What is my soil type and why does it matter?

When you add a plant to your dashboard, PlantLink asks you to select a soil type from a list with names like "silty loam" or "clay." You're probably wondering what all those soil types are, how you know which type you have, and why it matters. You're in the right place!

Soil type matters to your plants for a lot of reasons which we won't go into here, but if you're interested, talk to your favorite gardening expert to find the right soil for your plants. Soil type matters to PlantLink for one simple reason: PlantLink needs to know your soil type to accurately measure your soil moisture. PlantLink measures the electrical conductance of your soil, consults a database of the electrical properties of various soils types, and calculates your soil moisture. PlantLink is good at a lot of things, but it needs your help to know what soil type it is sitting in.

So how do you figure out what your soil type is? Below is a handy guide (click here to enlarge).  If you're still not sure what your soil type is, don't worry. Try the default soil type for a few weeks and see if it works for your plant. It may not be perfect, but your plant will thank you anyway.

USDA soil texture flowchart

Source: Modified from S.J. Thien. 1979. A flow diagram for teaching texture by feel analysis. Journal of Agronomic Education. 8:54-55.



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