What is perlite?
Perlite, while not necessarily a growing medium on its own, is an essential mineral mixed with many potting soils. It is the small white particles you see in most potting soils, and many are unaware of exactly why we use it in the garden.
Why is perlite in potting soil?
While perlite is not renewable, it is easily reusable! It does not absorb nutrients like other soils such as rockwool or clay pebbles, and thus you can sterilize old perlite and reintroduce it into a fresh grow medium.
Using perlite in a potting soil greatly increases the plants ability to absorb water and oxygen. Perlite also functions well in hydroponic systems. Its ability to reduce compaction in the grow medium protects the roots and helps with preventing nutrient lockouts, by allowing nutrients and water to drain out of the system.
What is a substitute for perlite?
If you are looking for an alternative to perlite, consider vermiculite. This compound is very similar to perlite, but retains water better and for longer. It aerates as well as perlite, and is a great seed-starter medium.
Visit our learning center and check out our full breakdown of every grow media available to determine which one is right for you! If you have any questions, reach out to our experienced growing staff at 888-815-9763 and let us help you through the process!