Types of soil in India: Know the top 4 major types of soil like Alluvial, Black, Red, Mountain, etc.

This article is about the importance of soil and the types of soil in India.

Introduction of Soil:

Soil is the loose material that covers the earth’s surface. On most of the earth, the land is covered by soil. Soil is the living skin of the earth, it gives nutrients to plants. Different types of crops are produced on different types of soil. It also provides building materials, homes for animals, and things like Cosmetic products, pottery, Ceramic, etc., we used in day-to-day life. It is not just dirt but a valuable natural resource that supports life on the planet. The agricultural industry depends on the nature of the types of soils.


What is soil?

Soil is made up of rocks, air, and water, and does not form in a day. It takes 100’s of years to form soil. There are three layers of soil.

  • The top layer of the soil where plants grow and the layer is only a few inches thick. Humus is the part of the topsoil.
  • The middle layer is the subsoil it is a combination of soil and rocks.
  • The bedrock is the bottom layer that is made up of many layers of rock.

There are four types of soil and it’s properties:

1.Sand:- Sand has the largest particle it feels rough and greedy. This soil has air spaces between the grains of sand the air space lets water drain quickly. Sandy soil is commonly used in construction because it contains the largest and most stable particles, which aids in the construction process.

2.Silt:- Slit has medium size particles, it feels smooth when wet. Silt soil holds more water than sandy soil. It has more fertility as compared to other types of soil.

3.Clay:- Clay has the smallest particles, it feels sticky when wet and hardens when dry. Clay can retain water, but it lacks the oxygen that plants need. It is mostly used for making household products like pots, pipes, etc., it is also used for making bricks, walls, floor tiles, and many more.

4.Loam:- Loam is made up of clay, sand, and silt. It consists of nutrients that are available in all three types. Loam soil is especially found in the Farming area.

Soil Properties:

Besides providing food and water, soil helps plants to stand tall by holding their roots in place. Farmers want to plant their crop in the best soil with the most Nutrients to prepare the soil for planting seeds. A farmer uses a tractor to till the soil. Crops grow in different types of soil. Soil is also used in medicine, a bacteria naturally found in the soil, which is used to make ANTI-BIOTICS that treat infections.

History of Soil in India:

Vasily Dokuchaev was the first to classify soil scientifically. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research divides India’s soils into eight groups (ICAR). Alluvial soil, black cotton soil, red soil, laterite soil, mountainous or forest soils, arid or desert soil, saline and alkaline soil, peat, and marshy soil are all types of soil found in India.

Importance of Soil:

The soil is essential to our survival. Soils preserve water and minerals, as well as a foundation for roots. Soil is mainly made up of mineral particles, air, water, raw compounds, and living organisms. Soil is not just earthed it is an important natural resource it provides life on earth.

Also read:

Geographical Map of Soil in India:


Around 40% of India is dominated by alluvial soil, which is located along riverbanks.

Major types of Soil in India:

1.Alluvial soil:

The Alluvial soil maintains the ecosystem. India’s largest and most significant soil community. It is divided into Khadar and Bhangar. It is one of the most fertile soils on the planet. The Satluj- Ganga-Brahmaputra Plains are mostly covered with alluvial soil. They can also be found in the Narmada and Tapi river valleys, as well as the Eastern and Western coastal plains. Rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, oilseeds, and other crops thrive in this soil.



  • Alluvial soils filter sediments and nutrients from the water surrounding them.
  • They have a lot of humus and are very fertile.
  • They are potassium-rich and well-suited for agricultural use.


  • They are sandier by nature, which makes them less ideal because they lose water more quickly.
  • In Alluvial soil, the water logs.

2.Red soil:

It is the 2nd largest soil in the country. The red soil’s lower layer is dark and fertile, while the upper layer is sandy and porous. This soil is mainly found in Tamil Nadu, Bundelkhand, Kathiawar, Raj Mahal.



  • In contrast to other soils, red soil has a greater potential for drainage.
  • Red soil contains higher amounts of copper, lime, and aluminum.
  • The acidity of red soil is high.


  • They are lacking in nutrients and humus, and they are difficult to produce.
  • Lime, phosphorus, and nitrogen are both deficient.
  • It’s small, brittle, and littered with loose gravel.

3.Black or cotton soil:

Black soil is also known as cotton soil, and it is referred to as ‘Tropical Chernozems’ internationally. This is India’s third-largest corporation. This soil is composed of lava rocks. This stretch includes Gujarat, Maharashtra, western Madhya Pradesh, northwestern Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand. Minerals abound in the soil.



  • It is fertile because of the presence of agro-friendly contents.
  • These soils retain a lot of moisture and react well to irrigation.
  • They are nutrient-rich and contain calcium carbonate, magnesium, potash, and lime.
  • It has high moisture content as well as being rich in organic matter.


  • The downside is muddy, it becomes oily and impossible to plow (cultivate), so it should be plowed until it rains.
  • It has low organic matter, phosphorus, and zinc, and has low fertility.
  • Soil degradation is a major problem.
  • Moisture loss in the soil is high.

4.Desert Soil:

This soil can be found in Rajasthan, Northern Gujarat, Saurashtra, Kachchh, Western Haryana, and the southern part of Punjab are all located west of the Aravallis. The soil is sandy, and there’s no living matter in them. It has a low water retention potential and has a low soluble salt content. When irrigated, these soils yield a high return on investment. The Atacama Desert in Chile, known as the world’s driest region, receives less than an inch of rain each year, with some years seeing almost none at all. This is awesome.



  • The soil in deserts has a comparatively low salt content. This is extremely beneficial to desert plant growth.
  • The desert soil has an excess of nutrients and can effectively be used for agricultural purposes.
  • Active Living Opportunities.
  • Wound healing is improved in sunny, arid conditions.


  • The most obvious drawback to deserts, in general, is a lack of precipitation.
  • Rainfall barely exceeds evaporation, and rain will vaporize long before it reaches the earth.

5.Mountain Soil:

When wet, they’re soft, but when dry, they’re “hard and cloddy.” The most common locations are the Western Ghats, Raj Mahal Hills, Eastern Ghats, Satpura, Vindhya, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, the North Cachar Hills, and the Garo Hills are all parts of Jharkhand. All of these elements are in short supply: organic matter, phosphorus, potassium, lime, and potash. These soils are ideal for growing because they are high in iron and aluminum..



  • The soils in the mountains are humus-rich, mildly acidic, and fertile. Lime and potash are also of short supply in mountain soils.
  • Mountain soils are essential to the functioning and protection of special habitats


  • The depletion from the ground surface can be harmful to both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
  • It has lots of stones and rock in them, which stops the roots from developing properly.

6.Peaty and Marshy soils:

This soil is from areas where proper drainage is difficult to achieve. Its salinity is high, and there’s a lot of organic matter in it. Their diet is low in potassium and phosphorus. The Sunderbans delta, Kottayam, and Alappuzha districts of Kerala, as well as the Rann of Kachchh and Mahanadi deltas, are the most popular locations.



  • The peat soil keeps the air circulation, proper and steady in the interior.
  • The moisture absorption rate is high.
  • The soil doesn’t dry out quickly.
  • The soil helps to prevent floods.
  • The soil is rich in nutrients due to consistent flooding and sediment deposition.
  • This soil can store carbon for 100+ years.
  • It provides nesting and shelter to many migratory waterbirds.


  • Marshes are a kind of wetland habitat with mineral soil that drains poorly.
  • Marshy soil shows decreased soil aeration and increased waterlogging.
  • Soil compaction and defoliation differently affect plants.
  • In marshy soil, microarthropods were most severe under waterlogging.
  • Peat moss does not contain the rich nutrient, causes poor soil that affects plant growth.
  • The soil is too dense, so the plant root begins to suffer and remained choked off.
  • Since peat moss holds a lot of water, bacteria can quickly spread in the soil.
  • Peat moss cultivation from natural bogs destroys the organism that lives there along with the slow-growing spongy substance.

7. Saline and Alkaline Soil:

Sodium chloride and calcium sulfate are present in this soil. The most popular destinations are Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra. These are also known as Reh, Usar, Kallar, Rakar, Thur, and Chopan.



  • The soil reduces the contaminants in the soil.
  • Favorable for the plants like cotton, barley, sugar beet (beet-root), asparagus.


  • Plants growing in saline soil may appear water-stressed.
  • Seeds will germinate poorly.
  • It kills plants, leaving bare soil, i.e prone to erosion.
  • Excess salt in the root zone hinders plant roots.
  • Alkaline soil is difficult to take into agricultural production due to the low infiltration capacity.
  • The major problem in alkaline soil has reduced the nutrients and especially micronutrients.
  • The soil becomes less soluble, making it difficult to consume nutrients.
  • In Alkaline soil, nitrogen will not be available for plants.

Also read: 

Q & A:

Which is the most fertile soil in India?
Alluvial soil is the most fertile, it has a loamy appearance and is high in humus. It also has a high potential for water absorption and retention property.

Which country has the richest soil in the World?
India has the world’s most arable soil. Arable land is land that is periodically ploughed or tilled, usually with a crop rotation scheme in place. The total area of arable land on the planet is 15.749 million square km.

Which is the oldest soil order?
The various types of soils are  Ultisols, Oxisols, Gelisols, Histosols, Aridisols, Vertisols, Entisols, Inceptisols, Andisols,  Mollisols, Alfisols, and Spodosols.

Which is the second largest soil group in India?
The Red soils are the second-largest soil group in India. It covers 18.5% of land in India.




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