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 sandy types of soil.
Summary – What Grows Well In Sandy Soil
- Sandy 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 sandy soil than others
- There’s different materials that can be added to a sandy soil in order to amend or improve it for growing conditions
- However, some sandy soils may never be able to grow certain things
- Some soils may be a sandy mix, which means that it may be predominantly sand, 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 sandy 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 sandy soils generally, but, individual growing variables can change that to different extents
Characteristics Of, & Profile Of Sandy Soil
Pure sandy soil tends to:
- Have larger soil particles than clay and silt
- Be a looser soil with less soil structure than a soil with finer particles
- Not hold water very well because of how large and spaced apart the soil particles are
- Have good drainage
- Be well aerated
- Not hold onto nutrients very well – nutrients can get washed away along with the water that sandy soil loses
Working With, Improving & Amending Sandy Soil
Sandy soil might require organic amendments such as glacial rock dust, greensand, kelp meal, or other organic fertilizer blends. It also benefits from mulching to help retain moisture. (learn.eartheasy.com)
As mentioned by wariapendi.com.au, choosing plants that grow naturally in sandy soil (as opposed to plants that need different soil conditions) is one way to possibly dodge issues with growing in sandy soil, and seeing your soil amendment attempts go to waste.
Using raised garden beds with imported soil is another option if you have issues with growing in sandy soil.
Read more about working with and improving sandy soil:
- How To Make The Most Of Your Soil (learn.eartheasy.com)
- Plants For Sandy Soils (wariapendi.com.au)
- Plants That Grow In Sandy Soil (blog.gardenloversclub.com)
- List Of Crops That Grow In Sandy Soil (homeguides.sfgate.com)
- How To Permanently Improve Your Sandy Soil (permaculturenews.org)
- Plants For Sandy Dry Conditions (lancaster.unl.edu)
- Soil Type Test (burkesbackyard.com.au)
A Note On Soil Types, & What Ultimately Impacts How Things Grow
Before we look at what grows well in sandy soil, it’s important to note that all soils are slightly different in composition depending on the location (you might get a pure sand soil in one location, but in another you might get a mixed sand soil or a 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 sandy 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?
Plants & Flowers That Grow Well In Sandy Soil
- Tree mallow
- Sun roses
- Rugosa Rose
- California Poppy
- Crape Myrtle
- Blanket Flower
- Russian Sage
- Butterfly weed
- Joe Pye Weed
- Black Eyed Susan
- Crape Myrtle
Vegetables, Fruits & Crops That Grow Well In Sandy Soil
- Collard greens
- Root crops often grow well in the crumbly, loose texture that sand provides
- Carrots, radishes and potatoes are examples of root vegetables
- Leafy greens like lettuce and collard greens can grow well
- Tomatoes, zucchini and corn can grow in soil in the summer
- Aromatic herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano)
Trees & Shrubs That Grow Well In Sandy Soil
- Eastern white pine
- Red cedar
- Flowering crab apple
- + other shrubs
Australian Plants & Trees That Grow Well In Sandy Soils
Read more about Australian plants and trees in sandy soils at wariapendi.com.au