Perlite - 15L
What is Perlite?
Perlite is a naturally occurring mineral, and it exists in nature as a type of volcanic glass. When water saturates volcanic obsidian glass over time, perlite starts to form.
Humans settled on fertile volcanic lands since the third century BC, and we are aware of perlite, and the role it plays in agriculture.
Natural perlite shows up as grey or black amorphous glass. There is no structure of shape to it, unlike what you see in crystal formations. As with most volcanic rock, perlite is dense and weighty in its native format.
Excavated perlite typically contains the following ingredients.
- It consists of up to 75% silicon dioxide
- Aluminum oxide
- Potassium oxide
- Iron oxide
- Calcium oxide
- Magnesium oxide
- Sodium oxide
- Up to 5% Water
Perlite is a non-renewable resource since it’s a naturally occurring mineral. Around the world, there are hotbeds of perlite production, with the most extensive perlite operations being in the United States, Turkey, Greece, and Japan.
Perlite is an inexpensive material, and it has plenty of uses outside of gardening. Many companies use the mineral in the manufacturing of plaster, as well as masonry and ceiling tiles.
However, for this post, we’re going to focus on using perlite in gardening. For us to get the little white balls of perlite we see in our soil mix, we need to use a product that undergoes processing.
What are the Benefits of Gardening with Perlite?
There are plenty of reasons why you should add perlite to your soil mix. The unique chemical and physical properties of the material make it suitable for gardening.
- Perlite is stable and retains its shape in your soil mix
- Perlite has a neutral pH, which makes it ideal as a soil amendment
- Perlite contains no chemicals or nutrients
- Perlite is a highly porous material
- Perlite assists gardeners with water retention in the soil while improving drainage
Aerating the Soil and Drainage
Adding perlite to your soil mix provides you with two primary advantages – drainage and aeration. With more air around the roots of your plants, they grow faster and yield more during harvest. Water is another critical component of plant growth, but overwatering your plants will cause the onset of root rot, killing the plant.
Adding perlite to the soil helps to improve the drainage of water away from the roots while leaving the soil with the right amount of moisture to spur growth.
How Do I Use Perlite in My Garden?
There are several uses for perlite around the garden. Follow these tips to make the most out of this material in your flowerbeds and pots.
- Fortify your soil mix – Add a combination of loam, peat moss, and perlite to enhance the drainage and aeration of your soil, while providing a stable growing medium that absorbs nutrition for your plants.
- Use it as a surface treatment – Scatter loose perlite over your flowerbed to act as a wicking agent. The perlite will eventually work itself into the soil, improving water retention and draining.
- Rooting your cuttings – Perlite helps to encourage root growth in new cuttings. Place your cuttings in a Ziploc, along with moistened perlite. The moisture in the perlite keeps the cutting alive while it starts to form new roots.
Is Perlite Organic?
Sure, perlite is a carbon-based material; therefore, it is “inorganic.” However, most farmers and gardeners have a different concept of the word as it pertains to their gardening techniques and their crops.
Perlite is not a “synthetic” material, meaning that its natural, and suitable for use in your garden. It’s not a chemical fertilizer, and it contains no harmful compounds. The National Organic Standards Board certifies perlite for use in organic agriculture.
Therefore, if you plan to build an organic farm, perlite is a safe material to add to your soil, allowing you to retain your organic status.
What are the Pros and Cons of Perlite?
- Excellent material for improving aeration of the roots
- An inert and stable structure that doesn’t change the mineral balance or pH of your soil
- Assist with optimal drainage of the soil, preventing root rot in plants
- Affordable and readily available for purchase at all garden centers
- Suitable for gardening and hydroponic systems
- Helps to improve harvest yields in your veggie crops, and bigger flowers in the garden
- You use less water in your gardening