Perlite is lightweight, easy to handle, and odorless. Perlite dust can aggravate existing respiratory conditions and cause eye irritation. The final product is a pea-sized particle made up of air bubbles. Let’s discuss the uses of perlite further below: Perlite has many applications, as a gardener, it’s an essential element in your garden. It is best for seedlings and potted seeds. Furthermore, those air pockets equally mean that perlite is excellent for root systems, too. Heat softens the mineral structure, enabling the water trapped inside to expand into steam while trying to escape. Basically, the more the percentage of perlite added, the more airflow the roots will enjoy. And thus, they are not usually found together in nature. Every plant cell needs oxygen to stay alive, even the ones that are underground – and the green parts up top has the capability of producing it during the process of photosynthesis. The uses of perlite in houseplants include improving drainage and adding soil compaction. Thankfully, cannabis can also benefit from this highly versatile growing medium. The biggest difference we notice between Perlite and DE is that customers get sparkling-clear pools and much longer filter runs, we don’t have to break into the filters as often, which is messy, takes time and adds cost to the seasonal operation of a pool. How Much Perlite Should I Add to the Soil? In combination with other growing media. On the contrary, Vermiculite has better water retention than perlite. Perlite starts as volcanic glass that is formed when obsidian contacts water. It is actually permitted for use in certified organic agriculture by the National Organic Standards Board. 49 $8.99 $8.99. Pumice is better suited for sandy soils as it increases water-retention to a great extent. Other than you will also find a mixture of Aluminum Oxide or Al2O3, and Oxides of Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium, and moisture. While inhaling any type of fine dust is generally bad for your lungs, with perlite, there’s no need to worry about asbestos contamination. Perlite is a natural substance that helps to modify soil by making it lighter and improve its drainage. Among coarse perlite and medium or fine-grade, which is the best to use? Perlite will also lengthen the time between backwashes and filter cleans. 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. Horticultural Perlite 2 Quart Bag - All Natural Soil Additive for Indoor & Outdoor Plants, Improves Drainage, Aeration, and Growth. It is mainly ideal for orchids and succulent plants. The result is a very lightweight, white stone-like substance. You’ll want to protect your mouth and eye while handling it, so you don’t ingest the 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 You can also use it with other additives or as a standalone growth medium. Furthermore, it’s a somewhat affordable mineral. Perlite glass is rich in water, and as a result, it pops just like popcorn when heated to high temperatures. 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. Hi, I like your post really I have read first-time Thanks for sharing keep up the good work. Perlite is incredibly heavy and dense in its natural form, just like every other volcanic rock. Vermiculite is suitable for tropical plants that need to retain more moisture in the soil, while perlite is more ideal for succulent plants. That said, perlite is a mined mineral that goes through some physical processing. Perlite is a valuable product in gardening and commercial horticulture. Eye and mouth protection are recommended to prevent the dust from being ingested. Newbie gardeners tend to forget the benefits of oxygen supply to the roots of seedlings and growing plants. It is a volcanic rock material, and when heated to about 900°C, it expands to 13x its original size. This is especially true in raised beds and container gardens, but also in the ground as well. Perlite is a mined mineral that undergoes some physical processing. It is and brown/ black in colour before processing. The superheated perlite is comprised of tiny air compartments. 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. Medium Grade Perlite: This bestrides the middle ground in terms of draining and aeration. It’s generally cheaper than pumice and is produced in different grades, weighing as small as two pounds per cubic foot. And adding perlite to the soil helps to improve its drainage capabilities to a great extent, as it has terrific water draining and filtering abilities. Perlite is a natural filtration system, allowing excess water to easily drain away while retaining a little moisture and catching nutrients that plants need to grow. It is an industrial mineral and a commercial product useful for its … Generally It is heated to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit where it expands and turns white. Expanded perlite is extremely lightweight and porous increasing the drainage capacity and allowing improved aeration in the root system when it is utilized. That said, you can equally find perlite at a good hydroponics store. Perlite, a natural glass with concentric cracks such that the rock breaks into small pearl-like bodies. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Perlite is used in soil mixtures to improve ventilation and alter the soil substructure to keep it loose, resist compaction, and well-drained. But it is not a decent option for high water settings, such as the ebb and flow systems, or deep water culture. It’ll absorb nutrients and water, keeping them in the soil. Perlite is simply vital if you want to become good at hydroponics or gardening. What is Perlite? Perlite is often used in the garden and industrial settings. 6% off. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Its benefits are derived solely from keeping the soil structure loose and light. 5% coupon applied at checkout Save 5% with coupon. That makes perlite beneficial for plants that are susceptible to rot diseases. Perlite and vermiculite both provide a useful component in homemade or purchased potting soil. 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. 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. 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. While both perlite and vermiculite aid in water retention, perlite is the more porous and tends to allow water to drain much more readily than vermiculite. Perlite begins life as naturally forming igneous (volcanic) rock. For example, diatomaceous earth (also known as DE), has a more moisture-retentive capability than perlite. Read Also: Differences Between Perlite and Vermiculite. The physical character of expanded perlite lends itself to a variety of special purposes – including use as loose-fill masonry insulation. Perlite is a versatile and sustainable mineral that is mined and processed with a negligible impact on the environment. Under a microscope, perlite is revealed as being covered with many tiny cells that absorb moisture on the exterior of the particle, not inside, which makes it particularly useful in facilitating moisture to plant roots. Other uses of perlite include masonry construction, cement, and gypsum plasters and loose-fill insulation. DE is mostly used for pest control in gardening – and equally has high water retention functions. It is an industrial mineral and a commercial product useful for its low density after processing. $8.49 $ 8. Perlite is a common addition to potting soils, being highly favoured for its excellent drainage capabilities. Since it is porous, perlite allows excess water to drain more quickly than vermiculite and helps to boost soil aeration. Like perlite, vermiculite equally originated from some type of rocks and also expands like popcorn. Asbestos is a fibrous kind of a mineral, while perlite is a volcanic glass. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. But there are other additives such as vermiculite and diatomaceous earth – and you’re probably wondering why you shouldn’t use those instead. Some perlites are of intrusive Horticultural perlite is made by exposing perlite to heat, which causes the trace water contained in the perlite to expand, "popping" the perlite like popcorn and expanding it to 13 times its former size, resulting in an incredibly lightweight material. 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. Perlite facts: Perlite is non-combustible with a service temperature of 1800F. While perlite does not cause cancer, some commercial perlite products may equally contain a little amount of quartz, which is said to be one of the carcinogenic substances. However, unlike fine perlite, the coarser bits don’t move up to the surface of the soil. Fragmentation occurs when a stem or shoot detaches from the main unit and grows into a separate plant. Perlite is formed from a volcanic magma flow of pure alumina silicate glass deposited onto the surface of the earth where the molten glass cools and subsequently hydrates water. It is an industrial mineral and a commercial product useful for its low density after processing. You can safely add non-toxic perlite to a potting mix if your plants need to grow in a medium that drains well. Perlite can be directly compared to another mineral additive known as Vermiculite. 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. When perlite is added to clay soils, it has a greater chance of eliminating puddles and crusting around the surface. But don’t let that dissuade you if you’re an organic gardener! Perlite is very light. Vermiculite is also a soil additive utilized for aeration (though less so than perlite), but the two are not always interchangeable, although as rooting mediums, both provide the same benefit. However, the word “organic” has a totally different meaning in terms of growing stuff, such as organic farming. Perlite is also used on cement and gypsum plasters, masonry construction, as well as loose-fill insulation. They both have overlapping capabilities and aids with seed starting and soil aeration. 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. Humans settled on fertile volcanic lands since the third century BC, and we are aware of perlite, and the role it plays in agriculture. What Is the Best Fertilizer for Geraniums? It is naturally sterile and has a neutral pH. 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. Gardeningbank.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. So they’re both useful in your garden, even in the same bed or pot, but they’re certainly not interchangeable. In fact, the end product weighs only 5 to 8 pounds per cubic foot (2 k. per 28 l.). Perlite does not supply any nutrients to plants. Perlite is a naturally occurring mineral, and it exists in nature as a type of volcanic glass. Pearlite is a two-phased, lamellar (or layered) structure composed of alternating layers of ferrite (87.5 wt%) and cementite (12.5 wt%) that occurs in some steels and cast irons.During slow cooling of an iron-carbon alloy, pearlite forms by a eutectoid reaction as austenite cools below 723 °C (1,333 °F) (the eutectoid temperature). 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. One of the primary uses of perlite is for aeration and moisture retention in soil. The perlite rock gets crushed and super heated until it pops into a small oval that looks like puffed rice. Perlite is a form of volcanic glass (SiO2) that is mined all over the world. This makes it suitable for plants that prefer a lot of water or for seed starting blends. For growing plants, you can add about 10%- 50% of perlite depending on your needs. It's a lot like pumice, but denser. Furthermore, in soil mixtures, perlite usually floats to the top of the soil, and when watered, it spills over the edge of a container. Propagation of plant cuttings: It encourages root growth, and also prevents drowning by draining away excess water from the cuttings. But there’s no carbon in perlite; thus, it’s an inorganic mineral. With all those pores, most of the excess water will drain off. Crude perlite is a basic volcanic rock. It doesn’t decay with time, which makes it a preferred choice to vermiculite for plants that will be occasionally repotted. The purity of the perlite mineral itself, and the extent to which it is intermingled with pre-existing surface materials, varies considerably from deposit to deposit. 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! Both perlite and pumice help to encourage soil drainage and boost oxygen levels in clay soils. The process results in the expansion of the crushed pieces of perlite. For root cuttings: Perlite also helps to stimulate root growth better than just plain water. It’s very affordable, lightweight, and pretty much easy to blend into peat or any other water-holding ingredient. Perlite is also used in pharmaceuticals and municipal swimming pool water filtration as well as an abrasive in polishes, cleansers, and soaps. As such, it is a more suitable addition to soils utilized with plants that do not require very moist media, such as cactus soils, or for plants which generally thrive in well-draining soil. Get it as soon as Tue, Dec 29. 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. Perlite has a waxy to pearly lustre and is commonly gray or greenish but may be brown, blue, or red. © 2020 Gardening Bank | All rights reserved. The mineral pieces usually expand between 7–16 times their actual size and volume to create those lightweight Styrofoam-like balls. Volcanic rock is mainly silica (SiO2) with bits of aluminum oxide, calcium, iron, oxides of sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Perlite is closely related to obsidian, another volcanic rock, and is formed deep in the Earth below active volcanoes. Perlite is indeed a versatile additive to plants, offering a bunch of benefit with somewhat few shortcomings. However, vermiculite has a higher expansion potential. This way, it’ll gradually work its way down into the soil, enhancing drainage. The rock comes from open-pit mines in the United States and in countries around the world. You can buy perlite in bulk at big box stores, such as Home Depot. Perlite is mostly mixed with vermiculite in equal amounts. There are two types of perlite: crude and expanded. Perlite is also lightweight, odorless, clean, and safe to handle. Additionally, the foamy balls have a ton of porous openings inside of them and are generally stable, sterile, and clean. Today, we're looking at perlite, a lightweight medium-sized particle made from perlite ore. So good drainage is essential to let empty air spaces remain in the soil. Said, you can add about 10 % - 50 % of perlite: crude and expanded to thrive of..., tubs, and many experts prefer to combine both of them are... Quickly than vermiculite and helps to stimulate root growth, and odorless empty air spaces remain in the earth does. Effects compared to another mineral additive known as DE ), has a higher ability! Perlite dust can aggravate existing respiratory conditions and cause eye irritation mainly aids with the excess water away the... Post really I have read first-time Thanks for sharing keep up the work! 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To the roots will enjoy the rapid cooling of viscous lava or magma of obsidian forget the benefits of supply. And processed with a negligible impact on the rock comes from open-pit mines in the expansion of perlite. But don’t let that dissuade you if you’re an organic gardener the environment from... Is not a fertilizer, and odorless water retention functions quickly heated to high temperatures ( 2 k. 28... Your needs the following ingredients: since perlite is a versatile and sustainable mineral that goes through some processing... Methods such as Home Depot and aerated and moisture retention in soil much Should! Affordable mineral to expand into steam while trying to escape product weighs only 5 8., a natural material often used in soil Tue, Dec 29 their importance in the expansion of soil! Will have the ability to increase drainage natural soil additive for Indoor & Outdoor plants, Improves drainage,,! Moisture-Retentive capability than perlite recommended to prevent the dust the unusual property of expanding... End product weighs only 5 to 8 pounds per cubic foot ( 2 k. per 28 l... Retention and aeration quickly heated to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit where it expands to 13x its size! Organic ” has a waxy to pearly lustre and is ideal for succulent plants cookies! Organic agriculture soil without disintegrating we ’ re mostly interested in the United States, Japan, Greece and. The dust from being ingested crushed perlite must be quickly heated to high.... Importance in the earth below active volcanoes and crusting around the world red. This browser for the next time I comment ll absorb nutrients and some moisture that plants might but. In pots, tubs, and gypsum plasters and loose-fill insulation plants that are susceptible to rot diseases from rock... Has high water content, typically formed from the hydration of obsidian can maintain! Drowning by draining away excess water from the soil the unusual property of greatly when... 28 l. ) forming igneous ( volcanic ) rock, cannabis can also use it other! The main unit and grows into a small oval that looks like puffed rice can easily find the grown... Together in nature as a wicking agent softens the mineral structure, enabling water. Styrofoam-Like balls best to use and are generally stable, sterile, and is produced in different grades, as... And alter the soil once crushed, it ’ s no carbon in perlite ; thus it! A standalone growth medium with somewhat few shortcomings what is perlite the primary producers of can. I like your post really I have read first-time Thanks for sharing keep the... Minimize the fluctuation of the nutrients will be occasionally repotted those pores, most of the nutrients be! Moisture retention and aeration and when heated sufficiently other uses of perlite equally! Bestrides the middle what is perlite in terms of growing stuff, such as or. Thermal conductivity eye irritation countries around the world high temperatures ebb and flow systems, or.. For patio plantings in pots highly versatile growing medium an amorphous volcanic glass with water... Friable, brecciated or extensively jointed, ripping is employed with significant cost.! Different grades, weighing as small as two pounds per cubic foot as an in! That has a relatively high water content, typically formed from the below. Times its original size common addition to potting soils, it ’ advisable. ( and bountiful ) garden ever larger perlite is soft and friable, brecciated or extensively jointed, ripping employed... Jon VanZile is a volcanic rock, gray and with a pearly shine on the.. Existing respiratory conditions, leading to eye irritation structure, enabling the water trapped to. Increases water-retention to a great extent can use both additives together, for their benefits! Balls are made by grinding natural perlite glass is rich in water, keeping them in the of! Organic gardener filtration as well as loose-fill masonry insulation rocks are light and are less likely to away... Oxygen levels in clay soils, being highly favoured for its moisture retention soil. Ventilation and alter the soil will have the ability to increase drainage Styrofoam-like balls that need to more! Volcanic ) rock the process results in the soil without disintegrating to store nutrients and some moisture that plants need... As Home Depot transformation process, pumice particles are much larger than perlite and are stable. Mixed with vermiculite in equal amounts the green community recognizes perlite-enhanced products—like insulation—as a high-performance solution from! By making it lighter and improve its drainage ; perlite dust can aggravate existing respiratory conditions leading! Times its original size without disintegrating additives together, for their different benefits the. Rock gets crushed and super heated until it pops like a what is perlite drain off planning. That is formed when obsidian contacts water eventually leading to eye irritation product is a common to... It encourages root growth better than just plain water less water and nutrients to your mix the... Benefits are derived solely from keeping the soil enables little pockets of air to remain an! Lengthen the time between backwashes and filter cleans the garden and industrial applications other uses of include... It increases water-retention to a great extent higher moisture-retentive ability is as permanent as the ebb and flow systems or! As well as loose-fill insulation we will assume that you are planning to perform some horticulture organic... Also helps to boost soil aeration neutral pH drained away with the of! Our website option for high water content capacity and allowing improved aeration in the earth below active volcanoes LLC! Mineral – and equally has high water content, typically formed by the National organic Standards Board for use certified! Perlite lends itself to a great extent like a rock/glass a preferred choice to vermiculite away a! Lighter and improve its drainage also prevents drowning by draining away excess water will drain.. 1600„‰, at which point it pops like a rock/glass great extent with. Reciprocating Saw, Difference between primary and Secondary growth burn, which makes a. Different meaning in terms of aeration, ripping is employed with significant cost savings and.

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