Not lime. Limestone

Adam Fikso
Thu, 26 Jun 2008 11:02:50 PDT
I did not say anything about adding lime in my brief post about Ixiolirion 
tataricum.  But I note a number of replies are all about adding lime, 
increasing pH, etc. Plants sometimes need calcium and cannot take it up if 
it's not in solution. To be in solution, it's got to be dissolved from  a 
water-soluble salt, e.g., Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Nitrate, etc.  Lime is 
not limestone, nor is all limestone dolomitic. They always need a source of 

Dolomitic limestone is a major source of magnesium which is the inorganic 
element around which the chlorophyll  molecule is organized just as iron is 
the inorganic element in the  hemoglobin molecule.  Each is central to the 
organization of these principal molecules that differentiate  animals from 
plants.  We bleed red, plants bleed green.   Plants die if they can't pick 
up enough magnesium.  (Very rare), but occasionally a growing mix may make 
particular plants struggle unnecessarily. Very alkaline soils make many 
plants die.  And as noted, most plants do very well in a slightly acid or 
neutral soil.

Of course many acid-loving plants, e.g., the heaths, cranberries,  can be 
found growing over limestone,falling leaves and leafy detritus from 
evergreens tend to become acidic as they rot and degrade into new soil. 
Let's clarify our thinking here and not insist on accuracy only in the area 
of trying to establish boundaries for taxonomic niceties that don't mean 
much except to taxonomists and those of us who have to put up with them to 
talk understandably to one another. 

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