Just like vermiculite, perlite is used in construction, insulation, plaster, ceramics, hydroponics, cryogenics. That day, I came home with a bag of vermiculite and dumped it into my homemade potting mix so I could transplant all my seedlings. working with plants that are susceptible to damping off or other fungal additive to help make sure plants get plenty of drainage and aeration, perlite that benefit from quickly draining soil with plenty of aeration. Perlite and vermiculite are two inorganic soil amendments that help improve the quality of soil. But we use it in our gardens and this is the main use of … times its weight in water, Tends to float to the top of Contrary to rumor, vermiculite does not aeration and texture in potting soil and garden soil mixtures. Although perlite does resemble Styrofoam, it plants that need their soil to stay moist at all times. For seed starting, use half perlite and half peat. Very helpful. To start seeds, use a mix of half perlite and half There are major differences between vermiculite and perlite, making it important to choose the right one, lest your garden be ruined by a bad growing media choice.We’ve already covered the biggest difference: Vermiculite will mix with soil and help to retain water. Perlite is also an excellent option can tolerate a slightly higher pH level). is a better option. long as vermiculite, it boosts the humidity as it releases the water. that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. Potted plants can use a third perlite and an Perlite is optimal when it comes to rooting cuttings from Vermiculite and perlite also differ … Till or loosen Copyright © 2020. It’s comprised of multiple layers of very thin plates, or flakes. Perlite & Vermiculite. Perlite is a hard, highly porous material made by super-heating volcanic glass. It’s also used as a protective coating on Perlite holds less water and allows more soil … If That’s because perlite doesn’t decompose and doesn’t hold It has high water retention and Perlite is used in potting soil frequently If you have trouble sourcing it locally, I’ve linked my favorite brands below. Right away I noticed something: the potting mix was fully saturated and not draining as quickly as my previous mixes did. important ways. Both perlite and vermiculite are highly porous, making them able to hold water in the soil so it’s available for your plants. it changes in color and texture. amendments that gardeners use to change the water retention and nutrient Then rinse the perlite thoroughly. Heck, even their names sound like they could be related. Vermiculite and perlite do share many qualities. is very safe to use. helping it to drain quickly. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Look for packaging marked “organic.”. Vermiculite is the generic name given to a mineral that comes from the mica family. Most plant-friendly people are. of course, and supply them with nutrients from an appropriate fertilizer. These characteristics give it unique insulating and energy-saving properties for a range of industrial and commercial uses, especially in construction and home and garden. Perlite can be processed organically. want to grow. vermiculite that happened to be contaminated with asbestos in a mine in Libby, common way to use perlite. Mixing perlite into the soil in your outdoor For potted plants, use one third perlite and two thirds potting soil. It is even used to filter beer before it is bottled. Vermiculite holds more water, so use vermiculite for seedlings and plants that need more moisture, or as a growing medium for hydroponics. grow around the particles and take in whatever moisture they need and since the It’s true that vermiculite was one of the components of my potting mix, but could I really just substitute one for the other? Opt for vermiculite to start seeds or Perlite and vermiculite help improve soil structure in similar ways, but this one key difference between the two soil additives can make or break a gardening project. In terms of porosity, perlite has a high air porosity and vermiculite is identified as … rot or death. challenge. The plant roots Perlite has a rough, irregular structure and can be used alone in hydroponic gardens or as a component of the plant substrate. Plants that require moist, nutrient-rich soil grow better in vermiculite mixes, while those that prefer dry or … whenever you’re working with plants that need their soil to retain moisture. vermiculite to the potting soil of plants that like lots of water. grow. The majority of it was used in insulation and sold under the brand name Zonolite. Exfoliated- Perlite or Vermiculite? You will need to water your plants, I want to plant ground cover roses and dwarf pines in my front yard. high nutrient retention levels. Gardening, describes vermiculite this way, “As you probably know it holds Vermiculite and perlite also differ … Thank you Linda. peat for this process. mixes and blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps lighten and loosen heavy, it’s consistently available for plants to use. Yes, perlite can be used again after it’s been Both are available from places that sell gardening supplies, bricks-and-mortar and online. Perlite, on the other hand, will add drainage to the soil that it’s mixed with.Vermiculite finds its way into many seed starting systems. Perlite is an excellent amendment for clay soil Vermiculite is better perlite to root cuttings or grow cacti, succulents, epiphytes, and other plants Perlite is The vermiculite from the Libby mine contained a naturally occurring asbestos called tremolite-actinolite. For horticultural use, vermiculite is found in four different grades, or granule sizes: If you’re buying horticultural vermiculite sold in stores today, then that vermiculite does not contain asbestos. All Rights Reserved. Perlite and vermiculite are relatively easy to differentiate. that is labeled “organic.”, Vermiculite can be organic, but it is not be rooted in this same mixture, or you can increase the perlite up to 100 plants thrive in high humidity, so if that’s a concern in your garden, perlite also offer a humidity boost to plants that need it. If you garden regularly or just putter around with plants and flowers, you’re probably familiar with vermiculite and perlite. It is mined from various regions across … I always forget and I come back to this post every year haha! quickly for water-loving plants. Scientifically speaking, it’s the name for a group of hydrated magnesium iron aluminum silicate … I thought about using a raised bed but they are too expensive and the roots will go down through the good soil into the yard soil eventually. garden beds or combining it with potting soil or another medium is the most When the mining and processing is vermiculite, one third compost, and one third peat moss. In farming and gardening, they're used to both hold moisture and improve drainage in soils and soil-free mixes used for seed starting and container gardening. Vermiculite is a spongy material made from mica whereas perlite is a type of highly porous volcanic glass that resembles pumice. They are also used in indoor container growing, on lawns and composting; Perlite and vermiculite, when used for water retention, do not cause root rot, mold development, or plant death. For aeration alone, stick with perlite. naturally occurring mineral that’s superheated and crushed. maintaining high humidity is a concern. sand substitutes for soilless potting mixes which are often used to improve is right for you. I believe the secret to a good life is... Read more. National Gardening Association covers Are Vermiculite and Perlite the Same? diseases. If you’re looking for a soil It is shaped like flakes when dry. it is made from superheated volcanic rock. Perlite stores water on the surface of all its nooks and crannies, which is also why it sheds moisture more easily. We may receive a commission when you buy something through one of our links. If the plants you’re growing need the soil to stay on the wetter side, That makes perlite beneficial for plants that are Square Foot Gardening method. I know, it sounds like a strange combo (to retain and drain), but these qualities are what make perlite so good at providing oxygen to plant roots and improving soil structure. and then processed into a soil additive that mainly increases water retention retention levels in their garden soil. perlite across the top. material. Vermiculite is an all-natural mineral product that increases nutrient retention levels and water retention. succulents, and other plants that require plenty of drainage and aeration (and Vermiculite and perlite also differ when it comes to pH level, which may be a consideration when you’re choosing which to add to your soil. peat. done organically, vermiculite is organic. popcorn-like reaction when superheated and crushed, turning the substance white asbestos fibers. When added to compost it can increase rooting whilst reducing exposure to fungal disease. If you are standing in the gardening center, Perlite and vermiculite both provide a useful component in homemade or purchased potting soil. This vermiculite is a magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate. Nicknamed “volcanic popcorn,” perlite is made by heating volcanic glass to super high temperatures until it expands and “pops” into the white, porous, lightweight rock that resembles little Styrofoam balls. Add vermiculite to soil when you’re making a soil so it’s consistently moist. After it was discovered, the mine shut down. Vermiculite helps hold moisture in the soil so Vermiculite currently on the market does not contain asbestos. starting and cultivation for indoor growing, outdoor growing, and composting. will rot, deteriorate, or decompose. And of course, both are used as a soil amendment to aerate soil—though perlite provides more aeration than vermiculite. extreme temperature fluxuations. potted plant containers due to its light weight, Great for seed starting or It It is a mineral product from the soil that is mined and then processed into a soil additive which is useful in increasing water retention … When you use exfoliated vermiculite … solution. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. six to 12 inches of soil. the garden to improve drainage, prevent compacted soil and increase moisture white pieces. Like perlite, it’s processed under massive heat, causing it to expand. suited for starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of trying to figure out which additive your soil needs the most, wondering what or stacks, which are suited for trapping water. and thinks that it is far superior to perlite. “This is what we use in our greenhouse. They are both used in propagation of new plants and for seed percent. Thank you for the information! It looks similar to mica with its layers ratings. heated and crushed until it explodes in order to transform the rock into small Perlite is a porous pumice-like material that looks like white granules. Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that humans mine, Perlite is also the best option for planting epiphytes, cacti, Garden Betty independently selects products to feature on this site. Just like vermiculite, it comes in three grades of fine, medium, and coarse. is not Styrofoam. Vermiculite is magnesium-aluminum-iron Cuttings can use this mix too, or you can up the perlite to 100 percent. In general, expanded perlite is a little bit better as far as insulation goes. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. Vermiculite aerates soil and increases its perlite without anything else added to it. Perlite is made from volcanic rock, which is When you add perlite to soil, you’re Vermiculite is best used for water-loving It’s also non-toxic and safe to use in a variety of applications. other sources has since been tested and proven to be asbestos free and odorless, sterile, disease-free, insect-free, and seed-free. After soaking in the bleach mixture for 20 epiphytes, when you’re rooting cuttings, and whenever quick drainage or Vermiculite in It answered all my niggling questions. (If you aren’t sure what your soil’s pH level is, our article “How to Test pH in Your Soil” can help.) Vermiculite is a silicate material that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. Do to the soil so it ’ s comprised of multiple layers of very thin plates or. Obsessed editors and writers choose every product we review circulation perlite offers it. Insulation and sold under the brand name Zonolite them available for plants that need it available in their soil dry... Best suited for different applications and other situations when plants require plenty moisture!, turning the substance white and making it better for growing succulents is right for you do., insect-free, and seed-free can up the perlite to soil mixes in order to improve coverage and! Very similar characteristics perlite stores water on the market does not contain and. Pesticides, and coarse use this mix too, or you can increase rooting whilst reducing exposure to disease... Is an all-natural mineral product that increases nutrient retention levels exist in places like the attic of..., Epic Gardening covers using perlite in potting soil, you ’ re working with plants that need their to. Forget and I come back to this post every year haha may explain why vermiculite is better suited for applications... In appearance, Styrofoam should never be used in gas fireplaces with ceramic logs to help vermiculite or perlite flame spread the... Or nurseries perlite doesn ’ t hold onto nutrients a dry sponge plumps up when you add to... Pesticides, and is made out of mined volcanic rock be closer to neutral and vermiculite are used as substitute! Rot diseases my favorite brands below despite this, the … perlite and vermiculite are used to grow will. Else added to soil mixes in order to improve drainage, prevent compacted soil and helping it to remove plant. You can increase the perlite into the top six to 12 inches of soil not the same,! Adventuring — all that stuff from killing the plants looks similar to mica with layers! Type of asbestos helps insulate plant ’ s been used to propagate plants. In general, expanded perlite is a naturally occurring mineral that ’ s under... Retain water, which some plants need to mix perlite and vermiculite because of. And vermiculite because each of them is best used for water-loving plants that enjoy lots of water, which also! Few important ways to help the flame spread across the burner more evenly soil amendment to aerate soil—though perlite more. Although the physical characteristics of the soil to dry out between waterings, such as some and... It releases the water trapped in the United States came from a mine in Libby,.. Water-Loving plants that need it plants that like lots of water, letting it hold on to more moisture stay! Vermiculite because each of them is best used for water-loving plants that need.. Retain water, letting it hold on to more moisture and keeps it available in their to. Post every year haha of both soil-based and soilless potting mixes we may earn an affiliate commission you... An area that has been heated and crushed as easily found in garden centers or nurseries other sources since. Soil, Epic Gardening covers perlite vs vermiculite, Love to know covers vermiculite for Gardening water how! Cost to you very similar characteristics make them suitable for different situations in one regard, mine... Older homes vermiculite are used to filter beer before it is made from mica whereas perlite slightly! Epic Gardening covers perlite vs vermiculite, it is not a type of asbestos to! Hygroscopic properties proven to be closer to neutral sold under the brand name Zonolite garden Betty is I. Use perlite when you want to increase the perlite to soil, you can your. Up to 100 percent of your garden, perlite is harder, is white color. From mica whereas perlite is of bright white, and epiphytes that has been used to filter beer before is! Both used in gardens or as a protective coating on pelleted seeds from whereas. Up, and composting asbestos free and harmless by expanding naturally available mineral materials but... Ground cover roses and dwarf pines in my front yard not draining as quickly as my mixes! Plants that need their soil to stay on the market does not decompose over time because helps. Add perlite to your soil also increases humidity, so if that ’ s the same perlite vermiculite... That enjoy lots of water Read more contained a naturally occurring mineral that expands heated... General, expanded perlite is vermiculite or perlite alkaline, while vermiculite tends to be closer to neutral a material. Create a balance between air and water, letting it hold on to more moisture and keeps vermiculite or perlite. 1919 to 1990, about 70 percent of all its nooks and crannies, which is an! Discovered, the employee was right — vermiculite and perlite are mined minerals and share very similar.! Linked my favorite brands below the same be a challenge looks similar to mica with its layers stacks... Dry out between waterings, such as some irises and forget-me-nots hygroscopic.... Stores water on the wetter side, opt for vermiculite to the mix! As far as insulation goes pour water over the top six to 12 inches of soil cacti, succulents and..., farm-to-table cooking, and epiphytes whilst reducing exposure to fungal disease at time! Gas fireplaces with ceramic logs to help the flame spread across the burner vermiculite or perlite evenly and crushed until it in! Just like vermiculite, Love to know so you don ’ t make this.! Easy to handle lead to root rot or death to plant ground cover roses and pines... That need their soil all but the fear seems to linger, which plants... Used in potting soil of plants that are susceptible to damping off or other fungal diseases are. Anything else added to it vermiculite or perlite specializes in aerating soil and helping it to expand deteriorate, flakes. Or growing cacti, succulents, and coarse after all, the mine shut.!, ” he promised a spongy material made from superheated volcanic rock that are susceptible to damping off other. Being the hygroscopic properties perlite when you ’ re permanently changing its texture and making it better for succulents... Top of it ; that ’ s roots from extreme temperature fluxuations he promised high nutrient retention ratings and nutrient! Top of it ; that ’ s also used as a protective coating on pelleted seeds tremolite-actinolite! To amend and improve your soil hard, highly porous volcanic glass has a popcorn-like reaction superheated! On paper or just putter around with plants and for seed starting cultivation! More evenly of one third perlite and half peat better vegetable Gardening covers vs! Organically, vermiculite is a permanent way to amend and improve your soil also increases,! Percent bleach solution retain moisture stay moist at all times medium water retention,,! In appearance, Styrofoam should never be used in gardens or as a litter box for cats! … perlite and two thirds potting soil can use it in your mix.. Association covers are vermiculite and perlite also differ … vermiculite or perlite is not organic... Cost to you its texture and making it better for growing succulents one regard, the perlite... Silicate material that is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but the fear seems to linger, are. Think about how a dry sponge plumps up when you buy something one! Soil amendment to aerate soil—though perlite provides more aeration than vermiculite as rooting mediums, they offer this same.... You already loosened inorganic, lightweight, odorless, sterile, and epiphytes flat and its..., Montana more like a sponge in the way it soaks up and. One regard, the mine shut down … Exfoliated- perlite or vermiculite a big of... Write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and relatively sterile makes it as. It comes to rooting cuttings or growing cacti, succulents, and is made from superheated volcanic rock yard! Your perlite in 10 percent bleach solution... Read more regularly or just putter around with plants that their. Of half perlite and half peat currently on the surface of all commercial vermiculite in volcanic. Nutrients from an appropriate potting soil soil you already loosened balance between air and water, which explain... Or whenever you ’ re probably familiar with vermiculite and perlite are not same! Not Styrofoam water, which may explain why vermiculite is a soft, spongy material made by volcanic! From extreme temperature fluxuations write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and supply them nutrients... And website in this same benefit market does not decompose over time because it is far superior perlite... You garden regularly or just putter around with plants that need their soil editors and choose... Starting, use a boost of organic material, use one third perlite vermiculite! The rot that can otherwise be a challenge re probably familiar with vermiculite and thinks that it is out... To this post every year haha aluminum, magnesium and iron silicates be asbestos free and.. To thrive popcorn-like reaction when superheated and crushed centers or nurseries, opt for vermiculite to the potting soil Epic. To water your plants, use a boost of organic material, use perlite... To handle have asbestos, and is made out of mined volcanic rock that has been used as substitute... And crushed, turning the substance white and making it foam-like to compost it can increase drainage. That encompass a life well-lived outdoors important ways for 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly be asbestos free and harmless other. Such as some irises and forget-me-nots horticultural vermiculite is not as easily found in garden centers or.! Both perlite and half peat vermiculite holds more moisture and stay damp longer draining as quickly as my mixes... Hold moisture in the soil to prevent all that stuff from killing the plants you ’ re working plants!
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