What Grows Well In Silty Soil

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 silty soils, along with other relevant considerations.


Summary – What Grows Well In Silty Soil

Silty 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 silty soils 

Some soils may be a silt mix, which means that it may be predominantly silt, but also include a certain % of another type of soil as well (such as a clay or sand for example)

This may change the suitability of the soil to grow different things in it, as it isn’t a full silt soil

There’s different things that can be done to a silty soil in order to amend it or improve it’s fertility, for the purposes of growing and soil productivity/soil yield

However, some silty soils may only be able to be modified to a certain point, and may always be unsuitable for growing certain things

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 silty soils may have general soil production principles that apply to them, but, may also have unique local variables impacting soil production as well

Read more in this guide about the main considerations for growing different types of plants in different types of soils, conditions, and geographic locations


Profile Of Silty Soil – Traits, Characteristics, & Features

Silty soils may have these general features, traits, and characteristics:

– Has medium particle size (somewhere in between clay and sand in terms of size), and a silky texture

– Is a light soil that is easy to compact

– Decent water retention

– Decent aeration

– It’s fairly fertile, although some say it doesn’t hold nutrients as well as a more structured soil like clay

– Generally needs to be managed in terms of drainage, structure and nutrients

– Good for growing a variety of different things with the right management


Real Examples Of Silty Soil, & Where It Might Be Found

Silt is often transported in water sources like rivers, deposited on shores and on river banks, and deposited onto plots of land by wind and floods.

According to nationalgeographic.org: ‘… silt settles in still water. So, deposits of silt slowly fill in places like wetlands, lakes, and harbors. Floods deposit silt along river banks and on flood plains. Deltas develop where rivers deposit silt as they empty into another body of water. About 60 percent of the Mississippi River Delta is made up of silt … In some parts of the world, windblown silt blankets the land. Such deposits of silt are known as loess’

This resource also shows the composition of soils across the United States, in terms of the concentration of clay, sand and silt in different regions and States.


Amending, Improving & Working With Silty Soil

Silty soil might benefit from the addition of composted organic matter to help improve drainage, add structure, and add nutrients.

You can read more about working with silty soil at agverra.com


A Note On Soil Types, & What Ultimately Impacts How Things Grow

Before we look at what grows well in silty soil, it’s important to note that all soils have a slightly different composition in each geographic location – you might get a silty soil in one location, but in another location you might get a solity soil mixed with another type of soil, 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 silty 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:

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?


Below is a collection of generalized lists of things that may grow well in silty 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.


Plants, Flowers and Shrubs That Grow Well In Silty Soil


New Zealand flax

– learn.eartheasy.com


Perennials, roses, ferns, bulbs and shrubs:




Some types of roses

Butterfly Bush

Japanese Barberry

Smoke Tree

Some types of ferns

Some types of bulbs

– hunker.com



Yellow iris

Japanese iris

Swamp milkweed

– agverra.com


Vegetables, Crops and Fruit That Grow Well In Silty Soil

In silty soil with adequate drainage, most vegetables, crops and fruits grow well

– learn.eartheasy.com


Trees That Grow Well In Silty Soil

Moisture-loving trees such as Willow, Birch, Dogwood and Cypress



Trees and shrubs:

Weeping willow

Bald cypress

Red twig dogwood

River birch

Red chokeberry

American elder

– agverra.com



1. https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/know-your-garden-soil-how-to-make-the-most-of-your-soil-type/

2. https://www.hunker.com/13406965/types-of-plants-grown-in-silty-soil 

3. http://agverra.com/blog/silty-soil/

4. https://www.thompson-morgan.com/plants-for-soil-types

5. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/87220/soil-composition-across-the-us

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silt

7. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/silt/


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