How Plants Can Help Clean Contaminated Soil

Alex kept digging at the soil. She just couldn’t believe the sight before her.  Just weeks ago, Alex had planted some flowers expecting them to be fully mature by now. Imagine her irritation and wonder when she noticed they were still the same height as the first day. She was quite baffled at what the cause could be and how to find a solution to the problem. Nevertheless, she asked a few people and read the Internet for more information. She had discovered that her soil was contaminated by what looked like oil. Well, that wouldn’t deter her. She also found out from her research plant could help clean contaminated soil. Her mission now was to plant plants.

Contaminated soil is perhaps one of the most terrible things to battle with in gardening. It can lead to frustration and anger. However, this can easily be cured by Phytoremediation. This is planting plants in the contaminated soil to help clean it up. Are you wondering how this can happen? Well, look no further as we explain it to you below:

  • Some plants contain microbes that can “eat” oil: One of the most important things you should know is that certain bacteria have the ability to metabolize a majority of the organic compounds present in petroleum. So, if oil has contaminated the soil you want to use, all you need to do is plant plants that contain microbes. You will find that the contaminated soil becomes less contaminated in no time. Some of these plants include willow, mustard, pennycress, amaranth, and much more
  • Plants can form a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria: Do you know what a symbiotic relationship is? This is a close relationship between two species where both of them cannot do without each other. They rely on the association with each other to survive. Thus, when you rely on plants to clean the contaminated soil, a symbiotic relationship forms between the soil and the plant. The contaminated soil benefits from the plant. Also, the plant derives fantastic advantage from the contaminated soil which helps it grow more.
  • Plants can help combat soil fatigue: When the same plant has been cultivated for several years in the same spot, it causes soil fatigue. Thus, microscopic worms such as nematodes transmit viruses and fungal disease causing the soil become contaminated. If this is your situation, don’t fret because you can easily combat it. You can avoid soil fatigue through crop rotation. Alternatively, you can plant tageta which is also known as Velvet Flower. It secretes a substance that has the ability to kill nematodes. Once the nematodes are dead, the soil will become healthy again.


Plants do have the ability to clean contaminated soil. When you despair at the situation you are in because your flowers and other plants refuse to grow, there is a solution. All you need to do is seek out the plants we mentioned above and plant one of them. They will soak up whatever contaminated the soil in the first place and leave the soil fresh. You can then plant anything you want to.

Photo Credit: Nasa