What Kind of Soil Is Best for Growing Plants?

What kind of soil is best for growing plants?

Having an ideal soil is important when we want to plant any type of plant. 

In this article, we talk about the best types of soil that will take care of your plant.

Soil classification:

Outdoor soil is usually of three different types:


Sandy soil contains larger particles than other soils. It is rough and dry to the touch because the particles that compose it are widely separated from each other and do not hold water well.

In sandy soils, the water drains quickly. These soils are not the best quality for agriculture as they do not retain nutrients.

Plants in sandy soils do not have the opportunity to make good use of nutrients efficiently due to the speed with which the water drains.

The sandy soil on the other hand retains the temperature better, so as soon as spring arrives it is warmer than other types of soil.

Among the trees that can be grown in sandy soils are avocado, palm trees, pines, eucalyptus or cypresses.

2.Clay Soil

Clay soils are a type of soil that is made up of fine yellowish grains, 45% clay, they retain a lot of water and form puddles.

Also known as heavy soils, these are potentially fertile, as they contain nutrients bound to the clay minerals in the soil.

But they also contain a high proportion of water due to the capillary attraction of the small spaces between the numerous clay particles.

They drain slowly and take longer to heat up in spring than sandy soils.

Clayey soils are easily compacted when stepped on while wet and bake hard in the summer, often cracking noticeably.

These soils often challenge the gardener to the limit, but when handled properly with cultivation and plant choice, working with this type of soil can be very rewarding.

3.Loam or silt

These types of soils are made up of smaller particles and softer to the touch than sandy ones. 

Loamy soils retain water longer, as well as nutrients.

Its color is dark brown, the silts are made up of a mixture of fine sand and clay that forms a kind of mud next to the mud and plant remains. 

This type of soil usually occurs in the river bed.

They are very fertile soils given their degree of humidity and nutrients. 

The plant is easier to grow than sandy or clay soils.

Among its main characteristics:

  • They are stony.
  • Dark color.
  • They filter the water quite quickly, they are very fertile soils.
  • The organic matter present in this type of soil decomposes quickly, which is why it is a soil rich in nutrients.

These soils are made up of smaller particles and softer to the touch than sandy ones. 

Loam soils retain water longer, as well as nutrients. Its color is dark brown, the silts are made up of a mixture of fine sand and clay that forms a kind of mud next to the mud and plant remains. 

In silty soils, almost all types of trees and plants can grow, except those that need very dry conditions. 

Trees such as willow, ash, holm oak, poplar or poplar grow well.

The ideal soil for most plants is one that is rich in nutrients, that is, sandy soil. But do not be overwhelmed if you think that your soil does not meet the appropriate conditions because you can always modify its conditions and make them optimal with a little fertilizer.

4.Humid soils or black soil:

We call humid soils those soils that already have decomposed organic material. 

In this type of soil, we can see organisms or microorganisms that can be very beneficial to plants.

In this way, humid soils are the most chosen to develop agricultural land activities.

In Humid soil, it is normal to find earthworms and other types of annelids that are dedicated to making holes and thus allow the soil to trap all water and minerals, being very fertile lands.

These soils are also known as black earth soils because, as there are decomposing substances in the earth, they have a very dark color.

In addition, they usually absorb water very well so it is normal that they are also very dark due to humidity.

5.Pat soil:

Excellent soil for cultivation, it is used in agriculture as a substrate for cultivation. 

The peat soil is dark brown or black in color.

They are smooth in texture and have a high content of water and nutrients. 

Peat soils are usually saturated with water but once drained they are excellent for cultivation.

One of the valuable characteristics of peat soils is their ability to retain water in dry months and their ability to protect roots from low temperatures in winter.

Peat soils contain an acidic pH between 3.5 and 4 pH and are used by farmers to regulate soil chemistry as well as a control agent for soil pests.

Peat soil is perfect for all types of seedbed as it is porous and retains moisture well.

Indoor soil:

If you have plants that are growing indoors, you may think it is a good idea to get the soil out into the garden for your plants to grow there, but this is a common mistake and also a bad idea.

Garden soil really contains bacteria that can kill your houseplants.

The ideal characteristics that the soil must-have for the cultivation of our plants:

1. Deep soil, to improve the deep soil, perhaps due to the appearance of a very hard rock difficult to cross or simply due to a compact clayey layer, we must add topsoil to improve the soil.

I recommend that in addition to adding the soil, you work in-depth to break the waterproof layer.

2. To improve the crumbling structure I recommend that you add organic matter. Similarly, in very clay soils, it is recommended to add river sand.

3. Capacity to retain water, remember that sandy soils are dry and have little capacity to retain water, so we must water the plants quite a bit.

The opposite is the case with clay soils that can store too much water. To improve sandy soils, try to add more or less 100 kilos of organic matter for every 100 square meters of peat.

For sandy soils try to water less but more times during the day and week.

4. Adequate drainage, keep in mind that clay soils as they store more water have a tendency to puddle so the roots can rot.

To improve bad drainage, I recommend that you install drainage pipes, add organic matter to the soil, or choose species that better resist that type of soil conditions.

5. Good capacity to retain mineral nutrients, Clay soils store many nutrients, if a large amount of fertilizer is applied at any given time, the soil assimilates it and then gradually releases it over time, such as a piggy bank.

6.Rich in mineral nutrients:

These are the 13 mineral elements that all plants must have.


  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Magnesium (Mg)
  • Sulfur (S)


  • Iron (Fe)
  • Zinc (Zn)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Boron (B)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Chlorine (Cl)

7. Soil not infected by fungi, nematodes, soil worms, or weeds: A repeatedly cultivated soil increases the populations of fungi that live in the soil,therefore it is recommended to provide organic matter (manure, mulch, compost, etc).

Elements that you can add to the ground to improve it

We must take into account, in addition to the nutrients, we can provide the texture of the substrate.

It should be light and fluffy to allow the roots to breathe so that they can obtain nutrients and water easily.

It is best to include a mix in the pot of several different substrates to take advantage of their characteristics.

Organic substrates


It is obtained by vermicompost and it is a type of organic substrate that brings a lot of fertility to the soil due to its nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron and sodium content.

It has a spongy texture and is excellent for improving aeration, promoting seed germination. 

To make matters worse, earthworm humus inhibits the growth of fungi and bacteria harmful to plants, making it excellent to use when preparing seedlings. 

2.Padding or mulch:

It is a widely used practice in permaculture and forms the last layer and therefore the most superficial. 

The mulch, in addition to avoiding erosion, contributes organic matter to the soil and protects the roots against adverse temperatures (from excessive cold or heat) and helps to maintain an optimum degree of humidity in the pot.

This will help reduce irrigation and save water. 

Inert substrates:

1.Coconut fiber:

It is another type of substrate that we can add to the mixture that we prepare to fill the pots and is suitable for all types of crops.

The characteristics of coconut fiber are very interesting: it improves the aeration capacity, the retention of water and nutrients, it reduces the risks of the appearance of fungal diseases, among others.


It is a granular substrate and its characteristics include the oxygenation of the soil due to its porosity, in addition, perlite is a natural mineral that helps to maintain constant humidity in the pots.

It is resistant to erosion and due to the effect of light on perlite, it repels some insects and mites. Reduces the appearance of spontaneous or unwanted plants.


Gravel (like perlite) due to its characteristics will not contribute nutrients or fertility to the soil, but its use has some benefits.

It is excellent drainage, so it will help eliminate excess water in the pot and thus avoid root rot and major damage to plants.

Also as the gravel is porous, it facilitates air circulation in the pot. With gravel we can use the river pebbles.


It is another substrate that we can use to provide drainage to plants and prevent caking. The best option is washed river sand and it is usually used due to its characteristics to make seedlings in equal parts together with the earthworm humus.

For example, an option to prepare a pot would be to first put a layer of sand or gravel, then you can add another one of coconut fiber, on top of another one of earthworm humus and finally the mulch.