mixing perlite uniformly in blends

rjbcrestFebruary 27, 2008

I hate using perlite for my violets, but seems to be a necessary evil. My main problem in mixing it with standard AV mixture (which is too heavy to use as is) with 20% vermiculite and 20% perlite. It is difficult to form a uniform mix that doesn't segregate when handling and pouring it. The perlite tends to float to the top. I was wondering if the perlite was first wet, would it tend to stay put when mixed with the other constituents? Any other suggestions?

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bspofford

When I make up a batch of mix, I first wet the perlite mostly to keep the dust down. It is very unhealthy to breathe the dust, and also wearing a mask could be done. Also, by first wetting it, it seems to mix in a little better.

Incidentally, the standard mix of peat, perlite, and vermiculite is 1 part of each, or 33%. At 20% it is still a little too heavy. If you are going to wick water, I would up the perlite to another 1/2 measure, resulting in a 1-1.5-1 ratio.

If the mix dries out after mixing, re-wetting will solve the floating perlite problem.

Good luck.

Barbara

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 8:34PM
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rjbcrest

Thanks, Barbara. I think you are correct and I will up the perlite. as time goes on. The only caveat is that I am putting in even more of the stuff that now seems to float to the top. But maybe pre-watering the perlite will result in a more uniform mix.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 4:21PM
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donna_c

I'm curious - are you mixing your ingredients with water in some type of container before potting? I never thought of doing that. I make a dry mix (no floating perlite that way), then water it after it is in the pot. How do you like the results of wet mixing?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 5:27PM
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bspofford

When I mix up a batch, I use the gray tubs that are used for bussing tables. I wet the perlite (with the kitchen sink sprayer)AFTER I measure it and put it gently in the tub. This keeps the dust down. I then add the peat and vermiculite, add some warm water, and mix with my hands. Add more warm water as necessary, just until the whole mix feels damp. I then put it into a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. I add water as I use it and it dries out.

I like the results of wet mixing much better, the perlite doesn't float, and no perlite dust. And, I can get as dirty as I want!

Barbara

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 7:05PM
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