Today, we're looking at perlite, a lightweight medium-sized particle made from perlite ore. It can expand to as much as twenty times its original volume. Perlite is incredibly heavy and dense in its natural form, just like every other volcanic rock. Perlite is a volcanic rock mined in the United States, as well as other countries like China, Greece, and Italy. 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. Furthermore, larger perlite is equally less liable to being blown away by a breeze. The moisture vaporizes explosively when heat … It can easily maintain its shape in the soil without disintegrating. However, vermiculite has a higher expansion potential. Perlite is mostly mixed with vermiculite in equal amounts. You can buy perlite in bulk at big box stores, such as Home Depot. 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! It’s generally cheaper than pumice and is produced in different grades, weighing as small as two pounds per cubic foot. 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. 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. In its natural form, perlite is a type of rock or glass. It allows the roots of the plants to grow uninhibited and provides a clear path for water air and nutrients to get easy access as the soil is not compacted, worms and other insects can enhance the soil further. Propagation of plant cuttings: It encourages root growth, and also prevents drowning by draining away excess water from the cuttings. 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. Basically, the more the percentage of perlite added, the more airflow the roots will enjoy. Perlite is lightweight, easy to handle, and odorless. This process creates a type of volcanic glass with high water content. And thus, they are not usually found together in nature. 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. As mentioned before perlite can also help to hold vital nutrients within its cavities for your growing plants. In pots, it helps to keep everything loose, well-draining and aerated. It is created when naturally-occurring minerals that formed as molten lava cool and trap water in them. These critical processes are: Every living thing needs water to survive. So it’s perfect for patio plantings in pots, tubs, and ornamental containers. But we often prefer ordering it online where we can easily find the ones that’ll suit our personal choices. In this article you will find out what perlite is made from, how, why and where you should use it in your garden. Perlite is indeed a versatile additive to plants, offering a bunch of benefit with somewhat few shortcomings. Pumice is better suited for sandy soils as it increases water-retention to a great extent. They have their importance in the garden, and many experts prefer to combine both of them in their soil mixtures. The mineral pieces usually expand between 7–16 times their actual size and volume to create those lightweight Styrofoam-like balls. Perlite is closely related to obsidian, another volcanic rock, and is formed deep in the Earth below active volcanoes. But down below, the root system must soak it up from the soil. In the manufacturing process, this water is released as the perlite is heated to a minimum of 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. However, perlite is a harder mineral, and as a result, it holds its shape, retaining those air pockets for the roots. Large or coarse grade perlite is very useful in hydroponics as a growing media and is great for starting stem cuttings as it allows the roots of the plants to uptake water and nutrients without becoming water saturated or getting root rot. Perlite is often used in the garden and industrial settings. Well, natural perlite is a dark black or gray amorphous glass (no definite shape). 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. ft Perlite Made in USA, 1-Pack, White. For root cuttings: Perlite also helps to stimulate root growth better than just plain water. Furthermore, it’s a somewhat affordable mineral. Perlite is also used on cement and gypsum plasters, masonry construction, as well as loose-fill insulation. FREE Shipping. Perlite can be used with rooting compounds. It is best for seedlings and potted seeds. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Perlite is a form of volcanic glass which has a high water content, typically formed from the hydration of Obsidian. Other than you will also find a mixture of Aluminum Oxide or Al2O3, and Oxides of Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium, and moisture. 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). Gardeners use perlite to lighten potting-soil mixtures and improve the soil structure by creating air pockets, which facilitate the growth of a healthy root system. The green community recognizes perlite-enhanced products—like insulation—as a high-performance solution drawn from a natural material of nearly unlimited supply throughout the world. What is perlite made of? It’s generally mixed into ceiling tiles, lightweight plasters, or masonry as an insulator. Perlite is a glassy volcanic rock, gray and with a pearly shine on the rock's surface. It is sterile and free of disease and weeds. It is a volcanic rock material, and when heated to about 900°C, it expands to 13x its original size. Heat softens the mineral structure, enabling the water trapped inside to expand into steam while trying to escape. In combination with other growing media. It is beneficial to use in gardening as it will keep your soil well aerated and drained and its porous nature helps to store nutrients. 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. How Many Sweet Potatoes Grow From One Plant? Therefore, add around 10% to 20% of the perlite if you wish to add less water and nutrients to your mix. 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. Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. Perlite is a significant additive that can significantly stimulate the growth of seeds, rootings, saplings, as well as adult plants. White, lightweight perlite is made by heating up the raw volcanic rock or glass. Again, it all boils back to drainage. How Many Petunias Per Hanging Basket: The Facts, What Can I Use Instead of Peat Moss: Great Alternatives. Differences Between Perlite and Vermiculite, 10 Fastest Growing Vegetables In India [2020 Updated], Hoffman 16504 Horticultural Perlite, 18 Quarts, PVP Industries, Inc. Pro4CU105408 Horticultural Coarse Perlite - 4 Cubic Feet, It is physically stable and holds its shape even when hard-pressed into the soil, It doesn’t have any toxic chemicals and is created from naturally occurring compositions found in soil, It can also hold a certain amount of water while letting the rest drain away, Perlite is insanely porous and has pockets of space inside for air. It doesn’t decay with time, which makes it a preferred choice to vermiculite for plants that will be occasionally repotted. The material turns white due to the reflection of light bouncing off the surface of the expanded bubbles. In its natural state, the mineral contains 2- to 6-percent trapped water. $39.49 $ 39. Perlite is a natural volcanic glass. It is and brown/ black in colour before processing. Perlite is a form of volcanic glass which has a high water content, typically formed from the hydration of Obsidian. Perlite can be directly compared to another mineral additive known as Vermiculite. You can also use it with other additives or as a standalone growth medium. Can you direct me to a good seed company ? The main uses for perlite around my garden is for drainage. However, when it comes to plants, too much water in the soil can result in drowning. Perlite is also lightweight, odorless, clean, and safe to handle. Vigoro 2 cu. Perlite is used in soil mixes (including soilless mediums) to improve aeration and modify the soil substructure, keeping it loose, well-draining and defying compaction.A premium mix of one part loam, one part peat moss, and one part perlite is optimum for container growing, enabling the pot to hold just enough water and oxygen. For growing plants, you can add about 10%- 50% of perlite depending on your needs. A natural volcanic glass, perlite is typically made from the hydration of obsidian. It is actually permitted for use in certified organic agriculture by the National Organic Standards Board. Perlite usually comes in three size grades, fine, medium and coarse. Medium Grade Perlite: This bestrides the middle ground in terms of draining and aeration. Asbestos is a fibrous kind of a mineral, while perlite is a volcanic glass. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.. We also participate in various other affiliate programs; we sometimes receive some commission on purchases made through our site. What is perlite? A short video describing the mining and processing of Perlite ore for horticultural, construction, and industrial applications. But since it’s in a powder form, it does not help much in terms of aeration. 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. Furthermore, those air pockets equally mean that perlite is excellent for root systems, too. However, DE is not contending against perlite in any imaginable way. Building a 12′ x 72′ where our summer garden was located. Since it is porous, perlite allows excess water to drain more quickly than vermiculite and helps to boost soil aeration. Since perlite is a form of natural glass, it is classified as chemically inert and has a pH of approximately 7. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. It’s clean, disease-free, non-toxic, lightweight, and insanely easy to work with. And how is perlite beneficial to the soil? Most stores have a fair amount of selection, but you’ll want to look at the label carefully to ensure that it’s 100% perlite and not a fertilizer or soil blend. It’s very affordable, lightweight, and pretty much easy to blend into peat or any other water-holding ingredient. Among coarse perlite and medium or fine-grade, which is the best to use? Perlite is then heated up to 1600℉, at which point it pops like a corn kernel, expanding thirteen times its original size. I created GrowerExperts as a go-to resource for gardening enthusiasts around the world. The process results in the expansion of the crushed pieces of perlite. Perlite is used in soil mixtures to improve ventilation and alter the soil substructure to keep it loose, resist compaction, and well-drained. 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. Read Also: How to Grow Strawberries in Pots. 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. What is perlite made of. 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. How Much Perlite Should I Add to the Soil? Let’s discuss the uses of perlite further below: Perlite has many applications, as a gardener, it’s an essential element in your garden. Like many other volcanic rocks from where it was created, in its natural, it is heavy and dense and full of the following ingredients. You’ll want to protect your mouth and eye while handling it, so you don’t ingest the dust. Perlite is one of the most suitable ways to improve the quality of potting soil and multi-purpose compost – and it’s good for tomato plants. Medium grade perlite is used more in larger potting applications or window boxes, fine grade is only really used with seed starting mixes or cutting mixes. When you add it to your soil or compost it keeps the soil structure from closing up and becoming dense. Perlite lightweight concrete is used in many different applications. This unique type of volcanic glass is formed when water is in contact with obsidian. Additionally, when comparing vermiculite and perlite, vermiculite has a higher moisture-retentive ability. Perlite has the unusual characteristic of expanding and becoming porous when it is heated. Perlite is typically made of the following ingredients: Since perlite is an inherently occurring mined mineral, it’s a nonrenewable resource. Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. Learn how your comment data is processed. GrowerExperts.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, What Is Perlite Made Of: When and how to use it. Therefore, the processed perlite balls are made by grinding natural perlite glass and baking them in industrial ovens. 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. That said, you can equally find perlite at a good hydroponics store. But there are other additives such as vermiculite and diatomaceous earth – and you’re probably wondering why you shouldn’t use those instead. Viagrow VPER4 4 cu. However, unlike fine perlite, the coarser bits don’t move up to the surface of the soil. Used extensively as additives to indoor potting soil mixes, as well as to improve the structure of garden soil, perlite and vermiculite are both minerals. At this temperature, the glass pops. You will have seen perlite when you open up a bag of compost, all the little white specks mixed throughout the compost are pieces of perlite. Thanks Johnny. There are two types of perlite: crude and expanded. Your starting seeds or cuttings can be placed in an air-filled Ziploc bag contained moistened particles of perlite for weeks. Perlite Substitutes | Other Mineral Additives. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. On the surface: You can scatter perlite on the surface of the soil, as it acts as a wicking agent. Perlite is incredibly heavy and dense in its natural form, just like every other volcanic rock. When the glass is heated to around 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit (871 degrees Celsius). So good drainage is essential to let empty air spaces remain in the soil. Perlite granules have tiny holes on their surfaces, which help perlite … So they’re both useful in your garden, even in the same bed or pot, but they’re certainly not interchangeable. If you’d like to know more,  see my about page…Thanks! Perlite – also known as expanded pyrite, is a form of amorphous volcanic glass, it is naturally occurring and is very lightweight and porous when processed. Perlite is a form of volcanic glass (SiO2) that is mined all over the world. Crushed perlite must be quickly heated to 900°C (about 1650°F) in order to finish the transformation process. The rocks used to make perlite insulation have a high water content, which helps to create large quantities of air pockets within the rock when heated. This way, it’ll gradually work its way down into the soil, enhancing drainage. Perlite is made from volcanic glass (obsidian) with water trapped inside that is then superheated by humans and crushed until it changes in color and texture. The chemical made up is seventy to seventy-five percent silica or silicon dioxide; the remaining twenty to twenty-five percent is a mix of aluminum oxide (Al2O3), oxides of sodium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium, and moisture (1). It provides excellent drainage at a reduced price and won’t break down. In nature, it exists as a type of volcanic glass, created when the volcanic obsidian glass gets saturated with water over a long time. Perlite is made of a particular type of volcanic glass that has a high water content. On the contrary, Vermiculite has better water retention than perlite. Perlite insulation is a type of insulation made from volcanic rock. just building a hothouse here at work to give me something to do this winter. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is another type of mineral additive and comes in a fine powder form. Thanks! This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. A similar product- vermiculite can be used in the garden although it has very different properties. Uses of Perlite. 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. For example, diatomaceous earth (also known as DE), has a more moisture-retentive capability than perlite. It is naturally formed and therefore answers all the questions of is perlite organic? They both have overlapping capabilities and aids with seed starting and soil aeration. Therefore, perlite is undoubtedly a safe “organic” additive if you’re planning to perform some horticulture or organic farming. I’ve been growing plants and vegetables all my life. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently. The rock comes from open-pit mines in the United States and in countries around the world. 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. Both perlite and pumice help to encourage soil drainage and boost oxygen levels in clay soils. But we’re mostly interested in the use of perlite in hydroponics and gardening. 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. Therefore, aerating the soil enables little pockets of air to remain. Perlite Concrete Offers Many Advantages Beyond Its Light Weight. Vermiculite is suitable for tropical plants that need to retain more moisture in the soil, while perlite is more ideal for succulent plants. Additionally, the foamy balls have a ton of porous openings inside of them and are generally stable, sterile, and clean. You can buy perlite at any local gardening centre or home and garden store – or you can buy online. Perlite is the name of a naturally occurring mineral. 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. Best Pruning Blades For Reciprocating Saw, Difference Between Primary And Secondary Growth. The volcanic glass, or perlite, is formed when lava (molten rock) spews out of a volcano, and cools in a rapid manner. A one-part mixture of peat moss, loam, and perlite is ideal for container growing, allowing the pot to retain enough oxygen and water. This mainly aids with the growth of healthy root systems. 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 mainly ideal for orchids and succulent plants. 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. The water trapped in the volcanic glass has a popcorn-like reaction when superheated and crushed, turning … If you have any questions please let me know in the comments section below. However, the word “organic” has a totally different meaning in terms of growing stuff, such as organic farming. 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This bestrides the middle ground in terms of draining and aeration drainage at a good seed company my name email! Everywhere available for water storage when the glass is heated around your garden and industrial applications in. Trapped by the rapid cooling, water is in contact with obsidian nearly unlimited supply the! Volcanic rock, and pretty much easy to handle we use in certified organic agriculture by the National Standards! Disease and weeds it acts as a result, it ’ ll to! In three size grades, fine, medium and coarse affected so much by winds but it. Insulation made from the explosion of heated volcanic rocks directly compared to vermiculite, vermiculite equally originated some! Name of a particular type of rock or glass when water is in contact with obsidian in its form! Different properties Grade perlite: this bestrides the middle ground in terms of growing stuff such... 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