Building healthy soil for native plants

When you’re planning your garden it’s important to select the right plant for your conditions. The first step in doing this is to understand your soil!

Generally, soil can be classified into three groups – clay, loam and sand. To determine your soil type, just dig down about 10 centimetres and grab a handful of soil. Squeeze it into a ball – if it holds its shape it is clay. If it forms a ball but crumbles readily it is loam, and if it doesn’t form a ball at all it is sand. 

Loamy soil is the ideal mix for plants – it has both coarse and fine particles with a good amount of organic matter. If you have sandy soil your plants will have trouble accessing the nutrients and water they need to thrive, so mixing organic matter such as compost or aged manure into your existing soil is essential for the long term survival of your plants. 

Clay soil retains both moisture and nutrients but it can easily become waterlogged with poor drainage and aeration. Mixing in some gypsum – a natural mineral – and organic matter will help break up the clay and improve its structure. 

No matter what type of soil you have there is always a solution that will help you create a thriving garden. Many Australian plants have also adapted to varying conditions – some will tolerate clay soils while others prefer sandy. Pop into the nursery for a chat with one of our plant specialists to see what plants will be the perfect match for your soil. 


Since 1983, the Sydney Wildflower Nursery at Heathcote has been providing residents and visitors from around Australia with quality native Australian plants.

Supplying plants for jobs big and small we pride ourselves on our knowledge, passion and extensive range of beautiful and unusual Australian native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.


9 Veno Street, Heathcote, NSW, 2233

Ph: 02 9548 2818