Plants that don’t like mushroom compost are those that grow in acidic soil. They might suffer from chemical burns, stunted growth, or other problems when grown with mushroom compost.

Plants That Dont Like Mushroom Compost Plant America

This is why it is important to know if the plant you are planning to grow is compatible with mushroom compost. Read this guide to find out what some of these commonly occurring plants are.

List of Plants That Don’t Like Mushroom Compost

Plants that don’t like mushroom compost are usually the ones that need acidic soil in order to grow. These plants are called Ericaceous plants. The reason why they don’t like this compost is because of its acidic nature, which messes with their soil’s pH. 

Read the complete list below to find the most common plants that don’t do well with mushroom compost.

1. Berries

All berries are averse to compost comprising of mushrooms. This includes blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, you name it. This is because berries are Ericaceous plants, meaning they grow and thrive in acidic soil, whereas mushroom compost has quite high alkalinity levels.

Berries in a Dish Plant America

Mushroom compost neutralizes the soil, affecting the growth of these berries. The ideal soil pH for blueberries is 4.0 to 5.3, whereas that for strawberries is 5.5 to 6.5. 

Even your ordinary garden soil might not be so acidic. Adding more organic substances like cow manure or leftover fruits and vegetables will improve the soil’s acidity.

2. Gardenia

Gardenias are a must-have evergreen in your home garden. Their dark green leaves and fragrant flowers are to die for! The ideal soil pH for gardenias is around 6.0 to 7.0. It grows best in acidic soil with perlite or sand added for improved drainage. 

Gardenia Jasminnoides in Bloom Plant America

You should also cover their soil with a layer of mulch to improve water retention and suppress weed growth. Adding spent mushroom compost will lower the pH of the soil and make nutrient absorption difficult for their roots.

3. Hydrangea

Strictly speaking, Hydrangea is a unique plant that can tolerate living in both acidic and alkaline soil. In fact, this compost pile can even improve soil structure.

Hydrangea Purple Flowers Plant America

In fact, the color of their flowers actually depends upon the pH of their soil. In acidic soil, this plant will produce blue flowers. In alkaline soil, this plant will produce pink flowers. 

Therefore, if you want pink flowers, you can give this plant mushroom compost. Otherwise, the answer is no.

4. Rhododendron

Rhododendron is a large genus of woody plants. It includes all sorts of plants from small shrubs to large trees. Its soil pH needs to be quite acidic, i.e 4.5 to 5.0. Because of this, adding mushrooms is a big no-no.

Rhododendron Plant in a Garden Plant America

It is best to add aluminum sulfate to the soil before planting rhododendron. Afterwards, you can continue adding peat, a homemade fertilizer, or even a commercial fertilizer on a regular basis.

5. Azalea

Azaleas are very popular flowering plants with hundreds of different varieties. These shrubs like their soil to be acidic too. Compost with a high mushroom content is not well-tolerated by them.

Azalea Group of Pink Petals Plant America

You can buy commercially prepared ericaceous compost for them, or you can make your own compost using leftover food items, grass clippings, etc. We also recommend lower peat and more loamy substances in a compost meant for Azaleas.

6. Ferns

Ferns are another large family of plants that don’t like to be fertilized with mushrooms. In order to increase the acidity of their soil, we suggest you use organic fertilizer instead

Ferns With Spiky Green Leaves Plant America

You can use homemade compost made from leaf mold, pine cones and leftover fruits and vegetables. Leaf mold compost is best made using hornbeak, oak or beech leaves.

7. Holly 

Holly is a gorgeous ornamental plant that is much sought-after, especially during the holiday season. It grows in soil with an ideal pH of 5.0 to 7.0. Don’t buy mushroom compost for this plant. 

Holly Plant with a Red Berry Plant America

Instead, substitute this compost with another organic plant fertilizer. Also, add a layer of mulch on top of the soil. This will help retain moisture as well as provide nutrients as it breaks down.

8. Juniper

Juniper is a large genus of evergreen plants that are all aromatic in nature. It doesn’t do well with compost made primarily from mushrooms. Its ideal soil pH range is 6.0 to 7.0.

Juniper Tree with Purple Berries Plant America

Such compost will not only decrease the pH of the soil, but it will also cause burns to the root of the plant.

9. Strawberries

You might often ask the question, “Is Mushroom Compost Good for Strawberries?” The answer is no, this compost is not good for strawberries. It is alkaline in nature and lowers the pH of soil.

Strawberries Growth in Soil Plant America

In soils with low pH, the roots of the strawberry plant are unable to absorb adequate nutrients. Their growth becomes stunted and they refuse to produce any strawberries.

10. Lupine

Lupine is a very interesting-looking plant that can grow as tall as one to four feet in length. This plant also doesn’t do very well with mushroom compost. Its growth might be affected, or you will see rapid growth of foliage and suppression of flowers.

Lupine in a Green Landscape Plant America

What you can do, instead, is to add a fertilizer that acidifies the soil. You can also make acidifying organic ingredients like pine cones or leaf mold.

11. Japanese Maple Plant

This plant, known by its scientific name Acer palmatum, is a hardy plant that can survive a variety of different conditions. However, it needs acidic soil and will lose its fresh green color when fertilized with mushroom compost. 

Japanese Maple Plant Plant America

Why don’t you fertilize it with hummus instead? Also, improve the water retention of the soil by adding a layer of effective mulch on top of it.

12. Zinnia

Zinnia Collection of Flowers Plant AmericaZinnia is the American variety of the daisy plant. It is known the world over for its bright and vibrant flowers, but you won’t get to see these flowers at all if you use mushroom compost to fertilize this plant. Why don’t you go for a humus-rich soil and add peat-free homemade compost? 

13. Camellia

Camellia japonica is one of the most famous varieties of flowering plants out there. You will be surprised to learn that this plant grows best in acidic soil too. A rich in mushroom soil will distrub pH levels of the soil and lead to stunted growth and suppression of the bloom of their gorgeous flowers.

Camellia Flowers for a House Garden Plant America

In order to successfully grow camellias, maintain your soil’s pH between 5.5 to 6.5. If the soil isn’t acidic enough, use Ericaceous plant compost. Also, add a thick layer of bark over the soil.

14. Viburnum

Viburnum is a large family of flowering plants native to Europe and the Americas.

Viburnum Plant in White Bloom Plant America

These plants also don’t do well when you add mushroom compost to them. The high salt content of this compost is detrimental to their growth. You will notice that your plant will cease to flower altogether. 

15. Rose Plant

If you wonder “Do Roses Like Mushroom Compost?” then the answer to this is no.

Rose Plant with Big Flower Plant America

The rose plant can tolerate mushroom composts well, however. Its ideal soil pH is around 6.5 but it can also tolerate pH of higher levels. That is why you can safely give this plant this compost even though it is not recommended.

It is best to fertilize with mushrooms when the roots of the plant have already been established. Composts made of mushrooms do have the tendency to suppress germination and cause mushroom compost burns.

16. Sage

The sage plant, or Salvia officinalis, is an herb that belongs to the mint family. It is a common staple in most vegetable gardens. 

Sage Green Plant Plant America

Too much fertilizing has been known to suppress its aroma and flavor. That is why this plant doesn’t like mushroom compost especially. 

Instead, you can add common rotten garden compost for this plant. Cover its soil with three inches of ordinary mulch. Mix compost in this layer of mulch.

17. Geraniums

Geraniums are also known as Crane Bill plants because their stems look like the bill of a crane. They like their soil to be well-draining and rich in organic nutrients with a pH that is neutral to alkaline. 

Geraniums with Pink Petals Plant America

They will respond favorably to small amounts of mushroom composts, but it’s best if you give them a slow-release fertilizer instead. 

18. Potatoes

Do potatoes like mushroom compost? This is one of our most frequently asked questions.

Potatoes Grown in a Pot Plant America

No, potatoes don’t like to grow with a compost that is 100 percent made of mushrooms. This compost isn’t rich enough in essential nutrients to sustain the potato plant. Moreover, its high ionic content is also not healthy. 

However, you can add small amounts of mushroom compost with regular compost and add it to the soil of the potato plant. Their soil modifying properties will definitely help improve the yield of your potatoes.

Plant that don’t like mushroom compost Why They Don’t Like Mushroom Compost
Berries Berries like to grow in acidic soil. Mushroom compost is alkaline and reduces the pH of the soil drastically.
Gardenia Gardenias need to grow in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Mushroom compost makes it difficult for them to absorb nutrients from the soil.
Hydrangea Hydrangeas stop producing blue flowers when given mushroom compost. They only produce pink flowers in this case.
Rhododendron Rhododendron grows in very acidic soil the pH of which needs to be around 4.5 to 5.0. Mushroom compost with its pH above 7.0 will make its growth very difficult.
Azaleas Mushroom compost interferes with the nutrient uptake from the soil by azalea roots. The plant then suffers from stunted growth, leaf yellowing, and poor flower yield.
Ferns This large family of evergreen plants grows best when fertilized with an organic and acidic fertilizer.
Holy Holy plant suffers from both delayed flowering and also produces fewer flowers of poor quality when fertilized with mushroom substrate compost.
Juniper Mushroom compost has been known to cause severe compost burns to the roots of juniper trees.
Strawberries Strawberries are ericaceous plants that need acidic soil. Using alkaline compost will lead to a very poor yield of strawberries, or even no yield at all.
Lupine Using mushroom compost leads to stunted plant growth in lupines.
Japanese ‘Maple’ Plant This too is an ericaceous plant that should be given an acidic fertilizer.
Zinnia Your zinnia plant will not bloom if given mushroom compost.
Camellia Their soil pH should be in the range of 5.5 to 6.5. Adding mushroom compost will disturb the soil’s pH.
Viburnum The high salt levels in mushroom compost cause burns to the roots of the viburnum plant. Consequently, the plant suffers from nutrient deficiency.
Rose Plant Rose plant can tolerate mushroom compost well but it is not recommended.
Sage Using mushroom compost will lead to sage that has a poor aroma and flavor.
Geraniums Again, the alkaline pH of this compost is detrimental to the growth and flowering of the geranium plant.
Potato Plant Mushroom compost or spent mushroom substrate isn’t rich in nutrients enough to sustain the potato plants.


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