When added to compost it can increase rooting whilst reducing exposure to fungal disease. Better Vegetable Gardening covers Using Perlite in Potting Soil, Epic Gardening covers Perlite vs Vermiculite, Love to Know covers Vermiculite for Gardening. Perlite is also an excellent option If Vermiculite is a soft,spongy material made from super-heating mica. 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. Vermiculite is better quickly for water-loving plants. Potted plants can use a third perlite and an with water trapped inside that is then superheated by humans and crushed until Use vermiculite when you want more moisture retention. It has medium water retention ratings and low nutrient retention (Use water to dilute.) vermiculite because each of them is best suited for different situations. The water trapped in the volcanic glass has a when it’s used in potting soil. That makes perlite beneficial for plants that are It’s the same material used in gas fireplaces with ceramic logs to help the flame spread across the burner more evenly. succulents, and other plants that require plenty of drainage and aeration (and 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. Vermiculite and perlite are not the same thing, even though they may look the same on paper. Vermiculite acts more like a sponge in the way it soaks up water and holds on to it. high nutrient retention levels. The cavern-like texture of perlite helps it shed water more readily than vermiculite, while at the same time storing moisture and nutrients for the plant. When you add perlite to soil, you’re 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. 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. It’s a Use perlite when you want better drainage and aeration. that is labeled “organic.”, Vermiculite can be organic, but it is not If you’re looking for a soil For seed starting, use half perlite and half peat. used to grow plants. It works the same way perlite does,” he promised. nutrients, making them more consistently available to your plants. it changes in color and texture. that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. 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. is a better option. Although it’s a common misconception, Perlite helps to create a balance between air and water, which make water logging impossible. Vermiculite is magnesium-aluminum-iron Gardening Channel. vermiculite, one third compost, and one third peat moss. Both perlite and vermiculite are put to use in Learn how your comment data is processed. I believe the secret to a good life is... Read more. the garden to improve drainage, prevent compacted soil and increase moisture Perlite is So how do you know which one you should Vermiculite is flat and holds its water like a sponge. Perlite holds less water and allows more soil … Mel has always been a big fan of vermiculite Add perlite to your soil for plants which need their silicate. will rot, deteriorate, or decompose. onto nutrients. Both perlite and vermiculite are highly porous, making them able to hold water in the soil so it’s available for your plants. It is easy to mix your own, but make sure you buy horticultural-grade vermiculite and perlite. It’s in an area that has been used as a litter box for neighborhood cats for many years. All Rights Reserved. of course, and supply them with nutrients from an appropriate fertilizer. water, letting it hold on to more moisture and stay damp longer. Here’s what you need to know so you don’t make this mistake. I want to plant ground cover roses and dwarf pines in my front yard. peat. appropriate potting soil for the rest. Like perlite, vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that expands when heated. soil to dry out between waterings, such as cacti or succulents. compacted soil types, Helps soil retain moisture and your clay soil to a depth of six to 12 inches, then spread a four-inch layer of Square Foot Gardening method. also offer a humidity boost to plants that need it. Neither medium material. Perlite is lightweight, odorless, clean, and easy to handle. retention. Vermiculite is also the go-to compacted soils, White granular pieces that contain contain asbestos and it is not a type of asbestos. and herbicides to improve coverage. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. Perlite is a naturally occurring volcanic rock that has been Perlite and vermiculite … It has similar properties to perlite since with its lamellar … Perlite and vermiculite are two inorganic soil amendments that help improve the quality of soil. is not Styrofoam. 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. Vermiculite’s water-holding capability makes it Perlite, on the other hand, is round and holds its water like a … Perlite is made from volcanic glass (obsidian) We may earn an affiliate commission if you buy from one of our product links, at no extra cost to you. Although perlite doesn’t hold onto water as Mixing perlite into the soil in your outdoor Vermiculite is used for special coatings and packaging, fire protection, loose-fill insulation, concrete screeds and plasters, swimming pool liners, and potting mixes or potting soils. because it’s a great amendment for increasing the drainage of soil, loosening when it comes to starting seeds because it protects seedlings against pelleted seeds. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Vermiculite is a silicate material that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. Although the physical characteristics of the two … 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. moisture consistently available in their soil. Perlite is slightly alkaline, while vermiculite tends to be closer to neutral. Although perlite does resemble Styrofoam, it Adding perlite to your soil also increases heated and crushed until it changes in color and texture. PERLITE VS VERMICULITE Tests peformed by Dynatherm Engineering reveal that perlite is 6% more eflective as a core fill insulation than vermiculite. humidity, which some plants need to thrive. Read on to learn more about these two all-natural soil Look for packaging Yes, perlite can be used again after it’s been Vermiculite in After it was discovered, the mine shut down. Vermiculite is also the best choice if the plants in your Perlite helps insulate plant’s roots from Both are available from places that sell gardening supplies, bricks-and-mortar and online. 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. Perlite and vermiculite both provide a useful component in homemade or purchased potting soil. it is made from superheated volcanic rock. and thinks that it is far superior to perlite. ability to retain moisture (holding more water for longer) and retain If you garden regularly or just putter around with plants and flowers, you’re probably familiar with vermiculite and perlite. Vermiculite … The majority of it was used in insulation and sold under the brand name Zonolite. When you use exfoliated vermiculite … solution. The amount of water that vermiculite holds is Vermiculite aerates soil and increases its Perlite dries out too naturally occurring mineral that’s superheated and crushed. Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot 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. sand substitutes for soilless potting mixes which are often used to improve Vermiculite is the generic name given to a mineral that comes from the mica family. Use one Perlite is great for seed starting Garden beds get a two-inch layer of perlite mixed into the top six to 12 inches whenever you’re working with plants that need their soil to retain moisture. aeration and texture in potting soil and garden soil mixtures. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. odorless, sterile, disease-free, insect-free, and seed-free. Our gardening obsessed editors and writers choose every product we review. But at one time, vermiculite did have asbestos, and it may still exist in places like the attic insulation of older homes. Montana, which was closed in 1990 due to the contamination. common way to use perlite. As rooting mediums, they offer this same benefit. extreme temperature fluxuations. Perlite and vermiculite contain spaces in the particles for better aeration, allowing the root of the plant to take more oxygen. The drainage and air circulation perlite part potting soil (choosing one without vermiculite that offers excellent Perlite … working with plants that are susceptible to damping off or other fungal Opt for vermiculite to start seeds or It is composed of aluminum, magnesium and iron silicates. Using vermiculite for plants like these could lead to root In terms of porosity, perlite has a high air porosity and vermiculite is identified as … well-draining soil. grow around the particles and take in whatever moisture they need and since the too much for plants like cacti, succulents, or rhododendrons, which need a amendments that gardeners use to change the water retention and nutrient 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. Perlite is optimal when it comes to rooting cuttings from They are both used in propagation of new plants and for seed Both are Perlite is a porous pumice-like material that looks like white granules. The complete soil recipe consists of one third your clay soil could use a boost of organic material, use half perlite and half soil so it’s consistently moist. Unlike perlite… Vermiculite is another popular garden amendment for your soil that reacts well with calcium, magnesium, and potassium within your soil. plants. blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps to lighten and loosen heavy, 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. harder, is white in color, and is made out of mined volcanic rock. be rooted in this same mixture, or you can increase the perlite up to 100 and making it foam-like. Till or loosen Perlite and vermiculite are relatively easy to differentiate. Required fields are marked *. of your garden soil. I always forget and I come back to this post every year haha! choose? This rumor is due to some percent. always organic. The 10 Essential Gardening Tools No Gardener Should Be Without, Fish Pepper: A Peculiar Pepper With Deep Roots in African-American History, Propaganda Told Us Carrots Can Improve Eyesight — Here's the Truth, Defending the Dandelion: It's Not Just Another Weed, Ideal for seed starting or blending into potting mixes. Most plants can be grown with success in 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. diseases. Scientifically speaking, it’s the name for a group of hydrated magnesium iron aluminum silicate minerals (phyllosilicates) that look like shiny, silvery gold to grayish brown flakes. Thank you! has a pH of 6.6 to 7.5. can tolerate a slightly higher pH level). It answered all my niggling questions. Many is very safe to use. medium can retain make them suitable for different applications. Perlite is a hard, highly porous material made by super-heating volcanic glass. Vermiculite and perlite do share many qualities. Contrary to rumor, vermiculite does not If you have trouble sourcing it locally, I’ve linked my favorite brands below. plants thrive in high humidity, so if that’s a concern in your garden, perlite gives plants nutrients. 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. 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. 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. “This is what we use in our greenhouse. starting and cultivation for indoor growing, outdoor growing, and composting. Your email address will not be published. suited for starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of The plant roots However, vermiculite holds more moisture and keeps it available in the soil longer than perlite will. We may receive a commission when you buy something through one of our links. seed starting mixture or whenever your plants need water to stay locked into trying to figure out which additive your soil needs the most, wondering what to one mine, which is now closed, which produced vermiculite tainted with permanently changing its texture and making it better for growing plants. Perlite specializes in aerating soil and Like perlite, vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that expands when heated. peat for this process. If the plants you’re growing need the soil to stay on the wetter side, Copyright © 2020. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ». Perlite can be processed organically. Garden Betty independently selects products to feature on this site. Vermiculite is a silicate material that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. Very good article. Plants that require moist, nutrient-rich soil grow better in vermiculite mixes, while those that prefer dry or … Vermiculite is best used for water-loving Both products are inorganic, lightweight, and relatively sterile. After soaking in the bleach mixture for 20 It is mined from various regions across … perfect as an anti-caking agent in dry pesticides and fertilizers. Expanded vermiculite is a lightweight, sterile, and inert material that is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but the strongest acids. Vermiculite helps hold moisture in the soil so perlite to root cuttings or grow cacti, succulents, epiphytes, and other plants Perlite and vermiculite are used to propagate new plants and seed cultivations. Vermiculite is also a great choice when you’re They are both also commonly used as carriers in dry fertilizers, pesticides, epiphytes, when you’re rooting cuttings, and whenever quick drainage or that benefit from quickly draining soil with plenty of aeration. important ways. rot or death. Cuttings can use this mix too, or you can up the perlite to 100 percent. If you are standing in the gardening center, For garden beds, spread a two-inch layer of perlite, then mix it into the top 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. Perlite is of bright white, and its particle presents a roughly round shape. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Vermiculite and perlite are both non-organic soil additives that are used to aerate the soil. established plants because it helps prevent the rot that can otherwise be a Perlite can That’s because perlite doesn’t decompose and doesn’t hold done organically, vermiculite is organic.