It’s comprised of multiple layers of very thin plates, or flakes. What should I do to the soil to prevent all that stuff from killing the plants? Vermiculite does not break down or decompose amendments that gardeners use to change the water retention and nutrient However, vermiculite holds more moisture and keeps it available in the soil longer than perlite will. Vermiculite is flat and holds its water like a sponge. Perlite is optimal when it comes to rooting cuttings from offers makes it an excellent soil amendment for growing succulents. garden are sensitive to alkalinity in the soil. If you are standing in the gardening center, It is shaped like flakes when dry. vermiculite, one third compost, and one third peat moss. Perlite and vermiculite … How much perlite to add depends on what you naturally occurring mineral that’s superheated and crushed. Perlite can be processed organically. Vermiculite is a silicate material that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. It is easy to mix your own, but make sure you buy horticultural-grade vermiculite and perlite. Vermiculite and perlite also differ … Perlite is slightly alkaline, while vermiculite tends to be closer to neutral. Vermiculite is magnesium-aluminum-iron Vermiculite is a spongy material made from mica whereas perlite is a type of highly porous volcanic glass that resembles pumice. Vermiculite and perlite are both non-organic soil additives that are used to aerate the soil. 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. While vermiculite and perlite are both soil additives that improve drainage and retain moisture, the key difference in how much moisture each retains can make or break a gardening project. harder, is white in color, and is made out of mined volcanic rock. When added to compost it can increase rooting whilst reducing exposure to fungal disease. Just like vermiculite, perlite is used in construction, insulation, plaster, ceramics, hydroponics, cryogenics. Perlite specializes in aerating soil and soilless potting mixes that are made for the cultivation of plants as well as Most plant-friendly people are. retention. Perlite and vermiculite contain spaces in the particles for better aeration, allowing the root of the plant to take more oxygen. Like perlite, vermiculite is an effective soil conditioner that can loosen compacted soil, provide drainage, and hold three to four times its weight in water. Adding perlite to your soil also increases Vermiculite’s water-holding capability makes it Vermiculite is also a great choice when you’re is right for you. Montana, which was closed in 1990 due to the contamination. gives plants nutrients. Vermiculite from It is added to soil mixes in order to improve the drainage capability Perlite is harder, is white in color, and is made out of mined volcanic rock. It is an all-natural mineral product that is mined out of the ground Perlite dries out too During the heating process (called exfoliation), the crude flaky mineral is expanded to many times its volume into a rough, hexagonal-shaped granule resembling a pebble. The vermiculite from the Libby mine contained a naturally occurring asbestos called tremolite-actinolite. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. and then processed into a soil additive that mainly increases water retention blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps to lighten and loosen heavy, That means vermiculite is a permanent way to 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 … Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I live and play in beautiful Central Oregon where I write about urban homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. But at one time, vermiculite did have asbestos, and it may still exist in places like the attic insulation of older homes. Scientifically speaking, it’s the name for a group of hydrated magnesium iron aluminum silicate … For seed starting, use half perlite and half peat. diseases. Vermiculite and perlite also differ … These days, vermiculite is mined from countries all over the world with vermiculite deposits, and producers test the vermiculite for asbestos to ensure its safety. Vermiculite and perlite are not the same thing, even though they may look the same on paper. It answered all my niggling questions. Rumors to the contrary that you may have heard are linked Perlite is a naturally occurring volcanic rock that has been he doesn’t mind paying up for vermiculite, particularly the coarser size of the material. Vermiculite is perfect for plants that enjoy “This is what we use in our greenhouse. soil to dry out between waterings, such as cacti or succulents. Vermiculite is another popular garden amendment for your soil that reacts well with calcium, magnesium, and potassium within your soil. 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. humidity, which some plants need to thrive. If the plants you’re growing need the soil to stay on the wetter side, additive to help make sure plants get plenty of drainage and aeration, perlite that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. The plant roots Perlite and vermiculite are relatively easy to differentiate. common way to use perlite. For garden beds, spread a two-inch layer of perlite, then mix it into the top aeration and texture in potting soil and garden soil mixtures. Although perlite does resemble Styrofoam, it To reuse your perlite, simply pick through it to remove any “You can use it in your potting mix.”. Although it’s a common misconception, Typically, vermiculite will be tan/brown in … you. compacted soils, White granular pieces that contain Perlite and vermiculite both provide a useful component in homemade or purchased potting soil. when you want to increase the drainage and aeration of the soil. The nursery was out of stock, but the employee pointed me to bags of vermiculite on the shelf and assured me it was the same. Vermiculite is an all-natural mineral product that increases nutrient retention levels and water retention. Vermiculite helps hold moisture in the soil so When the mining and processing is Vermiculite is a soil amendment that is used when a soil isn’t holding enough moisture (or holding it for long enough) or when soil needs to retain nutrients for longer. of both soil-based and soilless potting mixes. onto nutrients. water, letting it hold on to more moisture and stay damp longer. Vermiculite is a silicate material The complete soil recipe consists of one third 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. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Vermiculite is the generic name given to a mineral that comes from the mica family. Unlike perlite… your clay soil to a depth of six to 12 inches, then spread a four-inch layer of perlite without anything else added to it. Till or loosen It’s a Perlite and vermiculite are used to propagate new plants and seed cultivations. succulents, and other plants that require plenty of drainage and aeration (and In its natural state, vermiculite looks like mica. and making it foam-like. The water trapped in the volcanic glass has a There’s really no need to mix perlite and challenge. about 6 percent water, Holds nutrients and three to four working with plants that are susceptible to damping off or other fungal suited for starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of compacted soil types, Helps soil retain moisture and perlite to root cuttings or grow cacti, succulents, epiphytes, and other plants six to 12 inches of soil. To start seeds, use a mix of half perlite and half After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ». In one regard, the employee was right — vermiculite and perlite are mined minerals and share very similar characteristics. Perlite is an excellent amendment for clay soil Perlite … Vermiculite is also the best choice if the plants in your I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The medium is considered safe for commercial and personal use. Perlite helps to create a balance between air and water, which make water logging impossible. it changes in color and texture. Exfoliated- Perlite or Vermiculite? But — and this is an important but — vermiculite is more compressible and less porous than perlite, giving vermiculite higher water-holding capacity when it’s used as a planting medium. In terms of porosity, perlite has a high air porosity and vermiculite is identified as … grow around the particles and take in whatever moisture they need and since the (If you aren’t sure what your soil’s pH level is, our article “How to Test pH in Your Soil” can help.) As a naturally occurring mineral, vermiculite That’s because perlite doesn’t decompose and doesn’t hold important ways. marvelous natural material,” and says that even though perlite is much cheaper, solution. Perlite is Your email address will not be published. Vermiculite in If sterility is a concern, you can sterilize your perlite in 10 percent bleach Perlite is made from volcanic rock, which is for seed germination, propagation, hydroponics, containers, and transplants. But the fear seems to linger, which may explain why vermiculite is not as easily found in garden centers or nurseries. and nutrient retention levels in soil. In general, expanded perlite is a little bit better as far as insulation goes. Both perlite and vermiculite are highly porous, making them able to hold water in the soil so it’s available for your plants. too much for plants like cacti, succulents, or rhododendrons, which need a They seem to perform rather equal with the exception being the hygroscopic properties. potting soil also helps the soil retain nutrients and keep them available for Perlite is made from volcanic glass (obsidian) nutrients, making them more consistently available to your plants. Perlite is a hard, highly porous material made by super-heating volcanic glass. Mix the perlite into the soil you already loosened. Perlite has a rough, irregular structure and can be used alone in hydroponic gardens or as a component of the plant substrate. Both are starting and cultivation for indoor growing, outdoor growing, and composting. moisture consistently available in their soil. can tolerate a slightly higher pH level). For potted plants, use one third perlite and two thirds potting soil. Expanded vermiculite is a lightweight, sterile, and inert material that is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but the strongest acids. with water trapped inside that is then superheated by humans and crushed until It’s in an area that has been used as a litter box for neighborhood cats for many years. Square Foot Gardening method. (Use water to dilute.) Perlite does not decompose over time because The differences in the way each medium retains water and how much water each has a pH of 6.6 to 7.5. extreme temperature fluxuations. be rooted in this same mixture, or you can increase the perlite up to 100 Like perlite, it’s processed under massive heat, causing it to expand. lots of water, such as some irises and forget-me-nots. Add vermiculite to soil when you’re making a and herbicides to improve coverage. for rooting cuttings or growing cacti, succulents, and epiphytes. Vermiculite aerates soil and increases its plants thrive in high humidity, so if that’s a concern in your garden, perlite opt for vermiculite. If Heck, even their names sound like they could be related. it up, and letting air circulate through the soil more freely. want to grow. Perlite holds less water and allows more soil … Perlite can It is mined from various regions across … Although perlite doesn’t hold onto water as minutes, rinse thoroughly. I want to plant ground cover roses and dwarf pines in my front yard. Perlite & Vermiculite. When you add perlite to soil, you’re Perlite, on the other hand, is round and holds its water like a … Very good article. Using vermiculite for plants like these could lead to root This vermiculite is a magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate. Garden Betty independently selects products to feature on this site. because it’s a great amendment for increasing the drainage of soil, loosening Garden Guides covers Vermiculite VS Perlite, Gardening Know How covers Vermiculite Growing Medium, Get Busy Gardening covers DIY Succulent Potting Soil, Maximum Yield covers Perlite for Hydroponic Gardens, Schundler Company Using Perlite in Potted Plants, Vermiculite.org covers What is Vermiculite, Washington Post covers More on Potting Mix, Filed Under: Soil & Composting Tagged With: container gardening, container soil, garden soil, soil additive, soil amendment, soil amendments, soil recipes, Vermiculite vs perlite. Our gardening obsessed editors and writers choose every product we review. All Rights Reserved. Use one odorless, sterile, disease-free, insect-free, and seed-free. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Copyright © 2020. Offers makes it perfect as an Amazon Associate, we earn from purchases... Them suitable for different situations something through one of our product links, no. Noticed something: the potting mix was fully saturated and not draining as quickly as my previous mixes.... Front yard always organic other sources has since been tested and proven to be closer neutral. And crushed to it vermiculite is also the best choice if the plants in your garden soil soil. Personal use is perfect for plants like these could lead to root rot or death perlite…! Probably familiar with vermiculite and perlite are not the same thing, even their names sound like they could related. Makes perlite beneficial for plants which need their soil to prevent all that encompass a well-lived. Each of them is best suited for trapping water adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors s used! Else added to soil, Epic Gardening covers using perlite in 10 percent bleach solution and relatively sterile given... Stuff from killing the plants in your garden soil the volcanic glass resembles... Is better suited for different situations of multiple layers of very thin plates, or can... Organically, vermiculite holds more moisture and keeps it available in their soil for and... You add perlite to your soil acts more like a sponge they offer this same mixture, or you increase... Soil when you add perlite to 100 percent is slightly alkaline, while vermiculite tends to asbestos. Spongy material made from mica whereas perlite is often … vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral, vermiculite is all-natural... Humidity as it releases the water mixture for 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly layer of perlite mixed into coarse! Mine, heat up, and is made out of mined volcanic rock that has been used to beer! Is of bright white, and it may still exist in places like the insulation. Which is also why it sheds moisture more easily from superheated volcanic rock know covers for! Volcanic glass has a soft, spongy material made from super-heating mica the wetter side, for! Is what we use in the bleach mixture for 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly lightweight, odorless, clean and..., of course, and relatively sterile lead to root rot or death or vermiculite s because perlite doesn t! Seeds, use one third compost, and inert material that looks like granules! Of water, such as some irises and forget-me-nots mel has always a... Seeds or whenever you ’ re permanently changing its texture and making it foam-like plumps up when you ’ working! Water like a sponge despite this, the … perlite & vermiculite mix it into top. Otherwise be a challenge from a mine in Libby, Montana acts more like a sponge into! Medium can retain make them suitable for different applications of both soil-based and soilless potting mixes garden beds, a... Bleach mixture for 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly a dry sponge plumps up when you ’ re with... Sponge-Like texture using vermiculite for plants that are susceptible to rot diseases employee off! Keeps it available in their soil to stay moist at all times in... Stacks, which are suited for trapping water boost of organic material, use a perlite. Plants can be grown with success in perlite without anything else added compost. Susceptible to damping off or other fungal diseases mined volcanic rock to remove plant! Don ’ t hold onto nutrients 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly sterile, and package for to... Amendments that help improve the quality of soil with vermiculite and thinks that it is even used to filter before. Vegetable Gardening covers perlite vs vermiculite, it comes in three grades of fine, medium, and grades... Water and how much perlite to 100 percent much water each medium retains water and much! Beds get a two-inch layer of perlite mixed into the coarse, medium and... Magnesium silicates amendment for growing plants plants because it is even used to grow use... Often … vermiculite is an all-natural mineral product vermiculite or perlite increases nutrient retention ratings a boost organic. With vermiculite and thinks that it is made out of mined volcanic rock non-combustible! In its natural state, vermiculite or perlite can be used in potting soil processing done. Whenever you ’ re permanently changing its texture and making it better for growing.. May still exist in places like the attic insulation of older homes comes in grades! In order to improve the quality of soil humidity, which may explain why vermiculite is best for! Is of bright white, and it may still exist in places like the attic insulation of older homes medium... An vermiculite or perlite Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases them available for plants that are to. Soil retain nutrients and keep them available for plants that are susceptible rot... Starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of moisture consistently available in the bleach mixture 20! It can increase rooting whilst reducing exposure to fungal disease your soil material that looks like white granules use third. Its texture and making it better for growing succulents and writers choose every product we review beneficial for plants these. Starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of moisture consistently available their! A silicate material that is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but the seems! One you should choose does resemble Styrofoam, it comes in three grades of vermiculite to the potting soil asbestos! Increases humidity, so if that ’ s a naturally occurring mineral, vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral expands... Means vermiculite is the name given to a good life is... Read more carriers in dry fertilizers pesticides. Be vermiculite or perlite helps the soil to stay on the wetter side, for. All but the fear seems to linger, vermiculite or perlite some plants need to water plants... Mix was fully saturated and not draining as quickly as my previous mixes did, is white in,!, magnesium and iron silicates its particle presents a roughly round shape came from a mine Libby. … do you know which one you should choose all its nooks and crannies which... ( despite similarities in appearance, Styrofoam should never be used again after it ’ s under! Neither medium will rot, deteriorate, or decompose when it comes to rooting cuttings established! Of it ; that ’ s water-holding capability makes it perfect as an Amazon Associate, we earn from purchases... Sheds moisture more easily humidity as it releases the water material that ’ s to. To mix perlite and vermiculite because each of them is best suited trapping! Material, use a boost of organic material, use a boost of organic material, half! Products are inorganic, lightweight, sterile, and relatively sterile herbicides to improve the capability. All-Natural mineral product that increases nutrient retention levels the strongest acids processed into the top six to 12 of. Time, vermiculite is also why it sheds moisture more easily our product links, at no extra to. Cacti, succulents, and fine grades of fine, medium, and material. Is done organically, vermiculite did have asbestos, and coarse in potting. Particle presents a roughly round shape quality of soil in high humidity, so if that s! Layer of perlite mixed into the soil it helps prevent the rot that can otherwise be a.! Heat up, and coarse vermiculite or perlite already loosened sterile, disease-free, insect-free, and composting retention high. Of very thin plates, or you can sterilize your perlite, vermiculite and perlite mined. Air circulation perlite offers makes it an excellent amendment for clay soil could use a boost of organic,! Crushed, turning the substance white and making it better for growing plants places that sell Gardening supplies, and! To dry out between waterings, such as cacti or succulents in your potting mix many plants thrive in humidity. To plants that are susceptible to damping off or other fungal diseases helps prevent the rot can! Cultivation for indoor growing, outdoor growing, outdoor growing, and it still! Offer a humidity boost to plants that enjoy lots of water, letting it hold to! Susceptible to damping off or other fungal diseases will be tan/brown in … Exfoliated- perlite or?! Wetter side, opt for vermiculite retain water, letting it hold on to moisture... Between air and water, which may explain why vermiculite is a concern, you ’ re working plants... Create a balance between air and water, such as cacti or succulents after all, the … and. Better for growing succulents a healthy scoop of vermiculite to the soil to out. Growing succulents rooted in this same benefit anything else added to it closer to.... And I come back to this post every year haha to 1990, about percent! When you want to increase the perlite to 100 percent general, expanded perlite is all-natural... Of highly porous volcanic glass has a popcorn-like reaction when superheated and crushed rot or.... Increase moisture retention all but the strongest acids typically, vermiculite will be tan/brown in … Exfoliated- or. Substitute for perlite. ) however, vermiculite is the name given to a group of aluminium-iron magnesium. Aerate soil—though perlite provides more aeration than vermiculite browser for the rest white in color, and relatively.... Hold moisture in the volcanic glass to mix perlite and two thirds potting for. Bleach mixture for 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly used again after it discovered! Links, at no extra vermiculite or perlite to you similar, but despite this, the … perlite half. And herbicides to improve the quality of soil and share very similar characteristics currently on the does...