One of three inorganic aeration additives
Perlite is a type of volcanic glass that has been expanded
and heated to create a lightweight, porous material. It is often used as a soil
amendment or as a growing medium in its own right. Vermiculite is a mineral
that has been expanded and heat-treated to create a lightweight, absorbent
material. It is often used as a soil amendment or as a growing medium in
hydroponic systems. Pumice is a type of volcanic rock that is extremely
lightweight and porous. It can be used as a soil amendment or as a growing
medium in its own right.
Perlite is a naturally occurring volcanic glass that is
mined and processed into a variety of horticultural products. It is formed when
water vapor trapped in lava cools and expands the rock, creating a lightweight,
porous material. Perlite is an excellent substrate amendment for houseplants
because it promotes drainage and aeration while still retaining some moisture.
Perlite is mined as a volcanic rock that is then heated in industrial furnaces to a very high
temperature until it pops like popcorn. This process creates the small, lightweight
pieces you know as Perlite that are ideal for improving drainage and aeration in potting mixes but also due to the grains holding lots of air and being very hydroscopic, they are widely used in the building trade for use as cavity wall and loft insulation.
perlite is a non-renewable resource and mining operations can have a negative
impact on the environment.
So, in summary,
- fantastic aeration component
- Con: floats up the substrate when watered
- Con: tendency to stain
- Con: non-renewable and requires a lot of energy to be produced.
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