- Horticultural perlite has proven to be an excellent material to use as a soil conditioner because it has certain characteristics which provide the following results:
- Soil structure is improved due to the near ideal air-water relation- ship that is developed in the growing media.
- The air holding capacity of the soil is increased and adequate drainage is assured.
- Overwatering and under watering losses are reduced due to the surface structure of the particle which retains 3 to 4 times its weight in water without penetrating the particle. Excess water will drain off.
- Cracking and crusting of soil surface is reduced or prevented.
- Soil compaction is prevented.
- A more even distribution of the root system throughout the entire growing media is made possible.
- Production costs are reduced in that the material is easy to handle, does not require sterilization and mixes may be accurately duplicated because of consistent perlite quality.
- Shipping weights and transportation costs are reduced.
- Uniform growing and propagating media are insured regardless of season or location.
Gardening: Perlite can be added to soilless mixes to improve drainage and aeration, providing more oxygen to plant roots. It is also added to gardens as a soil additive to improve soil structure. Perlite also helps reduce soil compaction in clay soils. It is used as a standalone product to germinate seeds, root cuttings, and anchor/support root systems in hydroponic gardening setups.
Construction: Perlite is used as loose fill material in hollow concrete blocks or masonry walls for insulation.
Filtration: Perlite is increasingly being used to filter solids out of liquids in many applications. It is used to filter beer before it’s bottled to remove sediment and is used to filter stormwater runoff from roads and highways.
Manufacturing: Perlite is also used as an ingredient in lightweight concrete and plasters, ceiling tiles, and acoustical sprays to name a few.
Vermiculite is perfect for plants that enjoy lots of water, such as some irises and forget-me-nots. Perlite dries out too quickly for water-loving plants.
The amount of water that vermiculite holds is too much for plants like cacti, succulents, or rhododendrons, which need a well-draining soil.