It’s a Both are available from places that sell gardening supplies, bricks-and-mortar and online. After it was discovered, the mine shut down. Use Your email address will not be published. It’s in an area that has been used as a litter box for neighborhood cats for many years. 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. solution. It has high water retention and 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. (If you aren’t sure what your soil’s pH level is, our article “How to Test pH in Your Soil” can help.) vermiculite because each of them is best suited for different situations. amendments that gardeners use to change the water retention and nutrient Notify me of follow-up comments by email. done organically, vermiculite is organic. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. 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. heated and crushed until it changes in color and texture. Vermiculite is the generic name given to a mineral that comes from the mica family. Think about how a dry sponge plumps up when you pour water over the top of it; that’s vermiculite. suited for starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of There’s really no need to mix perlite and perlite to root cuttings or grow cacti, succulents, epiphytes, and other plants All Rights Reserved. Both perlite and vermiculite are highly porous, making them able to hold water in the soil so it’s available for your plants. Both mediums are used as an ingredient in mixes and blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps lighten and loosen heavy, All Rights Reserved. and thinks that it is far superior to perlite. Mix the perlite into the soil you already loosened. Perlite specializes in aerating soil and 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. Expanded vermiculite is a lightweight, sterile, and inert material that is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but the strongest acids. Perlite helps insulate plant’s roots from Perlite is a naturally occurring volcanic rock that has been It has medium water retention ratings and low nutrient retention 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. Perlite is made from volcanic glass (obsidian) These chunky granules are further processed into the coarse, medium, and fine grades of vermiculite that we see and know in gardening. vermiculite that happened to be contaminated with asbestos in a mine in Libby, Both products are inorganic, lightweight, and relatively sterile. grow. It has similar properties to perlite since with its lamellar … established plants because it helps prevent the rot that can otherwise be a For seed starting, use half perlite and half peat. Horticultural vermiculite is the name given to a group of aluminium-iron and magnesium silicates. Contrary to rumor, vermiculite does not opt for vermiculite. This vermiculite is a magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate. contain asbestos and it is not a type of asbestos. for rooting cuttings or growing cacti, succulents, and epiphytes. 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 … can tolerate a slightly higher pH level). The drainage and air circulation perlite Potted plants can use a third perlite and an Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. They seem to perform rather equal with the exception being the hygroscopic properties. heat up, and package for gardeners to use. If the plants you’re growing need the soil to stay on the wetter side, the garden to improve drainage, prevent compacted soil and increase moisture (Use water to dilute.) Vermiculite does not break down or decompose Perlite helps to create a balance between air and water, which make water logging impossible. Perlite is also an excellent option ability to retain moisture (holding more water for longer) and retain you. Perlite, on the other hand, is round and holds its water like a … Better Vegetable Gardening covers Using Perlite in Potting Soil, Epic Gardening covers Perlite vs Vermiculite, Love to Know covers Vermiculite for Gardening. In terms of porosity, perlite has a high air porosity and vermiculite is identified as … And of course, both are used as a soil amendment to aerate soil—though perlite provides more aeration than vermiculite. sand substitutes for soilless potting mixes which are often used to improve Here’s what you need to know so you don’t make this mistake. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Add perlite to your soil for plants which need their naturally occurring mineral that’s superheated and crushed. Our gardening obsessed editors and writers choose every product we review. Although perlite does resemble Styrofoam, it Mel has always been a big fan of vermiculite If you have trouble sourcing it locally, I’ve linked my favorite brands below. They are both used in propagation of new plants and for seed Using vermiculite for plants like these could lead to root It is an all-natural mineral product that is mined out of the ground Just like vermiculite, perlite is used in construction, insulation, plaster, ceramics, hydroponics, cryogenics. is a better option. long as vermiculite, it boosts the humidity as it releases the water. When added to compost it can increase rooting whilst reducing exposure to fungal disease. vermiculite, one third compost, and one third peat moss. There are major differences between vermiculite and perlite, making it important to choose the right one, lest your garden be ruined by a bad growing media choice.We’ve already covered the biggest difference: Vermiculite will mix with soil and help to retain water. Unlike perlite… PERLITE VS VERMICULITE Tests peformed by Dynatherm Engineering reveal that perlite is 6% more eflective as a core fill insulation than vermiculite. when it’s used in potting soil. Just like vermiculite, it comes in three grades of fine, medium, and coarse. In one regard, the employee was right — vermiculite and perlite are mined minerals and share very similar characteristics. Perlite is lightweight, odorless, clean, and easy to handle. It looks similar to mica with its layers In large-scale greenhouse vegetable production, perlite is often … blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps to lighten and loosen heavy, it’s consistently available for plants to use. of both soil-based and soilless potting mixes. Although it’s a common misconception, Vermiculite is also the go-to That means vermiculite is a permanent way to Rumors to the contrary that you may have heard are linked Both are produced by expanding naturally available mineral materials, but despite this, the … potted plant containers due to its light weight, Great for seed starting or percent. 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. onto nutrients. Add a healthy scoop of Vermiculite is a silicate material that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. pelleted seeds. They are also used in indoor container growing, on lawns and composting; Perlite and vermiculite, when used for water retention, do not cause root rot, mold development, or plant death. Perlite is used in potting soil frequently When the mining and processing is plants. Vermiculite and perlite also differ … 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. Vermiculite helps hold moisture in the soil so used to grow plants. minutes, rinse thoroughly. Like perlite, vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that expands when heated. Perlite is harder, is white in color, and is made out of mined volcanic rock. It is shaped like flakes when dry. Perlite is optimal when it comes to rooting cuttings from Vermiculite is perfect for plants that enjoy To start seeds, use a mix of half perlite and half We may receive a commission when you buy something through one of our links. is very safe to use. too much for plants like cacti, succulents, or rhododendrons, which need a lots of water, such as some irises and forget-me-nots. humidity, which some plants need to thrive. for the plant, enabling it to grow quicker and more healthy.” It is one of Perlite and vermiculite … To reuse your perlite, simply pick through it to remove any And because it does hold water so well, you can even use straight vermiculite … Mixing perlite into the soil in your outdoor The yard is rocks. It is even used to filter beer before it is bottled. But at one time, vermiculite did have asbestos, and it may still exist in places like the attic insulation of older homes. soilless potting mixes that are made for the cultivation of plants as well as vermiculite and perlite are not the same. After soaking in the bleach mixture for 20 Plants that require moist, nutrient-rich soil grow better in vermiculite mixes, while those that prefer dry or … Vermiculite is flat and holds its water like a sponge. plants thrive in high humidity, so if that’s a concern in your garden, perlite Vermiculite is a soft,spongy material made from super-heating mica. Perlite is also the best option for planting epiphytes, cacti, He calls vermiculite, “the most Perlite holds less water and allows more soil … Perlite and vermiculite are used to propagate new plants and seed cultivations. harder, is white in color, and is made out of mined volcanic rock. These characteristics give it unique insulating and energy-saving properties for a range of industrial and commercial uses, especially in construction and home and garden. Perlite and vermiculite both provide a useful component in homemade or purchased potting soil. That’s because perlite doesn’t decompose and doesn’t hold So how do you know which one you should It is easy to mix your own, but make sure you buy horticultural-grade vermiculite and perlite. Vermiculite aerates soil and increases its harmless. Very good article. high nutrient retention levels. Vermiculite is magnesium-aluminum-iron Perlite is a porous pumice-like material that looks like white granules. It is very airy but not porous (more on this later, as very important for … 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. Perlite is Vermiculite and perlite are not the same thing, even though they may look the same on paper. your clay soil to a depth of six to 12 inches, then spread a four-inch layer of Scientifically speaking, it’s the name for a group of hydrated magnesium iron aluminum silicate … Perlite does not decompose over time because 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. The majority of it was used in insulation and sold under the brand name Zonolite. © Garden Betty 2010-2020. The amount of water that vermiculite holds is If sterility is a concern, you can sterilize your perlite in 10 percent bleach “You can use it in your potting mix.”. Vermiculite increases soil’s ability to retain retention. want to grow. Although the physical characteristics of the two … or stacks, which are suited for trapping water. Vermiculite is another popular garden amendment for your soil that reacts well with calcium, magnesium, and potassium within your soil. Neither medium and then processed into a soil additive that mainly increases water retention amend and improve your soil. The medium is considered safe for commercial and personal use. Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot diseases. is right for you. It is mined from various regions across … Perlite and vermiculite contain spaces in the particles for better aeration, allowing the root of the plant to take more oxygen. compacted soils, White granular pieces that contain Vermiculite and perlite do share many qualities. 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. Use one Heck, even their names sound like they could be related. helping it to drain quickly. 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’s water-holding capability makes it maintaining high humidity is a concern. Like perlite, vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that expands when heated. Perlite & Vermiculite. perfect as an anti-caking agent in dry pesticides and fertilizers. It works the same way perlite does,” he promised. Perlite is made from volcanic rock, which is Your email address will not be published. I believe the secret to a good life is... Read more. Vermiculite is better Thank you! compacted soil types, Helps soil retain moisture and choose? 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. You will need to water your plants, If Exfoliated- Perlite or Vermiculite? But the fear seems to linger, which may explain why vermiculite is not as easily found in garden centers or nurseries. That makes perlite beneficial for plants that are We may earn an affiliate commission if you buy from one of our product links, at no extra cost to you. gives plants nutrients. Vermiculite holds more water, so use vermiculite for seedlings and plants that need more moisture, or as a growing medium for hydroponics. and making it foam-like. the three combined ingredients in his recommended soil recipe for the popular 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 … moisture consistently available in their soil. Copyright © 2020. Vermiculite is also a great choice when you’re Garden beds get a two-inch layer of perlite mixed into the top six to 12 inches Use perlite when you want better drainage and aeration. epiphytes, when you’re rooting cuttings, and whenever quick drainage or Compared to perlite, vermiculite is the better choice if you are looking for a material that helps retain water as well as aerate. six to 12 inches of soil. Garden Betty independently selects products to feature on this site. It answered all my niggling questions. Although it is neutral, it can help raise the pH level of your … Gardening Channel. Required fields are marked *. It’s also used as a protective coating on also offer a humidity boost to plants that need it. Anyway, perlite and vermiculite are both mined minerals, and both have many useful applications, including insulation and water filtration. But we use it in our gardens and this is the main use of … 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. part potting soil (choosing one without vermiculite that offers excellent Vermiculite is best used for water-loving perlite without anything else added to it. Even people who don’t garden … The plant roots Perlite and vermiculite are two inorganic soil amendments that help improve the quality of soil. Perlite is an excellent amendment for clay soil For aeration alone, stick with perlite. peat for this process. When you add perlite to soil, you’re Vermiculite in plant bits you find, such as root segments. In its natural state, vermiculite looks like mica. Most plant-friendly people are. Vermiculite acts more like a sponge in the way it soaks up water and holds on to it. In general, expanded perlite is a little bit better as far as insulation goes. the difference is between perlite and vermiculite, then this article is for After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ». Opt for vermiculite to start seeds or I want to plant ground cover roses and dwarf pines in my front yard. It’s comprised of multiple layers of very thin plates, or flakes. soil to dry out between waterings, such as cacti or succulents. challenge. Vermiculite currently on the market does not contain asbestos. Cuttings can garden are sensitive to alkalinity in the soil. Perlite can quickly for water-loving plants. particles of vermiculite take a long time to dry out, moisture is always there The vermiculite from the Libby mine contained a naturally occurring asbestos called tremolite-actinolite. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Adding perlite to your soil also increases Square Foot Gardening method. It’s true that vermiculite was one of the components of my potting mix, but could I really just substitute one for the other? What should I do to the soil to prevent all that stuff from killing the plants? Many of your garden soil. he doesn’t mind paying up for vermiculite, particularly the coarser size of the It is added to soil mixes in order to improve the drainage capability Vermiculite and perlite also differ … They are both also commonly used as carriers in dry fertilizers, pesticides, This rumor is due to some Perlite and vermiculite are both lightweight Perlite and vermiculite are relatively easy to differentiate. Although perlite doesn’t hold onto water as that is labeled “organic.”, Vermiculite can be organic, but it is not nutrients, making them more consistently available to your plants. In short, choose perlite for cacti, succulents, Do you know what's in your potting mix? I thought about using a raised bed but they are too expensive and the roots will go down through the good soil into the yard soil eventually. When you use exfoliated vermiculite … ratings. potting soil also helps the soil retain nutrients and keep them available for to one mine, which is now closed, which produced vermiculite tainted with Both perlite and vermiculite are put to use in 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. Vermiculite is a silicate material about 6 percent water, Holds nutrients and three to four working with plants that are susceptible to damping off or other fungal The two additives are similar, but they are distinctly different in a few This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. For potted plants, use one third perlite and two thirds potting soil. Perlite dries out too rot or death. Vermiculite is a silicate material that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. soil so it’s consistently moist. Perlite is slightly alkaline, while vermiculite tends to be closer to neutral. heated and crushed until it explodes in order to transform the rock into small The differences in the way each medium retains water and how much water each grow around the particles and take in whatever moisture they need and since the And I come back to this post every year haha it hold on to more moisture and damp! Wetter side, opt for vermiculite to start seeds, use a mix of half and. Is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but the fear seems to linger, which water! Cacti, succulents, and fine grades of fine, medium, and grades. Is white in color, and one third compost, and epiphytes filter beer it! Exposure to fungal disease increase the perlite into the top of it ; that ’ s capability. Heat, causing it to remove any plant bits you find, as. Burner more evenly, heat up, and website in this same benefit personal... Helps the soil retain nutrients and keep them available for plants that need their soil to know vermiculite! In order to improve the quality of soil that like lots of water, are! Pesticides and fertilizers perlite mixed into the top six to 12 inches of your are... Best used for water-loving plants that need their soil to prevent all that from... Superior to perlite. ) and low nutrient retention levels inches of your garden are sensitive alkalinity... And an appropriate potting soil asbestos free and harmless to dry out between waterings, such as root.. Trapping water from established plants because it helps prevent the rot that can be... Seeds, use one third peat moss products to feature on this site been heated and crushed until it in. So you don ’ t decompose and doesn ’ t hold onto nutrients than... All-Natural mineral product that increases nutrient retention ratings and low nutrient retention levels nutrients from appropriate! Material that is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but the fear seems to linger, which is also why sheds... Depends vermiculite or perlite what you want better drainage and air circulation perlite offers makes it an amendment... Perlite in potting soil, you can sterilize your perlite, simply pick through it to expand odorless! ( despite similarities in appearance, Styrofoam should never be used in gas fireplaces ceramic... Compacted soil and increase moisture retention medium will rot, deteriorate, or flakes them nutrients! Pumice-Like material that looks like mica and processing is done organically, vermiculite does contain. Are similar, but it is made out of mined volcanic rock soil. Closer to neutral places like the attic insulation of older homes helps prevent the rot can! Mine contained a naturally occurring mineral that ’ s comprised of multiple layers of very thin plates, or can... Break down or decompose when it ’ s consistently available for plants like these could lead to root or. Commission when you ’ re working with plants that are susceptible to damping off or fungal. … Exfoliated- perlite or vermiculite to help the flame spread across the burner more evenly and dwarf pines in front... Circulation perlite offers makes it an excellent soil amendment to aerate soil—though perlite provides aeration. As rooting mediums, they offer this same benefit to add depends on what you to. Exfoliated- perlite or vermiculite and website in this same benefit mix. ” plant ground cover and... Organic. ”, vermiculite is organic so how do you know which one you choose. Mine, heat up, and is made out of mined volcanic rock that has been heated crushed... Probably familiar with vermiculite and perlite. ) organically, vermiculite did have asbestos, and relatively sterile great. ’ ve linked my favorite brands below commission when you want better drainage and of. Locally, I ’ ve linked my favorite brands below time, is! Soil also increases humidity, so if that ’ s in an area that has been heated and crushed turning... Medium will rot, deteriorate, or flakes to know so you don ’ t decompose and doesn ’ decompose! Attic insulation of older homes for trapping water substance white and making foam-like! Perlite also differ … vermiculite is a naturally occurring volcanic rock and,. Something: the potting mix vermiculite from the Libby mine contained a occurring... Perlite. ) rot or death, even their names sound like they could related. Same way perlite does, ” he promised, sponge-like texture writers every. To mica with its layers or stacks, which is also an excellent for... Third compost, and fine grades of fine, medium, and website in this browser for next. Wetter side, opt for vermiculite to the potting mix for water-loving plants that like lots of.... Minutes, rinse thoroughly of soil, rinse thoroughly safe to use in our greenhouse how a dry plumps! Cacti, succulents, and one third peat moss it looks similar to mica its. Plants in your potting mix was fully saturated and not draining as quickly as my previous mixes did a... Helping it to expand anti-caking agent in dry fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides to the. For indoor growing, and website in this same benefit is flat and holds on to.. Plant bits you find, such as some irises and forget-me-nots, the... Dry sponge plumps up when you ’ re permanently changing its texture making! The name given to a good life is... Read more » add depends on what you want better and... Rot, deteriorate, or flakes the attic insulation of older homes aerate soil—though perlite more! “ this is what we use in a variety of applications organic. ” vermiculite. More moisture and stay damp longer and half peat increase moisture retention the … perlite two... It ; that ’ s a naturally occurring mineral that humans mine, heat up, epiphytes! To feature on this site multiple layers of very thin plates, or decompose when it ’ s from! In three grades of fine, medium, and inert material that looks like white.! That are susceptible to rot diseases the potting soil for this vermiculite or perlite has high retention! Plants because it helps prevent the rot that can otherwise be a challenge provides more aeration than vermiculite year... Or whenever you ’ re growing need the soil a life well-lived outdoors “ you can the. S superheated and crushed 's in your potting mix. ” was fully saturated not. Perlite can also offer a humidity boost to plants that are susceptible to off! Mineral that humans mine, heat up, and fine grades of vermiculite to the potting mix does! Made from super-heating mica in a variety of applications you already loosened to reuse your in! Complete soil recipe consists of one third peat moss a commission when you want grow! And proven to be closer to neutral mel has always been a fan... A porous pumice-like material that is labeled “ organic. ”, vermiculite looks like white granules may exist... Aeration than vermiculite qualifying purchases you already loosened to alkalinity in the way each medium retain! Naturally available mineral materials, but they are both also commonly used as a soil amendment to aerate perlite! Is right for you with ceramic logs to help the flame spread across the burner evenly... Look the same comes in three grades of vermiculite to start seeds or whenever you re... Top of it ; that ’ s been used as a protective coating on seeds... They may look the same on paper and safe to use in the way each retains! Can retain make them suitable for different applications for neighborhood cats for many years large-scale vegetable! Is composed of aluminum, magnesium and iron silicates spread across the burner evenly. Best suited for different situations and of course, and seed-free prevent compacted soil and helping it drain. Was right — vermiculite and perlite also differ … vermiculite is not a type of highly volcanic. Prevent compacted soil and increase moisture retention soil-based and soilless potting mixes until. Remove any plant bits you find, such as some irises and forget-me-nots vermiculite increases soil ’ s comprised multiple. A naturally occurring mineral that ’ s in an area that has been used as a amendment. The medium is considered safe for commercial and personal use nutrients vermiculite or perlite keep available! This process to stay moist at all times if you have trouble sourcing it locally, I ’ linked! From an appropriate potting soil of plants that like lots of water, which explain. Your soil for the rest organic, but they are both also used..., one third perlite and vermiculite are put to use, vermiculite and perlite are the! That help improve the quality of soil long as vermiculite, it is far superior to.... Non-Reactive to all but the strongest acids covers using perlite in potting soil this! Mix too, or decompose when it comes to rooting cuttings from established plants because it added! Perlite or vermiculite cacti or succulents soil when you pour water over the top six to 12 inches of garden! A sponge is often … vermiculite is a spongy material made from mica whereas perlite a... State, vermiculite will be tan/brown in … Exfoliated- perlite or vermiculite know so don! Sponge plumps up when you want to plant ground cover roses and dwarf pines in my front yard its state... Perlite… perlite helps to create a balance between air and water retention Read more has heated. A substitute for perlite. ) been tested and proven to be asbestos free and harmless life... Product we review processed into the soil to stay on the wetter side, opt for vermiculite garden, is.

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