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What is the difference between vermiculite and perlite?

Vermiculiet en perlietWritten by Martin Meuldijk | Last update 06-11-2020

Vermiculite and perlite are becoming increasingly popular for use in horticulture. Sowing, cutting and propagation businesses increasingly add these substances to the (potting) compost to ensure a better, more airy structure. But what is the difference between vermiculite and perlite? Vermiculite exfoliates like a harmonica when heated which creates a very light grain with a large capacity to retain water and moist. Whereas vermiculite exfoliates like a harmonica, perlite expands into a porous, airy and lightweight grain when heated and is an inorganic rock. Our specialist will explain more about the differences in this article.


What is vermiculite?

Vermiculite is a mineral that exfoliates (expands) like a harmonica when heated. This creates a very light grain with a large capacity to retain water and moist. Because of this property, vermiculite is a popular choice as (an additive to) a substrate in sowing, cutting and propagation businesses in the horticultural sector. This water and moist retaining capacity ensures that, on the one hand, irrigation water is retained, thus significantly reducing the drainage of nutrients in the process and, on the other, that the soil structure remains airy and oxygen-rich, so that plants can easily grow roots. Furthermore, vermiculite is often used as a cover layer to allow seeds to germinate, or as a propagation medium for bulbs. That is vermiculite, but what is the difference between vermiculite and perlite.

Vermiculite is available in different grain sizes:
Vermiculite 1: 0 - 1.5 mm
Vermiculite 2: 0 - 3 mm This is used for covering flower seed, to promote the germination of the seeds.
Vermiculite 3: 0 - 5 mm This is used for covering vegetable seeds and for mixing in potting compost.
Vermiculite 4: 0 - 10 mm This is used in bulb propagation during packaging.


Vermiculite

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Perlite

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What is perlite?

Perlite is an inorganic rock which expands into a porous, airy and lightweight grain when heated. It is widely used as an additive in potting composts, cutting soils, sowing soils and plugs. As an additive in potting compost, perlite provides a lighter substrate and improved water drainage and is, therefore, often used in combination with plants that need soil that is not too moist, such as the poinsettia. Perlite is also available in different grain sizes:
Perlite 1: 0 - 1.0 mm Generally not used in horticulture.
Perlite 2: 0 - 3.0 mm Used in sowing and cutting soils, purely as a substrate and, in some cases, as a light reflecting agent for carnation and lathyrus.
Perlite 3: 0 - 6.5 mm Used to mix with potting compost for a more airy structure. 

In addition, perlite is available in substrate mats, which can be used as a substrate in various greenhouse crops. Because perlite is well-suited for steaming, the substrate mats can be used for several years.



Questions difference between vermiculite and perlite.

Do you have questions of the difference between vermiculite and perlite, or would you like advice? Contact product specialist Martin Meuldijk, or fill in the form below. On working days we will contact you within 24 hours.







Martin MeuldijkAbout Martin Meuldijk

Martin Meuldijk has had more than 20 years of experience in the glass horticulture, nationally as well as internationally. Ever since 2016 he has been working at Royal Brinkman as a product specialist for the topics of Crop Rotation and Service Items. He likes to help growers to get the best results from their cultivation. His approach? ";Do what you say and say what you do: that is my motto. I attach great importance to always giving proper and honest advice."






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