For our garden we use certain materials that help us to germinate our plants or that contribute to their good condition. In this case I come to talk to you about perlite and vermiculite.
Do you want to know what they are, what they are for and when we should use each one?
- 1 the perlite
- 2 vermiculite
It is a crystal of natural origin that is quite abundant on the planet. It has a structure that contains 5% water inside and that is why it has the ability to expand when subjected to higher temperatures. When perlite expands due to higher temperatures it acquires a more porous and lighter texture.
In order to acquire the perlite we must measure it in volume, since its weight varies depending on the size of the particles and its moisture content. They are white balls with a high capacity to retain water and at the same time maintain a high porosity. In addition, it is extremely consistent and therefore very resistant to erosion. As the roots grow, they erode the perlite. However, it is quite sturdy. Mixed with the substrate, it is used to aerate the mixture and give it lightness.
What do we use perlite for? Well, the pelita has various uses in orchards and gardening. To begin with, perlite is ideal as a propagation substrate for all types of plants due to its neutrality. It also works in hydroponics and can be mixed with sand in cultivation for the propagation of cacti and succulents. It is also used for those plants that spend more time in the bags or in the pots and that must be moved. It is very useful on this occasion since it has great moisture retention capacity, porosity and light weight.
Among the characteristics of perlite we find:
- It is very light, weighing 125 kg per cubic meter.
- It has a neutral pH.
- Free of pests, diseases and weeds.
- Incorporated in substrates, it is ideal because it promotes good aeration and absorbs large amounts of water.
- It is not flammable.
- Its white color reduces the temperature of the substrate and increases the reflection of light, which is important in greenhouses and shaded areas.
Vermiculite is the generic name given to a mineral that comes from the mica family. It is composed of silicates of aluminium, magnesium and iron. It has properties similar to perlite, since with its laminar structure it can contain some water inside. When the temperature of vermiculite is raised rapidly, it expands and is called exfoliation. When this phenomenon occurs, the result is a product with metallic reflections, brown in color, with low apparent density and high porosity.
Among its characteristics we find:
- It is very light, weighing between 60 and 140 kilos per cubic meter, depending on granulometry.
- It has a neutral pH (7.2).
- Free of pests, diseases and weeds.
- Incorporated in substrates, it favors good aeration and absorbs large amounts of water.
- Its metallic shine increases light reflection, which is important in greenhouses.
We can use vermiculite as a growing medium to favor the propagation of all kinds of plants, as long as there is good aeration thanks to its high capacity to retain water. It is also used to carry out seed germination tests for their health. It is useful for hydroponic crops just like perlite. It is capable of retaining more water than perlite and helps plants retain nutrients and assimilate them well.
Vermiculite can contain potassium, calcium, magnesium and ammonium necessary for growing plants. It is light, easy to handle and mixes well with other ingredients, such as peat moss, coconut fibre, worm castings and perlite, for seedbeds and container cultivation.
With this you already know which one to choose for your garden according to its water retention and the rest of its characteristics.