what's the difference? - Knowledgebase Question

Gillette, Wy
Question by sammyjo_1920
May 20, 2009
I work at Home Depot and I would appreciate the answer to this question....what is the difference between perlite and vermiculite?


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Answer from NGA
May 20, 2009

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Perlite is a naturally occuring volcanic glass. When expanded, each granular, snow-white particle of perlite is sterile with a neutral pH and contains many tiny, closed cells or bubbles. The surface of each particle is covered with tiny cavities which provide an extremely large surface area. These surfaces hold moisture and nutrients and make them available to plant roots. In addition, because of the physical shape of each particle, air passages are formed which provide optimum aeration and drainage. Because perlite is sterile, it is free of disease, seeds, and insects.

Perlite has been used for many years throughout the world for soil conditioning and as a component of growing mixes with materials such as peat moss or bark. Extensive studies have shown that the unique capillary action of perlite makes it a superior growing media for hydroponic cultures.


Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral compound composed of shiny flakes, resembling mica. When heated to a high temperature, flakes of vermiculite expand as much as 8-30 times their original size. Vermiculite has the excellent property of improving soil aeration while retaining the moisture and nutrients necessary to feed roots, cuttings, and seeds for faster growth. Like perlite, horticultural vermiculite is permanent, clean, odorless, nontoxic and sterile. It will not deteriorate, turn moldy or rot.

Hope this answers your question.

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