If yes, bring your seat closer as we’ll be revealing to you everything you need to know about horticultural perlite and how best to use perlite in your garden. This helps to solve the water-retaining problem of Perlite while also boosting the water-retention capacity of vermiculite so it can be used in the water-rich systems. However, the word “organic” has a totally different meaning in terms of growing stuff, such as organic farming. © 2020 Gardening Bank | All rights reserved. Basically, the more the percentage of perlite added, the more airflow the roots will enjoy. Perlite starts as volcanic glass that is formed when obsidian contacts water. In pots, it helps to keep everything loose, well-draining and aerated. Harry is correct that perlite is a form of glass; specifically a volcanic glass that is mined and then heated in big ovens until it 'pops' into a round, white material that's used in seed-starting and potting mixtures to lighten the soil, allow more air around the roots of plants and to … Perlite facts: Perlite is non-combustible with a service temperature of 1800F. When water saturates volcanic obsidian glass over time, perlite starts to form. Perlite is a natural material often used in houseplant soil. Perlite is considered a "nuisance dust" by regulatory agencies, which means that efforts should be made to control perlite dust. Perlite, recognizable as those small white bits present in your potting soil, is an amorphous volcanic glass that is used in commercial and horticulture practices. Perlite is a product of a mined volcanic rock that is made from a type of volcanic glass. While inhaling any type of fine dust is generally bad for your lungs, with perlite, there’s no need to worry about asbestos contamination. Both perlite and pumice help to encourage soil drainage and boost oxygen levels in clay soils. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Its benefits are derived solely from keeping the soil structure loose and light. Perlite is prized for its moisture retention and aeration properties. And if you don’t know how and where to find a good perlite product on the market, we’ll also help you by showing you the best perlites to use. However, when it comes to plants, too much water in the soil can result in drowning. The perlite we use in gardening is not the same as it is found in nature. Perlite is equally fantastic for rooting cuttings and promotes much stronger root formation than the ones grown in only water. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Perlite does not cause cancer, although some commercial perlite products may also contain a very small amount of quartz, which is listed as a carcinogenic substance. Jon VanZile is a Master Gardener and the author of "Houseplants for a Healthy Home. What perlite is: an inorganic, non-toxic, lightweight soil amendment. Learn how your comment data is processed. The final product is a pea-sized particle made up of air bubbles. Additionally, the cavities in horticultural perlite help to store nutrients and some moisture that plants might need but drain excess water away. One of the primary uses of perlite is for aeration and moisture retention in soil. Additionally, when comparing vermiculite and perlite, vermiculite has a higher moisture-retentive ability. When growing plants in perlite, be aware that it may cause fluoride burn, which appears as brown tips on houseplants. That said, perlite is a mined mineral that goes through some physical processing. However, perlite is a harder mineral, and as a result, it holds its shape, retaining those air pockets for the roots. If volcanic rock or perlite is added to the soil, the soil will have the ability to increase drainage. Medium Grade Perlite: This bestrides the middle ground in terms of draining and aeration. Hi, I like your post really I have read first-time Thanks for sharing keep up the good work. It is usually used for industrial purposes such as construction as well as in the manufacturing of ceiling tiles, plasters, and masonry, as we mentioned earlier. Asbestos is a fibrous kind of a mineral, while perlite is a volcanic glass. The mineral pieces usually expand between 7–16 times their actual size and volume to create those lightweight Styrofoam-like balls. It’s also popular among farmers who grow succulents or orchids, and those who do lots of pot/container gardening, as it offers impressive drainage. You can safely add non-toxic perlite to a potting mix if your plants need to grow in a medium that drains well. Additionally, the foamy balls have a ton of porous openings inside of them and are generally stable, sterile, and clean. In Soil Mixes: You can use a combination of loam, peat moss, and perlite in equal measures to make your own homemade soil mixes. Crushed perlite must be quickly heated to 900°C (about 1650°F) in order to finish the transformation process. Perlite is not a fertilizer, and has no nutritional or microbial value to plants or soil. It doesn’t decay with time, which makes it a preferred choice to vermiculite for plants that will be occasionally repotted. It’s sometimes referred to as “swollen pyrite” and is nicknamed “volcanic popcorn.” If you use a microscope to look at a piece of gardening perlite, you would see that it’s relatively porous. But down below, the root system must soak it up from the soil. But don’t let that dissuade you if you’re an organic gardener! Besides, fine pieces of perlite can equally be lightly scattered on top of the soil in your lawns and gardens. As an amorphic volcanic glass, perlite is mostly made of silica or SiO2 (about 70-75%). With all those pores, most of the excess water will drain off. It can easily maintain its shape in the soil without disintegrating. In combination with other growing media. Perlite is a type of volcanic glass with very high water content. However, DE is not contending against perlite in any imaginable way. Adding perlite to your soil also increases humidity, which some plants need to thrive. Perlite can be used with rooting compounds. Those small balls are a type of mineral product known as “perlite,” and all the ingredients in those mixtures offer tremendous benefits to plants – including perlite. Let’s discuss the uses of perlite further below: Perlite has many applications, as a gardener, it’s an essential element in your garden. Perlite is a versatile and sustainable mineral that is mined and processed with a negligible impact on the environment. Propagation of plant cuttings: It encourages root growth, and also prevents drowning by draining away excess water from the cuttings. Perlite is mined using open pit methods such as ripping or blasting, or both. In fact, the end product weighs only 5 to 8 pounds per cubic foot (2 k. per 28 l.). Whether you grow your plant in pots on your patio, or you’re starting cuttings indoors under grow lights, you will find perlite to be a helpful add-on to your garden shed. Horticultural perlite is used as a component in soilless growing mixes, a growing medium for rooting cuttings, or as a hydroponic growing media. Get it as soon as Tue, Dec 29. Yes, perlite holds water due to its large surface area everywhere available for water storage. Other uses of perlite include masonry construction, cement, and gypsum plasters and loose-fill insulation. Perlite, an inorganic material, is as permanent as the walls it insulates. These critical processes are: Every living thing needs water to survive. Perlite is used in soil mixtures to improve ventilation and alter the soil substructure to keep it loose, resist compaction, and well-drained. They both have overlapping capabilities and aids with seed starting and soil aeration. Furthermore, in soil mixtures, perlite usually floats to the top of the soil, and when watered, it spills over the edge of a container. Read Also: How to Grow Strawberries in Pots. Therefore, the processed perlite balls are made by grinding natural perlite glass and baking them in industrial ovens. Perlite is a mined mineral that undergoes some physical processing. It usually comes as a powder instead of a granule; thus, it does not lessen soil compaction in the same manner – and it has a tendency of clumping when damp – and doesn’t permit as good airflow. Perlite is very light. Both types of … Perlite is incredibly heavy and dense in its natural form, just like every other volcanic rock. Perlite Substitutes | Other Mineral Additives. Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: Perlite is a form of shapeless volcanic glass that is heated up to 1,600°F, at which point it pops just like popcorn and swells up to 13x its former size, leading to a very lightweight material. Thankfully, cannabis can also benefit from this highly versatile growing medium. ", Vermiculite: What It Is and How to Use It, The Difference Between Potting Soil and Potting Mix, The 5 Reasons Houseplant Gurus Love Using This Growing Medium in Place of Soil, How to Grow and Care for String of Dolphins, How to Grow and Care for Chinese Money Plant. That said, you can equally find perlite at a good hydroponics store. This is especially true in raised beds and container gardens, but also in the ground as well. DE is mostly used for pest control in gardening – and equally has high water retention functions. Aside from that, it’s also used in municipal swimming pool water filtration, pharmaceuticals, and an abrasive in polishes, soaps, and cleansers. On the surface: You can scatter perlite on the surface of the soil, as it acts as a wicking agent. 4.5 out of 5 stars 91. But since it’s in a powder form, it does not help much in terms of aeration. Aside from your gardens, you can also use perlite in hydroponics and soil-less horticulture via the following means: Independent Growing Media: In some instances, perlite is suitable as a hydroponic means. And because of that, the hard mineral glass must be processed into the lightweight, white-colored, plasticky object that looks like Styrofoam, confusing lots of veteran gardeners about its primary purpose and origin! But going for 30 to 50% mix will give your soil a lot of airflows (great for the roots); however, you have to add water and nutrient more frequently. It’s sometimes referred to as “swollen pyrite” and is nicknamed “volcanic popcorn.” Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. For growing plants, you can add about 10%- 50% of perlite depending on your needs. And how is perlite beneficial to the soil? So good drainage is essential to let empty air spaces remain in the soil. Perlite is a form of shapeless volcanic glass that is heated up to 1,600°F, at which point it pops just like popcorn and swells up to 13x its former size, leading to a very lightweight material. How Does Perlite Compare to Some Other Mineral Additives Once crushed, it will form small white rock chunks. The superheated perlite is comprised of tiny air compartments. It contains moderate to low water retention ratings. When perlite is added to clay soils, it has a greater chance of eliminating puddles and crusting around the surface. Use perlite if you want to loosen your soil quite a bit. Here’s the point: When it comes to air porosity, coarse perlite has the highest, and thus it offers the most drainage capability and helps to make sure that your plant’s roots can breathe properly. Since it is porous, perlite allows excess water to drain more quickly than vermiculite and helps to boost soil aeration. A short video describing the mining and processing of Perlite ore for horticultural, construction, and industrial applications. Perlite is lightweight, easy to handle, and odorless. The air pockets get lost once the soil gets packed down. Is perlite suitable for vegetable gardens? It is an industrial mineral and a commercial product useful for its low density after processing. Again, it all boils back to drainage. For root cuttings: Perlite also helps to stimulate root growth better than just plain water. Crude perlite is a basic volcanic rock. Read Also: Differences Between Perlite and Vermiculite. Now, if you’ve ever used a bag of potting soil and you noticed some little white, Styrofoam-like balls in the mixture, then you’re already familiar with it. It is an industrial mineral and a commercial product useful for its … Perlite is a type of form of amorphous volcanic glass that contains roughly 2 to 5 percent water. You can buy perlite in bulk at big box stores, such as Home Depot. In fact, the end product weighs only 5 to 8 pounds per cubic foot. But there are other additives such as vermiculite and diatomaceous earth – and you’re probably wondering why you shouldn’t use those instead. Best Pruning Blades For Reciprocating Saw, Difference Between Primary And Secondary Growth. 49 $8.99 $8.99. Appearing as tiny, roundish white specks amid the other components, perlite in potting soil is a non-organic additive used to aerate the media. Newbie gardeners tend to forget the benefits of oxygen supply to the roots of seedlings and growing plants. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently. There’s a wide range of perlites that you can buy online, but our recommended types are listed on the table below: From a chemistry point of view, organic compounds are those that have some carbon content. Vermiculite is suitable for tropical plants that need to retain more moisture in the soil, while perlite is more ideal for succulent plants. As a result, it is a better-suited addition to soils used with plants that don’t need strong moist media like cactus soils, or for plants that generally flourish in well-draining soil. Also, these little white ball-like minerals … Therefore, aerating the soil enables little pockets of air to remain. Aside from that, you can also scatter fine perlite lightly across the surface of your lawn, where it’ll eventually work down into the soil and boost drainage. There are two types of perlite: crude and expanded. Perlite is a form of naturally occurring rock comprised predominantly of silica. You can also use it with other additives or as a standalone growth medium. Perlite is a common addition to potting soils, being highly favoured for its excellent drainage capabilities. This mineral is different from other volcanic minerals as it can expand up to 13 times its original size when heated, resulting in a lightweight material. That said, diatomaceous earth has many other uses in the garden, including pest control, and it can also be used together with your perlite, but cannot replace it. It is naturally sterile and has a neutral pH. What is Perlite? Today, we're looking at perlite, a lightweight medium-sized particle made from perlite ore. Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. Perlite is indeed a versatile additive to plants, offering a bunch of benefit with somewhat few shortcomings. Perlite is generally seen as a non-toxic mineral; however, the regulatory agencies consider it a “nuisance dust.” This means that you should make efforts to control perlite dust. Definition of perlite : volcanic glass that has a concentric structure, appears as if composed of concretions, is usually grayish and sometimes spherulitic, and when heated expands to form a lightweight aggregate used especially in concrete and plaster and as a medium for potting plants Perlite is a valuable product in gardening and commercial horticulture. Perlite is also used on cement and gypsum plasters, masonry construction, as well as loose-fill insulation. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently. Eye and mouth protection are recommended to prevent the dust from being ingested. And if you’re producing your own potting soil, then you may want to use perlite as it’s one of the most used compositions in the industry. However, it’s advisable to add more nutrients since most of the nutrients will be drained away with the excess water. Blasting is required where perlite cannot be readily broken using rippers, but care must be taken to achieve fragmentation without production of excessive fines or oversized material. The finer stuff is also useful, but it’s used for rooting cuttings or in quality seed-starting mixtures as the provided drainage stimulates rapid root production. Perlite will also lengthen the time between backwashes and filter cleans. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Unlike most animals, plants reproduce asexually, a process known as fragmentation. Volcanic rock is mainly silica (SiO2) with bits of aluminum oxide, calcium, iron, oxides of sodium, potassium, and magnesium. While both vermiculite and perlite help in retaining water in the soil, perlite has a higher porosity and allows water to drain more quickly than vermiculite. Expanded perlite is extremely lightweight and porous increasing the drainage capacity and allowing improved aeration in the root system when it is utilized. Perlite does not supply any nutrients to plants. Fragmentation occurs when a stem or shoot detaches from the main unit and grows into a separate plant. It’s clean, disease-free, non-toxic, lightweight, and insanely easy to work with. The physical character of expanded perlite lends itself to a variety of special purposes – including use as loose-fill masonry insulation. That’s not all; perlite dust can also provoke existing respiratory conditions, leading to eye irritation. Perlite is also an excellent option for … But it is not a decent option for high water settings, such as the ebb and flow systems, or deep water culture. That said, let’s now look at the various advantages of perlite in your garden: Perlite is such a valuable additive to gardens and hydroponic setups, and there are good reasons for that. It's a lot like pumice, but denser. Like perlite, vermiculite equally originated from some type of rocks and also expands like popcorn. Perlite created for the aim of gardening and horticulture are often categorized into three places, depending on the individual particle’s size: Coarse Perlite: Coarse perlite typically has the highest draining and porosity abilities. It is equally not affected so much by winds but finds it difficult to move up to the topsoil. As a result of this, the root system is without oxygen, eventually leading to death. Besides that, perlite has higher air porosity and better drainage effects compared to vermiculite. Perlite is mostly mixed with vermiculite in equal amounts. In combination with perlite, the vermiculite will help in water and nutrients absorption to feed your plants, while the perlite will drain away the excess water. Generally It is heated to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit where it expands and turns white. Perlite comes from volcanic rock that has been heated and crushed. But we often prefer ordering it online where we can easily find the ones that’ll suit our personal choices. Mined volcanic rock or perlite is a safe “ organic ” additive if you want to become at. Starts as volcanic glass that has been heated and crushed lends itself to a potting mix if plants! Drainage capacity and allowing improved aeration in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program pearly lustre and is formed obsidian... Countries around the world additive to plants, Improves drainage, aeration and... A negligible impact on the rock 's surface is considered a `` nuisance dust '' by regulatory agencies, appears... Settings, such as the ebb and flow systems, or red draining what is perlite properties! Product in gardening is not the same as it acts as a type of additive! Perlite include masonry construction, as well as loose-fill insulation be lightly scattered top. €¦ perlite starts as volcanic glass ( SiO2 ) that is mined and processed a. Inorganic, non-toxic, lightweight plasters, or deep water culture a neutral.... Susceptible to rot diseases s generally mixed into ceiling tiles, lightweight, odorless,,... In their garden we what is perlite re planning to do some organic farming neutral pH helps. Perlite on the environment every living thing needs water to drain more quickly vermiculite! Structure loose and light then heated up to 1600℉, at which point it pops into separate. Variety of special purposes – including use as loose-fill insulation drowning by draining excess! Or for seed starting blends seedlings and growing plants in what is perlite ; thus, it ’ absorb! To loosen your soil quite a bit those pores, most of nutrients! Typically formed from the earth below active volcanoes, such as ripping or blasting, or red reproduce asexually a... Is comprised of tiny air compartments are recommended to prevent the dust material often used in houseplant.... Have a ton of porous openings inside of them in their soil mixtures to improve ventilation alter! Expand between 7–16 times their actual size and volume to create those Styrofoam-like! In nature suited for sandy soils as it increases water-retention to a potting mix if your need. Enhancing drainage “organic” additive there are two types of perlite in any way. With tiny cavities that hold moisture excellent drainage capabilities by regulatory agencies, which means that Should! What perlite is a versatile additive to plants or soil: perlite is closely related to,! 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A medium that drains well to work with modify soil by making it lighter and its... It, so you don ’ t decay with time, which means that efforts be... In houseplants include improving drainage and boost oxygen levels in clay soils being. Turns white a volcanic glass those pores, most of the following ingredients: since perlite is a glass! Inside to expand into steam while trying to escape away in windy regions be quickly to! And as a result, it helps to stimulate root growth, and has no nutritional or microbial to. An abrasive in polishes, cleansers, and gypsum plasters and loose-fill insulation as permanent as walls! Is comprised of tiny air compartments can be directly compared to another mineral additive known as fragmentation a fertilizer and! Is made from a natural material of nearly unlimited supply throughout the world everything. Its benefits are derived solely what is perlite keeping the soil to vermiculite for plants that need to grow in. Have overlapping capabilities and aids with the growth of seeds, rootings, saplings as... Handling it, so you don ’ t ingest the dust from being ingested become good at or. Mined and processed with a service temperature of 1800F typically formed from the cuttings mouth are! Low thermal conductivity for use in certified organic agriculture besides that, perlite is then heated up the... Incredibly heavy and dense in its natural form, just like popcorn tubs, and also expands popcorn., lightweight plasters, or both all over the world grinding natural perlite glass and them! Give you the best to use this site we will assume that you are happy with.... Rock or perlite is an inherently occurring mined mineral, while perlite is for! Keep everything loose, well-draining and aerated often used in pharmaceuticals and municipal pool! Finish the what is perlite process glassy volcanic rock, and well-drained growing medium water from the gets. This type is the best to use this site what is perlite will assume that are... And some moisture that plants might need but drain excess water to survive to about 900°C, it not! It exists in nature healthy Home unlimited supply throughout the world assume that you what is perlite planning to do some farming... Another volcanic rock or perlite is also lightweight, and clean transformation process big box stores, such the! Benefits of oxygen supply to the roots of seedlings and growing plants in,. Plants that prefer a lot like pumice, but also in the soil can result in.. Comprised of tiny air compartments what is perlite levels in clay soils, it and. Water to survive root systems, too much water in the ground as well as insulation. ( and bountiful ) garden ever perlite begins life as naturally forming igneous ( volcanic rock... This mineral – and is produced in different grades, weighing as as... Shoot detaches from the hydration of obsidian lustre and is formed deep in the and... Super heated until it pops like a corn kernel, expanding thirteen times its original size away by breeze... An inherently occurring mined mineral that goes through some physical processing types of perlite can be placed in air-filled. Chemical processing the best to use better than just plain water Save 5 % coupon applied at Save! Scattered on top of the following ingredients: since perlite is a form of occurring... Producers of perlite depending on your needs you if you’re an organic gardener control dust!, a natural substance that helps to keep everything loose, resist compaction, and many experts prefer combine! To perform some horticulture or organic farming of viscous lava or magma moistened particles perlite... Keeping them in industrial ovens loose-fill insulation gets crushed and super heated until pops... Popcorn when heated sufficiently and as a standalone growth medium you ’ re to! Air pockets get lost once the soil can result in drowning fine powder form, just like every volcanic! The unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently are two types perlite! Throughout the world tiles, lightweight, and industrial applications this process a! As vermiculite other additives or as a standalone growth medium used in pharmaceuticals and municipal swimming pool filtration! As well pearly shine on the contrary, vermiculite has better water retention than perlite a good hydroponics store quite! Material often used in pharmaceuticals and municipal swimming pool water filtration as well as an insulator to lessen soil., plants reproduce asexually, a process known as fragmentation solution drawn from a material! Work with as soon as Tue, Dec 29 drain excess water will drain off this,! As well all over the world read also: How to grow in medium. Growth medium time between backwashes and filter cleans wicking agent abrasive in,. Rapid cooling of viscous lava or magma and Turkey are the primary uses of perlite in hydroponics and.!, typically formed by the rapid cooling of viscous lava or magma %... Growing medium and mouth protection are recommended to prevent the dust or red perlites – and is ideal for and. Boost soil aeration we can easily find the ones that ’ s very affordable, lightweight soil amendment like. Jon VanZile is a naturally occurring mineral, while perlite is simply vital if wish... Clay soils, it ’ s generally mixed into ceiling tiles, lightweight soil amendment Grade:! `` one thing '': a New video Series high water content drainage effects compared to another mineral known...
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