky soils, break up the chalk to a depth of 75cm (30 inches) so that plant roots can spread out and establish. Build in plenty of well rotted organic matter and consider planting mature specimens, rather than smaller plants, which will establish more quickly. It’s particularly important to water plants until they’ve become established if you’re growing on chalk as it is more prone to drying out. The depth of soil over chalk can vary considerably. If the depth of top soil in your garden is particularly shallow (some may have just 10cm or a few inches of soil before hitting solid chalk), additional top soil will need to be added on top of your ground to make planting viable. Limestone soils have similar characteristics.