Different soils have different textures and properties that may impact what can grow in them, and also how things grow in them.
In this short guide, we outline what might grow well in loamy types of soils – which are called loam, or sandy loam (when the loam mix is majority sand) … along with other relevant considerations.
Summary – What Grows Well In Loamy Soil
Loamy soil has it’s own unique traits/properties that makes it different from other types of soils
These traits/properties impact how suitable or unsuitable it is to grow different plants, fruits, vegetables, crops etc. in loamy soils
Some sources indicate that the best soil is a loam type soil that is 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt, and 20 percent clay as it’s fertile, but also has good water drainage, good moisture retention and allows good infiltration of air and water.
There’s still things that can be done to a loamy soil in order to amend it or improve it’s fertility, for the purposes of growing and soil productivity/soil yield
The soil type is only one factor in determining what you can and can’t grow in that soil (or, how effectively something might grow in a specific soil type)
Other factors to consider for growing in different soils include the general soil fertility, and the local conditions and variables such as weather and climate, as just a few major examples
Overall, each square area of soil on an individual plot of land potentially has it’s own unique factors and variables to consider that will impact soil production. And, the same can be said for the soil in the different geographic locations around the world
All loamy soils may have general soil production principles that apply to them, but, may also have unique local variables impacting soil production as well
Profile Of Loamy Soil – Traits, Characteristics, & Features
Loamy soil may have these general features, traits, and characteristics:
– Be one of the best and most fertile soils for cultivation of plants and crops of many kinds … it’s often referred to as the ideal soil type
– Consist of sand, clay, and silt – so it combines the best qualities of each.
– Have good aeration
– Hold water well and also drains it well
– Have good soil structure
– Has a dark brown or black color to it
Real Examples Of Loam Soil, & Where It Might Be Found
In terms of a real life example of where loamy soils might be found, the bbc.com resource listed indicates that Iowa in the United States contains dark, loamy soil that is highly fertile, and used for agricultural crop production (of different crops).
In that guide we also outline other specific US States that might have highly fertile State or Representative Soils.
Working With, Improving & Amending Loam Soils
Adding To & Working With Loam Soil
Loam soil can benefit from topping up with organic matter, mulches, composts and sometimes needs slight pH rebalancing if it’s a touch too acidic.
Also, sometimes needs watering regularly to prevent it from drying out
Some say the best soil is a loam type soil that is 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt, and 20 percent clay as it’s fertile, but also has good water drainage, good moisture retention and allows good infiltration of air and water.
More Resources On Working With Loam Soils
Read more about working with and amending or improving loam soil at:
A Note On Soil Types, & What Ultimately Impacts How Things Grow
Before we look at what grows well in loamy soil, it’s important to note that all soils have a slightly different composition in each geographic location – you might get a balanced loamy soil in one location, but in another location you might get a loam soil that is far more unbalanced, and this can change it’s characteristics
There are also different external factors acting upon the soil in each geographic area. Climate and weather are a major example of this
Additionally, there are ultimately a range of physical, chemical and biological factors that determine how well something grows in a particular spot or under particular conditions.
Soil fertility is a major factor tied to soil’s physical, chemical and biological traits, that can impact soil productivity and yield. Some soils have high natural fertility, but it’s also possible to modify or increase the fertility of some soils
This is just a guide on loam soils in general, without going into extreme depth about all these other factors (factors like soil fertility, soil health, soil quality, the impact of adding fertilizers and pesticides, bringing in commercial topsoil, the impact of different tilling practices, and so on).
To assess the soil in an individual location, it can help to become aware of factors like:
– What the soil is, and what is the best way to manage it
– The climate in that 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
This is of course just basic information – it’s important to research beyond these things for each individual situation.
These guides provide some basic information on figuring out what might grow well in different soils, conditions and locations:
Below is a collection of generalized lists of things that may grow well in loam soil.
It’s important that you don’t rely solely on these lists though – obviously you should do your own additional research, and make your own independent decisions.
Flowers & Plants That Grow Well In Loam Soil
Flower bulbs that grow well in sandy soils include snowdrops, anemones, grape hyacinths, lilies and daffodils
Annual and perennial flowers recommended for sandy loam soils include lemon bee balm, blood sage, Maximilian sunflower, butterfly milkweed and purple poppymallow
Vegetables, Crops & Fruits That Grow Well In Loam Soil
Most common vegetable crops and berry crops will do well in loamy soil
Examples of common vegetables and crops that grow well in loamy soil are tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers, onions and lettuce.
Other popular vegetables that will grow well in sandy loams include sweet corn, okra, radishes, eggplant, carrots, pole beans, greens and spinach
In general, root vegetables, and leafy vegetables to do well in sandy loam
Fruits that can grow in loam include:
Trees & Shrubs That Grow Well In Loam Soil
… pine species, soft maple, honey locust, cottonwood, willow and Douglas firs will grow in a wide array of soils including sandy loam.
Rose, sumac, honeysuckle, hazel and juniper are a few of the shrubs you can successfully grow in sandy loam.
Herbs & Spices That Grow Well In Loam Soil
Lemon balm, sage, basil, horehound, lavender and thyme are only a few of the herbs and spices that grow in sandy loam.