Vermiculite is odourless and non-toxic.
Vermiculite is a good retainer of water/moisture and often used in hydroponics and standard growing systems to germinate seeds and grow seedlings.
It will not deteriorate, turn mouldy or rot. The pH of vermiculite is essentially neutral (7.0-9.5) but owing to the presence of associated carbonate compounds, reactions are normally in the alkaline direction.
It can be mixed with other grow media such as cocopeat or even dense soil, to add aeration.
Benefits of Vermiculite?
When it is mixed with coco peat, composted bark, organic compost, or natural soils, vermiculite helps promote faster root growth and gives quick anchorage to
Vermiculite can hold several nutrients such as potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, which are required for plant growth. Colour, composition, and pH of vermiculite vary depending where it was mined.
Vermiculite soil can be used to aerate and lighten heavy soil, germinate seeds, or use for outdoor shrubs and plants.
This soil is odorless, non-toxic, and sterile and it will not rot or mold. The absorbent properties in vermiculite soil allow it to retain magnesium, calcium, and potassium that plants need.
Vermiculite soil is a standard that is used by professionals for most horticultural tasks, the most common is the insertion of cuttings. Insert the cuttings and water thoroughly. You do not have to worry about over-watering as long as your pot provides drainage at the bottom. This soil will promote better than average root growth in less time.
If your soil is sticky or heavy, mixing in a bit of vermiculite soil creates air channels that allow the soil to breathe, this maintains vigorous plant growth.
Vermiculite soil also eliminates the packed-down soil problem that often occurs in flower pots. You will mix the vermiculite with composted cocopeat. This will provide incredible moisture and air control, lighten and aerate the soil and it allows the roots to spread out in the pot requiring less watering.
Vermiculite vs Perlite
Vermiculite mixes into the soil to help you retain water. Perlite, on the other hand, adds drainage to the soil it’s mixed with.
The Similarities Between Vermiculite and Perlite
They are both mined minerals that can be used for insulation and water filtration. They can both hold moisture and improve drainage in soils.
While both perlite and vermiculite hold water, they work in different ways. Vermiculite is flat and holds its water like a sponge. Think about when you pour water over the top of a dry sponge it plumps up, that’s vermiculite.
Perlite, on the other hand, is round and holds its water like a little cavern structure. Those small balls have all kinds of nooks and crannies that suck up water.
The Differences Between Vermiculite and Perlite:
Vermiculite mixes with the soil and helps to retain water. Perlite adds drainage to the soil to reduce how much water is in the soil.
Many people prefer perlite because those little white balls help the soil to drain faster and better than vermiculite.
Gardeners often added vermiculite to seed starting mixtures because it protects seedlings from fungus, which kills new seedlings. It helps to retain water in those tiny little pods that gardeners use to start seeds. On the other hand, while perlite can be used to help start seedlings, it’s better used when you move those seedlings into larger pots in order to help with additional drainage.
Perlite has an alkaline pH level between 7.0 and 7.5. If you use perlite in excess, it can cause minor nutrient issues. Vermiculite has a pH level between 6.5 and 7.2, making it a more neutral additive and therefore it makes it better for some plants.
Unlike vermiculite, perlite is considered permanent because it doesn’t deteriorate. It’s clean, odorless, non-toxic, sterile, and will never mold or rot.
Vermiculite is a poor soil aerator because it absorbs so much more water. Not ideal for some plants because it might cause root rot in plants that don’t like wet roots. Perlite enhances aeration by releasing excess amounts of water.
Vermiculite retains a lot of water, expanding up to 3-4 times its size when saturated. Perlite improves water retention while increasing drainage. It also raises the humidity level around plants.
That said, perlite lets water drain too quickly, so not ideal for seeds or seedlings that need damp soil.