The Garden Plant
Tropical Plant soil

What you should know about Tropical Plant Soil

Tropical plant soil in its real character could be called tropical soil powder. The characteristics of tropical soil are so sandy that it could be called- tropical powder.

Before I moved to South Florida, I lived in Iowa (the best soil) and Georgia some of the worst soil in America. In Iowa, the soil is a deep rich black, full of nutrients and ready to grow about anything.

In Georgia, the dirt is red, mostly hard and compact. The soil in Georgia needs to be amended with Perlite and Black Kow (Cow manure)before a garden or grass should be planted.

Tropical Soil Characteristics

In South Florida, especially where I am in Miami Beach, the Tropical soil is brown, sandy, and very loose. If you are planting in the ground in South Florida, you should amend the soil. This is for the roots to have something to grab, because of the sand content in most of South Florida.

Tropical soils exist in hot conditions with high rainfall. Most people don’t know that- Tropical soils are the world’s oldest soils, the results of this aged soil is that little to no organic or nutrient value is in this sort of dirt.

The heat that Tropical soils have to deal with is a big part of the problem for Tropical soil types. The sun burns away a lot of the organics and nutrients in the soil unless this soil is covered by trees.

That along with the heavy rain and drainage that continually washes away the decent topsoils that are present. This causes Tropical Soil to be fallow almost year-round. When planting outside or creating gardens outside in a Florida landscape, you will have to add a product like Black Kow or a soil amendment that adds organics and nutrients to your garden.

Tropical Plant Soil
Tropical Plant Soil

Growing in Plants in Tropical Soil

Also, know that you will need to continue to amend the soil once or twice a year because of the rain that will wash away a lot of your nutrients every year.

Tropical rainforest soil, isn’t necessarily like the soil we have in South Florida or Tropical Soil in California. Rainforest soil, in most cases, is canopied by trees.

The leaves that fall, and the plants that die on the dirt supply quite a bit of the organic and nutrients for new plant growth.

With the advent of professional landscapers with their blowers, most home gardeners don’t have plants and trees on the ground long enough to decompose back into the land.

Tropical Plant soil in your Houseplants

The tropical soil in most House Plants isn’t actually a tropical soil. You will know when you see tropical soil because of the sand content in the soil.

Tropical soil in areas that have canopies of trees is darker- almost black. Tropical soil with no overhead growth is a light brown color and has even more sand content in it.

Most Topical plants bought at your local Home Depot or favorite nursery were raised down here in South Florida, Homestead, and Florida City.

The growers down here do heavy amendments to the soil just so the soil won’t come out of the drainage holes in the grow pot.

Tropical Soils Origins

Tropical rainforests found in Africa, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the northern tip of Australia,
South Florida and the Caribbean.

Authentic ‘rainforest tropical soil’, is covered in foliage that has a quick life and death cycles. These plants get offered the soil nutrients that they would not usually expect in areas where not as many plants foliages are present.

Most of the South Florida Tropical soil is so intermixed with sand that the above wouldn’t be true.
This doesn’t mean that plants suffer, plants and grass have found a way to make the best of a bad situation concerning soil. The endless sun and water supplied by the South Florida ecosystem makes up for terrible tropical soil nutrients.


Brent Richard Dixon

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