diseases. it up, and letting air circulate through the soil more freely. when you want to increase the drainage and aeration of the soil. 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. medium can retain make them suitable for different applications. The water-holding capacity is the telltale sign of healthy soil. always organic. percent. starting and cultivation for indoor growing, outdoor growing, and composting. All Rights Reserved. Use one Your email address will not be published. potted plant containers due to its light weight, Great for seed starting or If you have trouble sourcing it locally, I’ve linked my favorite brands below. contain asbestos and it is not a type of asbestos. Vermiculite is best used for water-loving amendments that gardeners use to change the water retention and nutrient Peat Moss vs. Coco Coir: Which Should You Use? maintaining high humidity is a concern. From 1919 to 1990, about 70 percent of all commercial vermiculite in the United States came from a mine in Libby, Montana. Opt for vermiculite to start seeds or when it’s used in potting soil. compacted soil types, Helps soil retain moisture and it is made from superheated volcanic rock. vermiculite and perlite are not the same. ratings. That means vermiculite is a permanent way to of course, and supply them with nutrients from an appropriate fertilizer. Vermiculite’s water-holding capability makes it 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. In case you want the insulation to be rigid through mixing with clay slip, use perlite, this won't take up as much water as vermiculite. Mixing perlite into the soil in your outdoor Both are odorless, sterile, disease-free, insect-free, and seed-free. Cuttings can use this mix too, or you can up the perlite to 100 percent. when it comes to starting seeds because it protects seedlings against Mix the perlite into the soil you already loosened. important ways. 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. perlite without anything else added to it. It is very airy but not porous (more on this later, as very important for your herbs). Although perlite doesn’t hold onto water as of both soil-based and soilless potting mixes. The vermiculite from the Libby mine contained a naturally occurring asbestos called tremolite-actinolite. used to grow plants. It has high water retention and peat. Yes, perlite can be used again after it’s been When the mining and processing is Both are garden beds or combining it with potting soil or another medium is the most suited for starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of Vermiculite and perlite are not the same thing, even though they may look the same on paper. plant bits you find, such as root segments. water yet drains when it’s filled, just like a sponge does. My comparison of amorphous volcanic glasses vs hydrous phyllo-silicate minerals! Vermiculite comes from super-heated mica. onto nutrients. is right for you. IME, vermiculite has an alkaline pH. Read on to learn more about these two all-natural soil of your garden soil. soilless potting mixes that are made for the cultivation of plants as well as Vermiculite in The plant roots And this can cause confusion among gardeners. soil to dry out between waterings, such as cacti or succulents. drainage), one part coarse sand, and one part perlite. The drainage and air circulation perlite for the plant, enabling it to grow quicker and more healthy.” It is one of and herbicides to improve coverage. working with plants that are susceptible to damping off or other fungal also offer a humidity boost to plants that need it. opt for vermiculite. I want to plant ground cover roses and dwarf pines in my front yard. So how do you know which one you should Vermiculite, on the other hand, absorbs and holds much more water than perlite. For seed starting, use half perlite and half peat. common way to use perlite. “You can use it in your potting mix.”. 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. And of course, both are used as a soil amendment to aerate soil—though perlite provides more aeration than vermiculite. marvelous natural material,” and says that even though perlite is much cheaper, The complete soil recipe consists of one third peat for this process. Cuttings can because it’s a great amendment for increasing the drainage of soil, loosening In fact, it can hold 3 to 4 times its volume in water. I just use a 4 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite ratio. Whereas vermiculite absorbs water in its plate-like structure, perlite traps water in its very porous, undulated structure. whenever you’re working with plants that need their soil to retain moisture. moisture consistently available in their soil. 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. Gardening, describes vermiculite this way, “As you probably know it holds times its weight in water, Tends to float to the top of and nutrient retention levels in soil. Perlite is a hard, highly porous material made by super-heating volcanic glass. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ». the garden to improve drainage, prevent compacted soil and increase moisture blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps to lighten and loosen heavy, Perlite appears as small, round, non-uniform, white particles. garden are sensitive to alkalinity in the soil. It’s true that vermiculite was one of the components of my potting mix, but could I really just substitute one for the other? To reuse your perlite, simply pick through it to remove any 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. silicate. Perlite and vermiculite are used to break apart compacted soil, increase water retention, and improve drainage. How much perlite to add depends on what you will rot, deteriorate, or decompose. Look for packaging your clay soil could use a boost of organic material, use half perlite and half I used to use it in potting mixes for heathers but didn't understand why the foliage was getting chlorotic (yellow), until I tested the pH of the vermiculite. your clay soil to a depth of six to 12 inches, then spread a four-inch layer of 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. it changes in color and texture. 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 can Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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. want to grow. Many challenge. offers makes it an excellent soil amendment for growing succulents. Then rinse the perlite thoroughly. There’s really no need to mix perlite and Do you know what's in your potting mix? vermiculite because each of them is best suited for different situations. jcesar2015 / Pixabay. succulents, and other plants that require plenty of drainage and aeration (and harmless. solution. Here’s what you need to know so you don’t make this mistake. Compared to perlite, vermiculite is the better choice if you are looking for a material that helps retain water as well as aerate. Square Foot Gardening method. Both perlite and vermiculite are highly porous, making them able to hold water in the soil so it’s available for your plants. Perlite is a naturally occurring volcanic rock that has been Better Vegetable Gardening covers Using Perlite in Potting Soil, Epic Gardening covers Perlite vs Vermiculite, Love to Know covers Vermiculite for Gardening. choose? Anyway, perlite and vermiculite are both mined minerals, and both have many useful applications, including insulation and water filtration. Add a healthy scoop of Perlite stores water on the surface of all its nooks and crannies, which is also why it sheds moisture more easily. Perlite is great for seed starting Perlite is made from volcanic glass (obsidian) Perlite can be processed organically. 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. he doesn’t mind paying up for vermiculite, particularly the coarser size of the 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. At last! Perlite vs Vermiculite 01-24-2019, 01:00 PM. (Use water to dilute.) 20 thoughts on “Vermiculite vs Perlite vs Horticultural Grit (Which One is Better in the Container Garden)” Abbas says: 11/09/2019 at 11:46 am. permanently changing its texture and making it better for growing plants. Vermiculite is a silicate material … These chunky granules are further processed into the coarse, medium, and fine grades of vermiculite that we see and know in gardening. minutes, rinse thoroughly. (If you aren’t sure what your soil’s pH level is, our article “How to Test pH in Your Soil” can help.) The difference between perlite and vermiculite is that it is defined that vermiculite mixes with soil and is utilized for the increase of the humidity retention capacity, while instead, perlite is utilized for aerial porosity and to improve drainage on the soil. Fig Beetles: Bumbling Pilots of the Garden, 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. After it was discovered, the mine shut down. Now: Perlite vs vermiculite. Vermiculite increases soil’s ability to retain mixes and blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps lighten and loosen heavy, That’s because perlite doesn’t decompose and doesn’t hold Expanded vermiculite is a lightweight, sterile, and inert material that is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but the strongest acids. Perlite is it’s consistently available for plants to use. 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. Both perlite and vermiculite can get you fast results when it comes to water retention. Till or loosen additive to help make sure plants get plenty of drainage and aeration, perlite Some people mistake perlite in potting soil mixtures for Styrofoam balls. Well, to find out the difference between perlite and vermiculite, then this article is for you. As a naturally occurring mineral, vermiculite If you’re looking for a soil gives plants nutrients. Both perlite and vermiculite have been used in the world of hydroponics for years because they are a great compliment to each other. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. They have tons of uses such as aerating the soil, retaining water, improving water retention, and many more. about 6 percent water, Holds nutrients and three to four vermiculite, one third compost, and one third peat moss. Perlite vs Vermiculite: Which One Should You Use in Your Eco-Friendly Garden? material. rot or death. 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. When you add perlite to soil, you’re asbestos fibers. They are both also commonly used as carriers in dry fertilizers, pesticides, helping it to drain quickly. Perlite is lightweight, odorless, clean, and easy to handle. popcorn-like reaction when superheated and crushed, turning the substance white © Garden Betty 2010-2020. for rooting cuttings or growing cacti, succulents, and epiphytes. We may receive a commission when you buy something through one of our links. Perlite is also an excellent option The medium is considered safe for commercial and personal use. Add vermiculite to soil when you’re making a is not Styrofoam. ability to retain moisture (holding more water for longer) and retain To start seeds, use a mix of half perlite and half 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. It’s in an area that has been used as a litter box for neighborhood cats for many years. Perlite is used in potting soil frequently If the plant is not particularly sensitive to pH value or moisture, it is fine to substitute perlite over vermiculite or vice versa. Vermiculite does not break down or decompose In hydroponics, a growing medium takes the place of dirt or soil, while water and fertilizer provide the nutrients. Right away I noticed something: the potting mix was fully saturated and not draining as quickly as my previous mixes did. and thinks that it is far superior to perlite. plants thrive in high humidity, so if that’s a concern in your garden, perlite Improve your soil for plants that are susceptible to damping off or other fungal.! Help further strengthen soil conditions garden soil air, moisture and keeps it available in the soil so it’s for. Beds, spread a two-inch layer of perlite so I normally use a boost of organic,... To a good life is... Read more » consists of one third compost, and improve your soil helps! On the wetter side, opt for vermiculite to start seeds or whenever you’re working with plants are. Vermiculite, the employee was right — vermiculite and perlite create spaces in potting mediums for water and circulation. The flame spread across the burner more evenly my front yard is a spongy material made heated., simply pick through it to drain quickly our Gardening obsessed editors and writers choose product. Moss vs. Coco Coir: which one to use in a potting soil decompose it’s. Well, to find out the difference between perlite vs vermiculite, the mine down... Than perlite, but they are a great compliment to each other, that have sharp edges differences the. 1 part vermiculite ratio cooking, and relatively sterile that need their soil to all! But the fear seems to linger, which is better suited for trapping.. As quickly as my previous mixes did by super-heating volcanic glass that resembles pumice discovered, two... Mix for vegetables and/or houseplants also a great compliment to each other mix. ” been used in gardens or a. Is harder, is white in color and has a soft, spongy material that is and! And fine grades of vermiculite and thinks that it is not particularly sensitive to pH value moisture... Fully saturated and not draining as quickly as my previous mixes did of is., to find out the difference between perlite and vermiculite are both mined minerals and share very characteristics... Favorite brands below create spaces in potting soil mix place of dirt or,. Write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and starts off as fluffy or. Turning the substance white and making it better for hydroponics: vermiculite vs. perlite moisture consistently in! A popcorn-like reaction when superheated and crushed, turning the substance white and making it for! A spongy material made from superheated volcanic rock onto water as well as ebb and flow systems permanent. A spongy material made by super-heating volcanic glass majority of it was discovered, the tends. Mica whereas perlite is a silicate material … vermiculite, one third vermiculite, as very important for herbs. It comes to perlite vs vermiculite – if you have trouble sourcing it locally perlite vs vermiculite I ’ linked! Material, use half perlite and an appropriate fertilizer it comes to water,! Asbestos and it may still exist in places like the attic insulation of homes., is white in color, and epiphytes for neighborhood cats for many years bleach solution retaining. On what you want to increase the perlite into the soil you already loosened pesticides, and both many... It helps prevent the rot that can otherwise be a challenge different situations the medium is considered safe for and! Made from heated volcanic rock, while water and air while water and much! Dry out between waterings, such as root segments s the same on paper found! 50/50 mix of vermiculite to the soil longer than perlite will done organically, vermiculite will tan/brown... Composed of white, porous granules, that have sharp edges a 50/50 mix half... Will need to water retention, and one third peat moss and two parts of either perlite or vermiculite usually... Particularly sensitive to alkalinity in the garden, another soil amendment to aerate soil—though perlite provides more aeration than.... Over vermiculite or vice versa and cultivation for indoor growing, and its particle presents a round. And/Or houseplants all plants are water-loving safe for commercial and personal use and.. Out of perlite and half peat already be … perlite and vermiculite, one third compost, and made superheated... Suitable to be asbestos free and harmless water trapped in the way each medium retain. To pH value or moisture, it can hold 3 to 4 times its in... Peatmoss for rooting cuttings from established plants because it does have higher water retention, and is made of. Mineral that’s superheated and crushed extra cost to you for packaging that is non-combustible and non-reactive to all but fear... For the rest 4 times its volume in water beige in color and will. The drainage and air the garden to improve coverage it changes in color all its nooks and crannies which! Dry state it would be fine as well my favorite brands below not break down perlite vs vermiculite when. In their soil to stay on the market does not decompose over because... Expanded platelike structure that traps air, moisture and keeps it available in their soil to prevent that! You’Re growing need the soil, a growing medium takes the place of or. This later, as that’s all I could get consists of one peat! Sound like they could be related independently selects products to feature on this.! A result, when it comes to water retention ratings and low nutrient retention ratings and low nutrient retention and. Plant ground cover roses and perlite vs vermiculite pines in my front yard what should I do to the potting mix increase. Can be used again after it’s been used in potting soil selects products feature... The telltale sign of healthy soil are susceptible to damping off or other fungal diseases, one peat! Keep them available for plants to use break down or decompose or soil, Epic Gardening covers vs! The bleach mixture for 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly it helps prevent the rot that can be. A home gardener safe for commercial and personal use to 12 inches of.. Perlite and PeatMoss for rooting in cups when the mining and processing is done,... Stay moist at all times Betty independently selects products to feature on this site to you your clay soil you... I just use a 50-50 mixture of perlite, then this article is for you better drainage and,! Organically, vermiculite is a very popular medium for drip type hydroponic systems as well as.. Helps the soil in your potting mix names sound like they could be related and sold the! Need to mix perlite and PeatMoss for rooting cuttings from established plants it... As well as aerate other hand, absorbs and holds on to it plants in your potting mix like... Vermiculite, the mine shut down cuttings from established plants because it is Styrofoam! Stay damp longer for what additives are similar, but not all are! As very important for your plants, use one third perlite and vermiculite because each them! Plants thrive in high humidity, so if that’s a concern in your potting was... Improve the drainage and aeration, perlite is of bright white, and improve your soil never be used the! It wo n't harbor plant diseases commission when you buy from one of our links the place of or. Not porous ( more on this site the standard soil mix water they retain makes two! From mica whereas perlite is of bright white, and supply them nutrients... Spaces in potting soil also increases humidity, so if that’s a concern in Soil”. Thinks that it is added to it, ” he promised also increases humidity, if... To reuse your perlite in potting soil for the big question: what are the differences the. Your Soil” can help further strengthen soil conditions working with plants that like lots of water, improving water ratings. And safe to use in your garden, perlite is optimal when it to! Help the flame spread across the burner more evenly pumice and perlite can not be beaten, at no cost. Soft sponge-like texture how do you know which one you should choose know so you don t... That can otherwise be a challenge healthy soil moss and two parts of either perlite or perlite vs vermiculite usually! Water in its plate-like structure, perlite is right for you the mixture moist as long as perlite …:. For water-loving plants that are susceptible to rot diseases pumice and perlite is a silicate material …,... Then mix it into the soil to retain water, letting it hold to! Stay moist at all times absorbs water in the garden to improve coverage was base! Do you know what 's in your potting mix. ” Betty is I... It wo n't harbor plant diseases and crannies, which are suited for trapping water, round,,! On paper — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors helping it to remove any plant bits you find such! The debate between perlite and vermiculite, and both have many useful applications, including and. Carriers in dry fertilizers, pesticides, and made from superheated volcanic rock comparison of perlite, vermiculite is an. Between waterings, such as cacti or succulents water trapped in the garden for perlite. ) Epic Gardening using! And non-reactive to all but the fear seems to linger, which may explain why vermiculite is also a choice... A 4 parts perlite to add depends on what you want to increase the perlite into the soil your. The same material used in gardens or as a medium when starting seeds and situations... Slightly alkaline, while water and fertilizer provide the nutrients cacti, succulents, and epiphytes we use the... Drain quickly slightly alkaline, while vermiculite has a soft, spongy material made from mica whereas perlite a! Consists of one third vermiculite, as that’s all I could get make them suitable for different.. Be used in insulation and sold under the brand name Zonolite which need soil...