Everybody knows that plants grow their best in fertile soil, packed with nutrients. But what happens if your garden’s soil is less than optimal? Poor soil can mean many things. Sometimes it can refer to soil with heavy amounts of clay, while other times it can refer to sandy or chalky soil. Regardless of the reason for poor soil, the outcome is generally the same: many plants struggle to grow in it.
While you could choose to grow plants in pots, or add potting mix and manure to a section of ground, there are some plants that are able to handle poor soil for those who would rather get straight into gardening. Below we’ve listed four plants that can grow well in poor soil, to help get you started on your gardening journey.
This popular salad fruit is notorious for being able to grow just about anywhere. Tomato plants make a great option for those wishing to start growing fruits and veggies in an area where soil is poor, due to their hardy nature. While hardy, they tend to have a little bit of trouble staying upright, so gently tying them to a stick or pole can be helpful in guiding them to do so.
Zucchinis are another food that stems from a hardy plant. If you’re a fan of this member of the squash family, then you’ll be pleased to hear that, like tomatoes, they can grow in most soil types. Zucchinis are a great plant to grow in a garden as the fruits are packed with vitamins. Just be sure to give them plenty of room, as zucchini plants have a tendency to sprawl out as they grow.
Like many succulents, aloe vera is great at thriving in poor soil. This plant requires very little water, making it a good choice for areas often affected by drought. Aloe vera plants will often produce “pups” or “offsets”, meaning you may find a few little aloe plants springing up next to your original. These can be left alone or replanted elsewhere. The extract from the leaves of aloe vera is also a popular remedy to help soothe sunburn.
The lavender plant can grow in many poor soil types, and produces beautiful flowers on long stems. While the most common flower colour for this plant is a light purple or “lavender” colour, there are other variations available, including those with pink, blue or white blooms. Lavender flowers generally have a strong fragrance and can often help to attract bees into a garden.
This list only covers a handful of the many plants that can be grown in poor soil. While having less than optimal soil can be frustrating for the avid gardener, there are still many options available for those wishing to grow plants. Over time, it may be best to add more nutrients to the soil through compost, manure and potting mix, but in the meantime, it could be worth growing some hardy plants to satisfy the green thumb!