What Does Perlite Do?

Perlite is one of the most versatile soil amendments used to seed start and cultivate many different plants. It helps with drainage and aeration while increasing drainage rates in your soil.

Geotextile is composed of transformed volcanic glass that has been heated to 1,600 degrees F and then heated further after popping, leaving microscopic holes behind for air circulation into your soil. When it pops, these small openings create a porous texture allowing air to travel deeper inside it for root development and plant health.

It’s a natural aerator

Perlite is an expansive siliceous rock that expands when heated to a specific temperature, releasing water that evaporates during this process into the atmosphere and making perlite extremely lightweight and porous, thus improving soil aeration and drainage.

Hydroponic growing media makes an invaluable addition to any soil amendment, particularly where moderate water retention, drainage, aeration and ventilation are of primary concern. Furthermore, it makes an ideal growing medium for seeds, saplings and rootings (both hydroponic or in the garden).

To create the ideal potting mix, mix equal parts of sterilised loam or peat-based compost and perlite. For an additional soilless mixture, combine three or four parts Sphagnum moss peat with one part perlite.

If you’re beginning seedlings from seed, make a simple seedling mix by mixing equal parts perlite and peat moss in a plastic container or tray. Slowly incorporate filtered water by stirring with a trowel until your soil becomes damp – then plant seeds.

Perlite can be combined with various ingredients to produce soilless potting mixes for indoor or outdoor containers, ideal for cacti and succulents as the soil dries out more rapidly due to the perlite’s rapid water-retaining capacity.

Perlite’s neutral pH makes it a valuable choice in soil amendment, providing advantages to plants that prefer less acidic or more alkaline environments, and helping prevent fungus and mildew growth.

Not all propagating cuttings require soil-based growing media; small additions of perlite may help ensure damp conditions for rooting. Furthermore, it will aid germination.

The same mix can also be used to plant bare-root plants like tomatoes and peppers, with perlite added into the planting hole to give these seedlings an early headstart and prevent soil compaction that leads to root rot and fungal infection.

Vermiculite and diatomaceous earth can serve as viable replacements for perlite in terms of aerating and reducing soil compaction, yet neither offers quite the same long-term advantages that perlite can.

It’s a natural water wicker

What does perlite do? Simply, perlite is a natural mineral that has been heat treated to make it lighter and more compact than its raw form. Furthermore, heat treatment causes its water content to expand more than 13-times its original size resulting in its extremely lightweight nature.

Horticultural perlite can be purchased in small to medium sized bags from nurseries, garden centers, and large DIY stores such as B&Q, Homebase and Wilko. Due to its wide array of uses in potted plants, gardening enthusiasts often rely on it.

Vermiculite makes an outstanding potting mix that will please both eyes and wallet. Simply mix equal parts vermiculite, compost, clay or paper pulp to form a complete seedling mixture.

Best of all: it’s affordable!

Utilizing it as the base ingredient of my own DIY potting mix is one of my favorite activities.

Perlite can add many advantages to your next potting mix, from keeping soil from rotting to improving your growing swagger and saving on expensive plant food. Be sure to get hold of at least one bag! You won’t regret making such an intelligent investment decision.

It’s a natural fertilizer

Perlite is a natural soil additive commonly found in potting soil and seed-starting mixes, and used as hydroponic media in Bato bucket systems for larger vining crops like tomatoes and eggplant.

Perlite may not be organic material, but its production process sterilizes (superheats) it to kill off bacterial and fungal pests that could harm your crop. Furthermore, perlite is pH neutral which makes managing pH dosing easy for systems.

Mix it easily into potting soil to enhance drainage, add aeration and allow airflow for root development. Proper airflow enables plant roots to breathe properly, leading to healthy root development as well as supporting beneficial nematodes, earthworms and other organisms in the soil food web.

Perlite’s water absorption properties help your plants remain hydrated during dry weather conditions, with perlite having the capacity to absorb up to three or four times its weight in liquid, providing immense benefit for any garden.

Perlite’s porous nature also allows it to retain moisture, further hydrating your plants during hot summers when extra water may be required to prevent their drowning. This benefit may prove especially helpful during these drought-stricken times.

Perlite can also add airiness, which is essential in preventing mold growth and fostering germination – something the cells of plants require oxygen for.

Perlite is a lightweight granular material similar to polystyrene or Styrofoam in appearance and feel, yet is actually composed of expanded volcanic glass formed when obsidian comes into contact with water, typically resulting in gray to black hues. When heated to 1000 deg C it “pops”, like popcorn kernels do, to form lighter balls with multiple channels for water flow through it – making Perlite an eco-friendly, safe, non-toxic soil conditioner commonly added to potting mixes for soil conditioning purposes.

It’s a natural soil conditioner

Perlite is a white mineral material often found in commercial potting soil and seed-starting mixes, often confused with Styrofoam. But, contrary to popular belief, perlite is completely safe for both plants and gardeners alike.

Perlite can be an extremely helpful addition to potting mixes and seed-starting containers, providing increased drainage, aeration and protection from soil compacting by providing air to plant roots. It also helps avoid unnecessary cost associated with maintaining healthy plant growth by adding airflow.

Perlite expands when heated to high temperatures, producing a porous material filled with air that is light and airy. Made from recycled volcanic glass, perlite’s ability to expand under heat makes it highly effective at absorbing and retaining water in soils.

While both perlite and vermiculite can be found in potting mixes, each has different uses. Perlite excels at aeration and drainage while vermiculite keeps moisture locked inside for prolonged plant health.

Perlite’s most beneficial properties go far beyond aeration and drainage; for instance, its pH neutral nature makes it safer for growing vegetables and flowers without needing to adjust the soil’s pH level accordingly.

Perlite is created using superheated sources, meaning it has almost no chance of introducing pests or diseases into a system – something especially crucial if using soilless media that requires sterilization before use to avoid spreading any potential threats such as bugs.

Perlite can also be an invaluable aid when used hydroponically, as a component of grow media used for rooting plant cuttings. The coarse texture of perlite promotes healthy root development while providing your new plants with an ideal environment. Just be sure to maintain good drainage!

Perlite is a natural, lightweight, and safe substance that can be added to any kind of soil, or used as a supplement in hydroponic systems for better aeration and water retention. Perlite’s most notable use lies in propagating plants from cuttings by providing oxygenated roots accessing hidden sources of moisture, nutrients, and microorganisms within perlite mineral bases.

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