Knowledge of different fractions and availability of boron (B) is essential while studying the response of crops to B. Fractionation provides information about the chemistry of B and quantifies its bioavailability. Such information is potentially valuable for predicting bioavailability, B leaching, dynamics, transformation between chemical forms in soils and environmental impacts. Total B (T-B) is quantified into five fractions: readily soluble (Rs-B), specifically adsorbed (Spa-B), oxide bound (Ox-B), organically bound (Org-B) and residual B (Res-B). Of these, Rs-B is the fraction present in soil solution and adsorbed weakly by soil particles, and is most readily available for plant uptake. It accounts for 1–2% of T-B. The second most plant available form is Spa-B; it may be adsorbed onto clay surfaces or associated with organic matter (OM) in soil. The remaining fractions, Ox-B, Org-B and Res-B, are unavailable for plant uptake. The major portion (generally 87·4–99·7%) of T-B is composed of Res-B. Overall, the relative proportion of B in various fractions is in the order of Res B > Org-B > Spa-B > Rs-B > Ox-B. Several factors such as soil pH, soil OM, clay minerals, iron and aluminium oxides and calcium carbonate content may change the relative proportion of B in various fractions and the transformations among different soil B fractions. Some of the B fractions are correlated with others and exhibit responses in terms of plant growth. Non-specifically adsorbed (Nsa-B) and Spa-B are positively and significantly correlated to some sub-fractions of Ox-B, such as B occluded in manganese oxyhydroxides (Moh-B). The most readily available forms of B for plants are Nsa-B, Spa-B and Moh-B.