Different soils have different textures and properties that should be considered when growing different things in them.
In this short guide, we outline what might grow well in chalky soil.
Summary – What Grows Well In Chalky Soil
Chalky soil has traits/properties that make it different from other types of soils
These traits/properties mean that different plants, fruits, vegetables, and other things are going to be more suitable for growing in chalky soil than others
There’s different materials that can be added to a chalky soil in order to amend or improve it for growing conditions
However, some chalky soils may never be able to grow certain things
Some soils may be a chalk mix, which means that it may be predominantly chalky, but also include a certain % of another type of soil as well. This may change the suitability of the soil to grow different things in it, as it isn’t a full chalky soil
The soil type is only one factor in determining what you can and can’t grow in that soil – there’s also other factors to consider, with climate/weather conditions being one major one
Overall, each individual geographic area (in different regions, States/Provinces, and so on) of soil needs to be assessed individually with all it’s own unique factors and variables to determine what does and doesn’t grow well in it. There may be growing principles that apply to chalky soils generally, but, individual growing variables can change that to different extents
Characteristics Of, & Profile Of Chalky Soil
– Can be a light or heavy soil
– Is usually an alkaline soil (with a pH level above 7) because of the lime or calcium carbonate found in it or underneath it
– Doesn’t suit the growth of plants that need acidic (below pH 7) or neutral (pH 7) conditions to grow.
– Minerals can leach out of chalky soil quickly, and it drains quite quickly because of the large soil particle size or the rocks sometimes found in it
Adding fertilizer, balancing the pH and adding organic matter can make chalky soil more fertile, more workable and improve moisture retention.
Working With, Improving & Amending Chalky Soil
Read more about working with chalky soil at rhs.org.uk
A Note On Soil Types, & What Ultimately Impacts How Things Grow
Before we look at what grows well in chalky soil, it’s important to note that all soils are slightly different in composition depending on the location (you might get one type of chalky soil in one location, but in another you might get a different type of chalky soil with different characteristics), there are different external factors acting upon each soil, and ultimately, there are many physical, chemical and biological factors that determine how well something grows in a particular spot or under particular conditions.
This is just a guide on chalky soils in general, without going into extreme depth about all these other factors (factors like soil fertility, soil health, soil quality, fertilizer added, top soil added, pesticides added, tilling practices and so on).
It would do you well in the long term to get information on the soil in your location (what it is and what is the best way to manage it), the climate in your location (temperature, rainfall etc.) and the growing seasons (for example – the US has different planting zones), the plants or things you want to grow and the conditions they need – and come up with a specific plan for your situation.
These guides provide some basic information on figuring out what might grow well in different soils, conditions and locations:
- All The Factors That Affect The Growth Of Plants
- How To Know What Grows In Your Soil Or Garden
- How To Know What Grows In Your Geographic Area Or Climate Zone
- I Can’t Grow Anything In My Soil – What Do I Do?
What Grows Well In Alkaline Soils?
We’ve already put together a guide on what can grow in alkaline soils.
Trees, Flowers, Plants & Shrubs That Grow In Chalky Soil
- Madonna lilies
- Mock Oranges
Read more about plants suitable for chalky soils at:
Vegetables & Crops That Grow In Chalky Soil
- Sweet corn