my first planted aquarium, i did in '98, had soil from my back yard, mixed w/ osmocote and vermiculite, and covered w/ black tahitian moon sand. the tank was absolutely stunning.
then i moved, i tried to be gentle and keep everything intact, but the substrate shifted, and i didn't want to mess w/ it again, so i bought what i think was the very first generation of flourite (not sure).
When I compare the two tanks, i would take the flourite tank over the soil substrate every day of the week. fewer problems w/ that tank, just as gorgeous.