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Perlite

The Value of Perlite

Almost every gardener is undoubtedly aware of and has used perlite in some form or another. Perlite is the tiny white pearls that is found in every potting or plant starting mix.  

Perlite occurs naturally as an amorphous volcanic glass and has a high-water content and readily swells as it is heated.  

In hydroponic growing it is sometimes used as a porous plant anchoring material and as an excellent plant starter.  Perlite is valuable for horticultural use because of its high permeability and low water retention.  This property helps prevent soil compaction and keeps soil loose and great for speeding root growth.

Perlite is probably best known for its water drainage properties which makes it a great additive for soil and potting mixes.  It is also excellent for soil aeration and is used for almost every potted plant.

Because of all the diverse uses perlite is one of the few compounds utilized in every form of horticulture from retail florists to commercial perennial greenhouses.

Perlite is excellent for filtration and is often used as an alternative to diatomaceous earth.  The only drawback to perlite, however, is that it is not a renewable resource and whatever is here is all there will probably ever be.

As a wrap-up here are the uses of perlite to the gardener.

  • Soil mix
  • Hydroponic planting medium
  • Seed and cutting starter
  • Soil amendment

Because of all the horticultural uses of perlite the chances are good that you have already used perlite and will further utilize it in the future.

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