Perlite is a growing medium with thousands of tiny air pockets which give your plants the aeration boost that they need! It is a naturally occurring mineral that forms when obsidian is heated to extreme temperatures and then cooled very quickly. The rapid cooling forces out the moisture in the material and leaving a porous surface in the medium. This results in a very light weight substrate that has great aeration properties - making it a great choice for hydroponic and soil based growing. Some of its main features are:
Easy to use and mess free
Natural air pockets provide high root aeration
Naturally occurring and inert.
Using perlite in Hydroponics
Using perlite in hydroponics is extremely effective when growing plants that require a large amount of oxygen, and good drainage. Perlite is excellent at propagating cuttings as the high aeration allows roots to develop without soaking in water and rotting. We have had success with perlite in the past growing indoor plants, herbs and leafy greens.
It should also be noted that perlite floats - so take this into consideration if you are designing your own system!
Using perlite with Soil
Perlite can be mixed with vermiculite, peat moss, coco coir and regular soil to increase aeration and drainage characteristics. Plants that require dry conditions such as cacti, sago palm or snake plants will thrive as the drainage that perlite offers is ideal for their growth. It is a versatile medium - so you can experiment with the ratios of different growing mediums as you need to suit your plant's needs.
That's everything on perlite. If you wan't to learn more, check out the rest of our series: