Scientists have experimented with growing plants simulating Martian conditions using volcanic soil in Hawaii, which is very similar to Martian soil. The experiments showed that plants can actually grow on Mars surface
Martian soil has some of the nutrients plants need to grow and survive. But because of Mars’s extremely cold conditions, plants such as potatoes would need to grow inside a controlled environment. Also, just like on Earth, nutrients in Martian soil may vary from place to place. So, people stranded on Mars should be prepared to turn to ingenious ways for making the soil more suitable for plant growth.
In 2016, researchers filled planting containers with simulated Martian soil and successfully grew different plants including chives, peas, spinach, and tomatoes among other things in the mixtures. Notably, however, this was with the help of organic fertilizer, which helped water pass through the soil and to the plants’ roots.