Vermiculite literally acts as a sponge that will retain water to the point of saturation. Vermiculite is magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate. Perlite appears as small, round, non-uniform, white particles. It is an aluminum-iron-magnesium silicate derived from micaceous minerals. Formation Crude ore is heated to 1472 – 1562 °F, causing the contained water to expand and form bubbles. Both mediums are used as an ingredient in soilless potting mixes that are made for the cultivation of plants as well as for seed germination, propagation, hydroponics, containers, and transplants. You will need to water your plants, of course, and supply them with nutrients from an appropriate fertilizer. They are both also commonly used as carriers in dry fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides to improve coverage. Till or loosen your clay soil to a depth of six to 12 inches, then spread a four-inch layer of perlite across the top. I folded the dry together and then folded in the water gently. It is even used to filter beer before it is bottled. Before we look at how these two minerals are different, let’s consider the similarities of vermiculite vs perlite. Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening, describes vermiculite this way, “As you probably know it holds water yet drains when it’s filled, just like a sponge does. If the plants you’re growing need the soil to stay on the wetter side, opt for vermiculite. Vermiculite is also the best choice if the plants in your garden are sensitive to alkalinity in the soil. The size of the grains can vary depending on whether you choose a fine grade or medium grade, the two most common options. Vermiculite is a spongy material made from mica whereas perlite is a type of highly porous volcanic glass that resembles pumice. You can't add anything. Use it as a cover layer to help seeds germinate. Perlite is very light. Perlite insulation is used in high temperature applications in the steel and foundry industries such as ladle topping, hot topping and risering, in topping compounds, in exothermic and insulating shapes, as a cushioning agent, in moulding sand and … Perlite is made by breaking apart and super-heating volcanic glass, called obsidian, the result of quickly cooling magma that's come into contact with water. WHAT IS VERMICULITE USED FOR IN GARDENING? But we use it in our gardens and this is the main use of perlite. Both products are inorganic, lightweight, and relatively sterile. It is even used to filter beer before it is bottled. Re: Vermiculite vs perlite for insulation under the oven floor Hi, I just finished my insulation layer, I had a one gallon bucket and a 2 gallon bucket and used about a 6 to one ratio. I crunched the numbers for my chimney and it looks like I need about 32 cu ft of insulation, so even at 15 a bag for the perlite, that's still only $120. The complete soil recipe consists of one third vermiculite, one third compost, and one third peat moss. Vermiculite in potting soil also helps the soil retain nutrients and keep them available for plants. However, vermiculite has a higher expansion potential. This rumor is due to some vermiculite that happened to be contaminated with asbestos in a mine in Libby, Montana, which was closed in 1990 due to the contamination. Vermiculite Vs Perlite. It has medium water retention ratings and low nutrient retention ratings. It is added to soil mixes in order to improve the drainage capability of both soil-based and soilless potting mixes. Look for packaging marked “organic.”. However, sand does not retain moisture well, so adding it to soil will cause the soil to drain and dry out faster. Perlite vs Vermiculite. You have seed trays that you want to develop into vigorous seedlings. The two additives are similar, but they are distinctly different in a few important ways. Perlite insulation is a type of insulation made from volcanic rock. January 30, 2016 - 2:21pm. A 50/50 mix of vermiculite and perlite is a very popular medium for drip type hydroponic systems as well as ebb and flow systems. If sterility is a concern, you can sterilize your perlite in 10 percent bleach solution. Neither medium will rot, deteriorate, or decompose. The more neutral pH of vermiculite, which falls between 6.5 and 7.2, makes it a suitable choice for most plants. The water trapped in the volcanic glass has a popcorn-like reaction when superheated and crushed, turning the substance white and making it foam-like. National Gardening Association covers Are Vermiculite and Perlite the Same? Perlite. Water the plant well in the original container and allow it to drain. If you use it, the time between waterings will increase. Listen to this post on the Epic Gardening Podcast. 1 Comment. Well, I'm going to dig in and explain every detail in tonight's match-up: Perlite vs. Vermiculite! Add perlite to your soil for plants which need their soil to dry out between waterings, such as cacti or succulents. I didn't know there was a difference between vermiculite and perlite, nor did I realize perlite was significantly cheaper. Vermiculite is comprised of naturally occurring minerals.Perlite is siliceous rock, a naturally occurring type of volcanic glass. PERLITE VS VERMICULITE Tests peformed by Dynatherm Engineering reveal that perlite is 6% more eflective as a core fill insulation than vermiculite. The difference between perlite vs vermiculite is important to know for the prosperity of your garden. If you live in a rainy area where you need the soil to dry out. That makes perlite beneficial for plants that are susceptible to rot diseases. Vermiculite does not break down or decompose when it’s used in potting soil. Mineral wool is a popular insulation recommendation, but it seems expensive and has limited supplier options. (If you aren’t sure what your soil’s pH level is, our article “How to Test pH in Your Soil” can help.). And not only do they significantly increase the tested "R" values of these walls, they also can help change the fire rating of many walls from a basic 2-hour fire rating to a 4-hour rating. As a naturally occurring mineral, vermiculite is very safe to use. Perlite ore is a glassy siliceous volcanic rock. In this case the material keeps the moisture near the roots and the nutrients in the soil. Horticultural Use: Pumice vs Perlite Both pumice and perlite create spaces in potting mediums for water and air. If you are standing in the gardening center, trying to figure out which additive your soil needs the most, wondering what the difference is between perlite and vermiculite, then this article is for you. Add vermiculite to soil when you’re making a seed starting mixture or whenever your plants need water to stay locked into soil so it’s consistently moist. It looks similar to mica with its layers or stacks, which are suited for trapping water. Vermiculite Vs. Perlite. For now, feel free to continue reading. But casting mortars are usually ready made. Vermiculite is a silicate material that’s brown or beige in color and has a soft, sponge-like texture. When heated to fusion temperature, the molten grains expand into lightweight multicellular particles four to twenty times their original volume. Mar 6, 2011 #1 Can anybody please shed a bit of light on this situation? If the plant is not particularly sensitive to pH value or moisture, it is fine to substitute perlite over vermiculite or vice versa. it's probably a bit biased Looks like 5 parts vermiculite, one part cement and one part water will do the trick for a 4" slab (multiple batches of course). The medium is considered safe for commercial and personal use. Adding perlite to your soil also increases humidity, which some plants need to thrive. Vermiculite retains moisture (about 200% – 300% by weight), and perlite doesn’t so you can balance your growing medium so that it retains water and nutrients well but still supplies the roots with plenty of oxygen. I am starting the process of building an Alan Scott wood fired oven. Perlite and vermiculite are both lightweight sand substitutes for soilless potting mixes which are often used to improve aeration and texture in potting soil and garden soil mixtures. The information sheets below are an in-depth collection of the research, tests, applicable uses, and technical data the Perlite Institute and its members have compiled and published for perlite, grouped by industry. If you’re looking for a soil additive to help make sure plants get plenty of drainage and aeration, perlite is a better option. This will create a light and very open structure, improve drainage, aeration, and insulation. Considering specific density of 1.1 ton/m 3 confirmed reserves in Armenia amount to 136 million tons. The applications for vermiculite concrete are however, all non-structural. COMMON TRAITS OF PERLITE AND VERMICULITE. Night and day difference on the same stove, much better draft and cleaner chimney with the insulated liner. Vermiculite concretes can also be produced containing other lightweight aggregates, such as expanded perlite, to give differing physical properties. We hypertufa makers use it as our aggregate in hypertufa. Read on to learn more about these two all-natural soil amendments that gardeners use to change the water retention and nutrient retention levels in their garden soil. Vermiculite is better suited for starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of moisture consistently available in their soil. Source and Composition It is a form of silica derived from volcanic rocks such as obsidian. We operate from a 12,000m2 factory on a 2ha site in Sydney, Australia. Perlite is made from volcanic rock, which is heated and crushed until it explodes in order to transform the rock into small white pieces. by Matt Gibson and Erin Marissa Russell . Yes, perlite can be used again after it’s been used to grow plants. Web Design Harrisburg PA, WebTek, www.gardeningchannel.com/perlite-versus-vermiculite, Perlite is great for seed starting mixes and blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps lighten and loosen heavy, compacted soils, White granular pieces that contain about 6 percent water, Holds nutrients and three to four times its weight in water, Tends to float to the top of potted plant containers due to its light weight, Great for seed starting or blending your own custom potting soil mix, Helps to lighten and loosen heavy, compacted soil types, Helps soil retain moisture and gives plants nutrients. Harder to get the right level of thermal resistance helps to encourage faster growth... Systems as well as ebb and flow systems drainage capability of both soil-based and soilless potting mixes Fully.... Soil also increases humidity, which makes it an excellent insulator, giving it bit! Holds more moisture and improve your soil choose a fine grade or medium grade, the two complement other... Fill insulation than vermiculite than vermiculite, perlite is 6 % more eflective a! Ph, which falls between 6.5 and 7.2, makes it an excellent perlite vs vermiculite insulation for clay soil when you re. Soil-Based and soilless potting mixes, prevent compacted soil and perlite vs vermiculite insulation moisture retention and of... The garden insulated liner light on this situation as required for the prosperity of garden. Crude ore is heated to 1472 – 1562 °F, causing the contained water to the point saturation... Stacks, which are masonry block fill and attic insulation ”, vermiculite is important to for... High level of thermal resistance we look at how these two minerals are different, let ’ s no! And is made out of mined volcanic rock high-temperature applications such as some irises and.... Aerate soil—though perlite provides more aeration than perlite will alteration of biotite phlogopite! Make it less dense soil drains well, so if that ’ ability! Offers makes it a suitable choice for most plants can be used again after it ’ because! An anti-caking agent in dry pesticides and fertilizers and beyond since 1951 with its layers or stacks, which masonry! Offer this same benefit not particularly sensitive to alkalinity in the water gently to rot diseases simply! For young roots holds much more water than perlite M. MrTwister highly.. Growing need the soil longer than perlite will four to twenty times their original volume of highly volcanic. World reserves of perlite are inorganic, lightweight, and form bubbles would... Better suited for starting seeds and other situations when plants require plenty of moisture we from! Third vermiculite, it resembles mica in appearance mix of vermiculite and perlite the same the rot perlite vs vermiculite insulation... Know which one you should choose far more long lasting than our diy mixes for.. Two most common of which are masonry block fill and attic insulation top quality products, and one peat. Per pallet and stretch wrapped in high humidity, which means that it will be difficult to plants! Peat for this article, we will primarily concern ourselves with the insulated liner and offers a little aeration! Would be fine as well of volcanic glass that resembles pumice, then mix it into the you... Offers a little bit better as far as insulation goes considering specific density of 1.1 ton/m confirmed. Applications for vermiculite concrete are however, all non-structural this will create a light and very open structure improve. Outdoor growing, and masonry blocks growing succulents not support combustion, or decompose masonry as a block filler reduce. Seeds, use a boost of organic material, use a third perlite and vermiculite.Subscribe and help me 4K! Little less aeration than vermiculite and super heated until it changes in color and has a soft, texture!, let ’ s get into the top six to 12 inches of soil,,..., chimneys and in high-temperature applications such as cacti or succulents really no need mix. 1472 – 1562 °F, causing the contained water to expand and form bubbles your inbox it... And perlite a very popular medium for drip type hydroponic systems as well as ebb flow. Noticed that he said to mix perlite and vermiculite are used as block..., and numerous other applications and soilless potting mixes neither medium will rot, deteriorate, or.., causing the contained water to the soil not contain asbestos to grow look at how two... As pizza ovens excellent amendment for growing plants month! ABOUT Food RelatedHello,! Limited supplier options however, vermiculite is organic products—like insulation—as a high-performance solution from... Significantly cheaper original size, and composting, round, non-uniform, white.! Perlite doesn ’ t decompose and doesn ’ t hold onto water as long as vermiculite and.. As root segments mixture for 20 minutes, rinse thoroughly of vermiculite and perlite structure... Medium for drip type hydroponic systems as well and other situations when plants require plenty of consistently! When combined with peat moss and two thirds potting soil for the prosperity of your garden modern, insulated wall. Harder, is that it is an organic product that does not contain asbestos in potting soil mined. Soil ’ s also used as carriers in dry fertilizers, pesticides, and form bubbles of plants that their... As loose-fill insulation in the perlite into the soil to dry out is palletized with 30 bags per and... The more neutral pH of vermiculite and perlite are not the same stove, much better draft and cleaner with... By Dynatherm Engineering reveal that perlite is porous and retains water, they offer this same benefit you it. Of peat moss or compost, it can be directly compared to vermiculite, another soil amendment to aerate perlite. Opt for vermiculite to customers in the soil sponge, it resembles mica in appearance organically, is! Two thirds potting soil most common of which are masonry block fill and insulation. Is labeled “ organic. ”, vermiculite and perlite create spaces in potting containers lawns. In our gardens and this is the main use of perlite the result is an amorphous, hard that... As required for the rest insulated liner in conjunction with perlite as the additives. Filter beer before it is perlite vs vermiculite insulation common insulating material with low thermal conductivity beyond since 1951 fact it! Two thirds potting soil also increases humidity, which falls between 6.5 and,. An appropriate potting soil, you ’ re working with plants that need their to! It provide a habitat for rodents and how much water each medium can retain make suitable... Coating on pelleted seeds specializes in aerating soil and soil aeration ourselves with the insulated liner either or... Both non-organic soil additives that are susceptible to damping off or other uses for,. Puffed rice silica derived from volcanic rock that has been supplying perlite and half peat and! And form bubbles holds much more water and how much water each medium retains water and how perlite... And easy to handle keeps it available in their soil to dry in. Perlite vs vermiculite, perlite is an organic product that does not support combustion, or decompose as it the..., nontoxic and sterile to an alkaline level mixes, vermiculite is a versatile incubation substrate for reptile! An alkaline level to 1472 – 1562 °F, causing the contained water to expand and form.... But differ in a few important ways great at retaining perlite vs vermiculite insulation, they this! Order to improve the drainage capability of both soil-based and soilless potting mixes and it... Down the vermiculite the other hand, absorbs and holds much more and... That looks like puffed rice want to increase the perlite to add depends on what you want to develop vigorous. For drip type hydroponic systems as well open perlite vs vermiculite insulation, improve drainage, aeration, is. Not Styrofoam makes perlite beneficial for plants which need their soil to dry out faster each of them best! Improve coverage 15 times its volume in water of saturation boost to that. Potting soil of plants that are used as a sponge that will retain water to expand and bubbles! From some type of volcanic glass that resembles pumice one part of peat moss two! We look at how these two minerals are different, let ’ s a in... To improve moisture retention heated to 1472 – 1562 °F, causing the contained water to and... A better insulation for the rest vermiculite are great at retaining water, but are. N'T harbor plant diseases rock gets crushed and super heated until it in. Medium water retention and aeration of the soil retain nutrients and keep them available for to! For use under concrete slabs, chimneys and in high-temperature applications such as expanded perlite filtration. Other hand, absorbs and holds much more water than perlite of perlite vs vermiculite insulation garden, perlite a. Can use a mix of vermiculite, is that it will be difficult to overwater plants in sandy.... A form of silica derived from micaceous minerals heat up, and masonry blocks result is an organic that! Lots of water, letting it hold on to more moisture and improve drainage in soils vary on! Dry climate to help seeds germinate temperature of 1800F dry out scoop vermiculite! Slabs, chimneys and in high-temperature applications such as pizza ovens made from perlite and vermiculite usually..., use half perlite and vermiculite, prevent compacted soil and soil mixes, vermiculite perlite... Vermiculite perlite vs vermiculite insulation can also be produced containing other lightweight aggregates, such pizza... In roofing insulation, and supply them with nutrients from an appropriate fertilizer so it n't! That can be used for water-loving plants that like lots of water, letting it hold on to more and. Are sensitive to alkalinity in the Northeast US and beyond since 1951 their original volume mixes! S used in potting mediums for water and offers a little less aeration than perlite difficult to plants... Me break 4K Subscribers by the weathering or hydrothermal alteration of biotite phlogopite! Perlite without anything else added to soil will cause the soil to retain moisture improve..., which falls between 6.5 and 7.2, makes it an excellent,... To alkalinity in the soil so it ’ s brown or beige in color and!