Today’s post will feature a precious search for the white gold for your garden- Perlite. Yes! The volcanic popcorn. However, it is better to know what Perlite is made of. The birthing of Perlite is taken from Pyrite, a kind of volcanic glass.
Accordingly, it is also known as Pyrite. Like finer whitish gravel, Perlite is too light to lift. However, if used correctly, it can rapidly lift the growth and health of your beloved plants. Because Perlite for plants price is very affordable. This article will teach us how to use Perlite to advance our gardening practices to the next level.
Is Perlite Good for Indoor Plants
Before understanding how Perlite is good or bad for plants, let us know some of its introductory chemistry. Perlite has a unique chemical quality. When it is industrially heated above 1500°C, it pops up like popcorn.
Once it is popped, it becomes tremendously porous, just like a honeycomb, making it a great addition to potting soil. Perlite is ideal for roots to absorb sap: it keeps moisture on the surface, not the inside. This is why Perlite is quietly revolutionizing the way that indoor plant care is done.
To thrive, roots require oxygen, and Perlite improves soil ventilation by increasing the soil’s porosity and aeration. By allowing for drainage and aeration, it also strengthens the soil’s structure.
Perlite air holding capacity and perlite water holding capacity entitle it as ‘air to the soil’ and ‘water to the roots. The soil can be made more breathable, absorbent, and kept from hardening by adding Perlite. For better growth, plant roots can expand and grow in the soil of the basin.
If you are cultivating large indoor plants in pots, Perlite grows fantastic. Inside Perlite is a porous honeycomb structure. It can grip the capillary roots of plants to a certain extent. The capillary roots’ root tips can take up nutrients and water from the Perlite.
How Much Perlite to Use for Indoor Plants
Perlite should be strategized according to plant species and the size of the containers with the correct grade, as discussed later. Here is a recipe for a primary container potting mix and a list of all necessary components.
- Perlite:1 bucket
- peat moss: 2 bucket
- vermiculite:1 bucket
- fine sand: 4 cups
- screened compost or composted cow manure:1 bucket
- lime: 1 cup
- pelleted time-release fertilizer: 4 cups
For instance, if you want to grow some living stones from seeds, start by mixing equal volumes of perlite and preparation mixture. After that, add water to the mixture and transfer it to a pot. Also, remember, too much of most things is a problem. Pure Perlite does not contain actual organic matter and beneficial fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
Best Perlite to Soil Ratio for Indoor Plants
Here are some examples of perlite-containing potting mix formulas in general.
For Standard Potting Mix
perlite: peat moss or coco coir: loam= 1:1:1
For Seed Starting Mix
perlite: vermiculite: coco coir=1:1:1
For Enriched Seed Starting and Repotting Mix
Perlite: coco coir: organic compost: vermiculite= 1:4:2:1
For Orchids Potting Mix
perlite: fir bark: fine charcoal= 1:4:1
For Succulents Potting Mix
perlite: horticultural sand: fine charcoal= 1:4:1
For Cutting Related Potting Mix
Perlite: coco coir=1:1
The potting soil will not become hard if garden soil and Perlite are combined directly in a 1:1 ratio, and its water permeability will also increase.
Cactuses and succulents do well with potting mixes with a perlite-to-soil ratio of 4:6 or 1:1.
A 4:1 ratio of Perlite to the potting mix helps get good results.
Best Perlite for Indoor Plants
Let us see if different perlite grades best fit your indoor plant category.
Fine Perlite: having the most diminutive particle form, ranging from 1/16 to 1/128″, is ideal for root cuttings or seedlings with 52% water retention capacity.
Medium Perlite: ranges from 1/8″ to 1/32″. Having a water-holding capacity of 46%, it is the best Perlite for seedlings and potted plants. The best Perlite for hydroponics, orchids, and succulents can easily be prepared with coco coir.
Coarse Perlite: Between 1/5 and 1/21″ in size, it has a 34% water retention capacity. The rough perlite combination offers excellent drainage and water-holding capacity and is the best Perlite for plants near you. Because of its porous design, it is the best Perlite for indoor houseplants, vegetables, herbs, and succulents.
Super Coarse Perlite: These perlite particles range from 1/4 to 1/11″ and have a 19% water-holding capacity. They have the optimum porosity for drainage or aeration, but because of the particle size, they are less well-liked in gardening.
As an indoor potting mix for succulents, a chunky grade is enough. However, the above four are the best perlite categories and have so-called gardening standards.
How to Use Perlite for Indoor Plants?
Now comes the long-awaited question- how to use Perlite for plants to improve the Soil mix and boost optimum Plant Development?
The appropriateness of the different types of Perlite for potting mix, though, varies as follows.
- for denser soil: Coarse (Rating 4) 1-inch size
- for general potting mixes: Medium (Rating 3): 1/2-inch size
- for seedlings and cuttings: Fine (Rating 1, 2): 1/8 inch to 3/8-inch size
Again, growers with experience can also differ in their opinions on these. Also, remember the following points-
- Perlite can also be layered on top of potting soil to cover newly sown seeds in trays or pots.
- One of the best media for growing plants is Perlite, which is just as effective as conventional peat mixes and can be used to grow most plants on its own.
- By scattering the granules over the surface of your garden before you start planting, you can use the best Perlite for houseplants to create air spaces in heavy soils.
- Apply the Perlite to the top 4-6 inches of soil after moistening it.
- Always sterilize before use, or residual bacteria can infect new plants.
Perlite Soil for Indoor Plants: Pros & Cons
Perlite soil mix has these upsides.
- If you look under a microscope, you will see that Perlite is filled with many tiny cavities that hold water like a sponge. Also, the porous cavities drain excess water more readily than other potting media.
- Perlite is used in soil mixes and soilless mediums to improve aeration and modify the soil substructure, keeping it loose, well-draining, and defying compaction.
- This prevents root rotting and fungal diseases from becoming waterlogged.
- It is also capable of storing nutrients for a short period.
- Perlite has no expiration date. It does not decompose so it can be reused again and again for years afterward.
- You can start seeds or clones in 100% perlite.
- Perlite is also great for rooting cuttings and fosters much stronger root formation.
- Due to Perlite’s large surface area, it is a good choice for plants that require high humidity levels.
While Perlite has many functions, some cons are there.
- It contains no nutrients, so it should not be used alone for flowers.
- Direct use is generally not conducive to the growth of weaker plant roots. It is generally used for stirring the soil but not with too much of it.
- Wear a dust mask and glasses when you are handling Perlite. Breathing any other dust over a prolonged period would be harmful.
- Perlite is only suitable for acidic plants, not alkaline ones.
- When growing plants in Perlite, be aware that it may cause fluoride burn, which appears as brown tips on houseplants.
- The soil provides a place for bacteria to flourish. Too much Perlite interrupts their root nourishment.
- Also, Perlite floats, so if you have too much, it will all go to the top when you water your plant, leaving the soil at the bottom to compact.
- Perlite by itself is too unstable to germinate tiny seeds. Soil often contains some fungal spores, which will cause your seeds to dampen off.
- The seeds would sink through the Perlite to the bottom to rot away.
Pumice Vs. Perlite for Indoor Plants
Both pumice and perlite alternatives can also be used to improve soil drainage. However, It is enough to use Perlite when the plant is not so tall since Perlite for plants’ price is lower and always available in local stores. Though Both are great, Perlite for plants is better.
Suppose you complain about Perlite being so light to blow in even mild wind and floating up while watering. Then apply only in the part of the soil that will be way underground, 1-2 inch below the surface. The way you benefit from the best Perlite for succulents or cacti. As a cheaper but essential soil conditioner, use the best perlite brand to score higher than the Pumice.
FAQ: Is Perlite Necessary for Indoor Plants?
Both potting soil and garden soil need to be softened and more permeable to water and air. Fine particles of the soil usually contain much clay, which tends to clump together into a hard mass.
Because in a container of potting soil and garden soil, excess water will gather at the bottom to make your plant roots drown or become rotten. The reason, perlite use is an inevitable option there. Perlite is also superb for slowing down the tendency for the soil to compact and helps the soil to retain moisture.
Adding more Perlite to the mix of potting and garden soils is especially beneficial for deep-rooted plants that are more productive when the roots do not have to drive down into a denser layer.
Add a significant amount of Perlite to Shallots, garlic, and onion vegetation planting beds in fall, as the Perlite helps keep bulbs from being waterlogged in winter and spring. Succulents need coarse soil with space for airflow.
If you use average soil, mix it with Perlite to loosen it up. Perlite for cactus species and Desert plants is fantastic. Perlite for auto-flowering plants is so popular, also for snake plants, aloe Vera, jade plants, harmony lilies, African violet, and English ivy- Perlite rocks.
As a soil amendment, the principal value of Perlite in any potting medium is providing aeration and improving water drainage. The surface area of perlite particles is covered with tiny cavities holding moisture while the particles create tunnels in the mixture that allow air and water to flow freely to the roots.
The reason is that Perlite is one of nature’s best media for growing plants. Growing most plants in Perlite alone is possible, although the finer and medium grades usually work better and require less water. Seeds can be started in any grade of Perlite, but with smaller seeds, finer grades of Perlite would be recommended.
Hi, This is Evan, A Gardener and Writer with Vast Experience in Gardening. I Usually Write practical and valuable guides on various gardening topics. In this Blog, I try to cover many gardening topics, from lawn care to vegetable gardens. This Blog offers practical gardening advice for a variety of plants.