Perlite is a mineral that occurs naturally. It can be found in nature as a form of volcanic glass. Perlite will form when water soaks volcanic obsidian glass. Starting in the third century BC, people started to settle on fertile volcanic land. They soon discovered perlite and how it can be used in agriculture. Natural perlite has no shape or structure and appears to be black or gray amorphous glass.
There are many reasons a person should add perlite to their soil mix. It has unique physical and chemical properties that make it beneficial for gardening.
*It helps gardens with soil water retention. It also helps to improve drainage
*It is stable. It maintains its shape when placed in soil mix
*It is an extremely porous material
*It has neutral pH. This makes perlite good as an amendment to soil
*It contains no nutrients or chemicals
Aeration And Drainage
There are two main advantages perlite provides people who add it to their soil mix: aeration and drainage. Roots grow faster when they have more air around them. They will also grow faster and provide more during harvest. An important aspect of plant growth is water. Unfortunately, if plants are overwatered it could result in the onset of root rot. This will kill the plant. When perlite is added to soil, it helps drain the water away from the roots. This will result in the soil having the correct amount of moisture. This inspires healthy growth.
Using Perlite In A Garden
There are many ways a person can use perlite in their garden.
*Rooting Cuttings – Perlite encourages root growth with new cuttings. They need to be placed in a Ziploc bag with perlite and be moistened. The cuttings will be kept alive by the moistened perlite as it begins to start to create new roots.
*Fortify Soil Mix – To increase the aeration and drainage of soil a person can add a combination of perlite, peat moss, and loam. This will create a stable growing medium. It will absorb nutrition for plants.
*Surface Treatment – When people scatter loose pieces of perlite over their flowerbed, it will behave as a wicking agent. Perlite eventually works itself into the soil. This improves drainage and water retention.
A garden bed where perlite is used has airflow in the soil greatly improved. This is essential for a plant’s roots to be able to breathe. This is also the case for beneficial nematodes, worms, and other types of natural garden inhabitants. Perlite is mineral glass and harder than any soil around it. This will help slow down compaction. It will maintain the soil’s lightweight and fluffy consistency.
Type Of Perlite
Many people wonder if they should use fine or coarse grade perlite. Coarse perlite is popular with individuals who grow succulents and have orchids. It is also popular with people who do container gardening. This is due to its drainage capability. It makes certain the roots of plants breathe well. Coarse perlite bits work their way to the surface of the soil. Larger pieces of perlite are less likely to be blown away by a breeze. Fine perlite is popular with quality seed-starting mixes as well as root cuttings. The drainage it provides leads to fast root production. It can also be placed on a lawn. Over time, it will make its way down into the soil. This will improve drainage and more.
Perlite is important to any gardener who wants to be certain they are providing their plants with the best possible conditions for growing. Since it is volcanic glass, it is safe for the environment. It is possible to recycle perlite and use it again and again, so there is no reason to purchase too much of it.