Types of Indian Soils – Alluvial, Black, Red and Laterite soils

Soil is a very important part when we study the geography of India. Soil has various features like the variations in colors, texture, moisture content, regions where they are found, crops that can grow in them, and their limitations. There are so many things to learn about the types of soil in India. This article contains information about the four major types of soil found in India, and they are –

  1. Alluvial
  2. Red
  3. Black
  4. Laterite


Alluvial Soil 


Alluvial soil is the one that is available the most in India. This soil covers majorly 43% of the soil content of the country. The area covered by this soil is approximately 143 square kilometers. Alluvial soil is mostly found in the northern plains of the country and the river valleys. The formation of this soil occurs mainly due to the deposits of silt made by the Indo-Gangetic-Brahmaputra rivers. Alluvial soil in some of the coastal regions is formed due to the actions of the wave. The parent material of this soil is the Himalayan Rocks. 


The soil is majorly sandy and clayey in nature, and this causes it to be porous. This proves to be advantageous for agriculture. The nitrogen level in this plant is low. The soil contains an adequate proportion of potash, phosphoric acid, and alkalis.

Crops grown 

Crops like wheat, rice, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, jute, and many more fruits and vegetables can be grown in this soil because this soil is mostly flat and regular. 


Alluvial soil is divided into two categories – new or young khadar soil and old bhangar soil.

Red Soil 


Red soil forms the largest group of soil in India. The parent rock of this soil is rocking like acid granites, quartzites, and gneisses that are metamorphic in nature. Red soil can be sandy or clayey. In the lowlands, the texture of the soil is deep and fertile, while in the upper areas, the soil is gravelly and porous in texture. 


They are acidic in nature and rich in potassium and potash. The red soil is due to iron oxide. The red color is mostly due to wide diffusion as in the oxidizing conditions when soil is above the water table; rust develops on clay.  

Crops Grown 

Red soil cannot retain water, so it is suitable for crops like – cotton, wheat, rice, pulses, potatoes, and fruits when fertilizers are added and irrigation is done properly.

Black Soil 


The parent rock of black soil is volcanic rock. These rocks were formed in the Deccan Plateau. This type of soil is mostly found in dry and hot regions. The soil found in valleys is fertile, and the one found in uplands has low fertility. This soil; retains moisture, and that is why it gets very sticky during the rainy season. In the summer season, the moisture evaporates and leaves back a very fertile soil. 


The black color of the soil is due to the presence of iron and its color from the parent rock. Black soil has various shades of black like – medium black, shallow black deep black, or a mixture of red and black. The soil contains alumina and iron oxide.

Crops Grown 

This soil is most suitable for growing cotton. Rice and sugarcane are also very important crops that can be grown. Various fruits and vegetables also grow in this soil. There is no requirement to add fertilizers to this soil for growing crops. 

Laterite Soil 


This soil is formed by the weathering of rocks. When rocks go through high temperatures like heat and rainfall, it causes leaching (lime and silica get washed away). The soil becomes rich in iron oxide and aluminum. 


This soil is red in color because of a small amount of clay and more gravel. This soil is rich in bauxite or ferric oxide. In wet places. They can have a high amount of humus. 

Crops are grown and Economic Value 

Laterite soil lacks fertility because it goes through the process of leaching. Manure has to be added, and proper irrigation is to be done to use this soil to grow crops like – tea, coffee, rubber, coconut, etc.; this soil can also be used as grazing grounds. Also, this soil can be used as a valuable building material because when exposed to air, it gets as hard as iron.


Agriculture is very important for a country like India, which has numerous resources. The characteristics of soil decide the crop that can be grown in that particular one. So knowing their features is very crucial. Other than these, India also has four other types of soil, which are – Forest and Mountain soil, Saline or Alkaline soil, Arid and Desert soil, and Peaty and Marshy soil. This article contains important facts about the four major soils found in India, and I hope it has proven to be helpful for you. 

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