Perlite is a lightweight white granular material that feels and looks like tiny polystyrene bits but is made from heated volcanic glass. Perlite is easy to handle, long-lasting, and easy to handle. It is highly porous because of its expanded nature.
This means it can absorb water, improves drainage, and is perfect for mixing with compost to make sure water flows freely. Perlite is mainly helpful in plant propagation, and below, we discuss all you should know about perlite.
- To boost drainage- succulent and crops sensitive to moist soil gain from being added perlite to the compost. The perlite traps compost air, encouraging water drainage. This prevents the roots from growing in damp soil. It will help to add perlite to compost before planting to have an even mix.
- When taking cuttings- perlite makes compost improve water retention, enhancing the chances of the cuttings taking root. To do this, you must have compost specially made for cuttings. Mix the perlite in, fill the vase and water correctly and let the mix drain before inserting the cuttings.
It is also possible to root cuttings using perlite by putting a polythene bag into a third full. Prepare semi-ripe or softwood cuttings by cutting below the leaf joint and removing the leaves. Roots will start to form after a few weeks, and cutting can be taken out after roots are well developed.
- When seed sowing– mix perlite into cuttings and seeds to make a moist environment ideal for delicate roots. A fine perlite layer is also great for sheltering sources that require light for germination since it allows light passage while moistening the seed.
Vermiculite and perlite are ideal for water retention, but perlite is more porous and allows faster water drainage. This means it is more suitable for soils used by plants that do not need much moisture. It is also possible to use potting soil containing perlite, but you should monitor watering often.
Also, be aware that perlite can cause fluoride to burn when growing plants in them, and it appears as brown tips on plants. Perlie should also be moistened before use to reduce dust. Perlite is a perfect choice for crops that need high humidity levels because of its large surface area. Evaporation on its colossal surface area leads to higher humidity levels than vermiculite.
How to Use Perlite
Perlite is mainly used in soilless mixes and potting soil to keep the soil structure loose and drain well without a compaction risk. Combining equal perlite and vermiculite for a good seed mix that supports healthy seed development is possible. It is also possible to use perlite to propagate seed cuttings.
For raised gardens with cakey soil, it is advisable to rake a two-inch perlite layer to improve drainage.
Perlite is a granular material that is sterile and easy to handle. It has an expanded nature that makes it porous and absorbs water perfectly. The above article has discussed all you should know about perlite, and more information is available online.