Vermiculite is Vermiculite??

mizcivladyMarch 13, 2009

I think this is a silly question but I have to ask. Is Vermiculte, Vermiculite?. I am have trouble finding Vermicuilite in a bag larger than a 8qt. I saw on U-LINE web site that they sell vermiculite as a packing material, much less expensive than the garden center. Can I use this in the SF garden or must I use the V from the garden center.??

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Yep, you can also get it in the insulation area, and in bulk where ever they supply pool construction. They just gouge gardeners, hehe.

That said, there are grades of vermiculte. Course, or big, medium and fine. You want course or medium.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I see you're in PA. If you're within reasonable driving distance from Piscataway, NJ, there is a wholesale warehouse that will happily sell you individual 4 cuft bags of course vermiculite if you just show up at the office. Cost is only $13.15 per bag. I wasn't even going to use verm in my beds since it's generally unavailable around here, or absurdly expensive. Then I stumbled on these guys.

Wh Milikowski Inc , 732-465-9000

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ck4b3d(USDA 11 & Sunset 24)

Holy crap 13.15 per bag!??!?!? Will they ship to San Diego ;) I am paying $29.99 per bag

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I found it for the same price at my local $nursery$, but found it for the lower price at the wholesale/retail supplier of that nursery. Guess where I bought it? hehe.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 11:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not sure how much shipping would be, but you may want to call some of the places by you who do carry the stuff (at the expensive price) and ask who their supplier is. You may be able to find a more local wholesaler who will do the same thing for you.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 6:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Go to any greenhouse operation that does their own rearage & they will likely have large bags of it around ...... or at least have a ready source from which they can order for you.

Make SURE you only use horticultural grade vermiculite. Vermiculite destined for insulation or soundproofing, and any of many other applications in the construction trades may contain pesticides (makes perfect sense) and toxins, that could be harmful to seeds and seedlings, or be treated with chemicals to reduce it's tendency to absorb or wick water.

BTW - the same is true of perlite, also often used in the construction trades.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok Sin, Where did you get it??? Do tell.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 6:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Hehe, I bought it from the local supplier of nurseries for half the price of course. If you're in the Greater Seattle Area, then contact Steuber's Distributing in Snohomish. They were great to work with and cheap. If I needed more, I'd go back.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Also Al, I'm not trying to debate with someone far over my head here, but this the first time I've heard of not being able to use any vermiculite in the garden. It is all rock after all. Why would they treat rocks with pesticides?

Anyway, I bought agricultural grade, but I may have to retract my first post in this thread if you are correct. My information comes from the minimum wage experts at various nurseries and big box stores. Hehe.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

al: do you have a source for your assertion that only horticultural grade vermiculite is good to grow plants in? i would like to know more about this. thanks

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 7:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Vermiculite is often used between frame walls, in attics, and to fill block cores or the space between face brick and the structural part of a masonry building. For some of these applications, the vermiculite is treated with pesticides (especially in termite territory) and chemicals to make it hydrophobic (reduce it's tendency to wick/absorb water).

How I know this is I purchased 2 - 4 cu ft bags, 1 of perlite and one of vermiculite from a masonry supply store. I had trouble getting them to wet, so I tossed a small handful of each in a pan of water. The next morning, both the perlite and the vermiculite were still floating on top of the water's surface, I don't mean they had absorbed water, but were still afloat, I mean they had not absorbed ANY water and were resting on TOP of the surface of the water, which indicated they had been chemically treated to be hydrophobic.

Try here to confirm what I said about water repellency. You can believe me or not about the insecticides, it's up to you. Some are treated only with innocuous DE and others with actual insecticides, but even if you don't think they are treated with insecticides either, the fact that they are treated with water repellent chemicals is cause enough to be sure you only use horticultural grade vermiculite and perlite.


Here is a link that might be useful: Another confirmation

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 9:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

That's good to know Al. I would hope the chemicals would be listed.
I would like to now qualify my ignorant statement above to say to check before you buy.

Thanks Al!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 10:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Ignorant in perhaps the classic sense (just that you didn't know about the 'other' types of vermiculite/perlite) but we're all, every day, in that same place, so I didn't even think twice about it. ;o) ...... don't know if the chemicals are listed or not. Since I know I won't be using it, or buying it again (once bitten - twice shy), I'll leave the research to those who are interested in chasing it further. Happy St. Paddy's Day! ;o)


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK, so you all had me nervous for a second...I bought Vermiculite in the insulation section of Menards and only read after the fact that some are treated to make them hydrophobic. Anyhow, I hoped on the website and pulled up the MSDS, and fortunately there are NO chemicals or insecticides in the brand I found. The brand is Sunshine Mica Flakes. I attached the link to the MSDS below. Looks like my $9/3cuft paid off after all!

First post to this forum by the way...Love all the great info. Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sunshine Brand Mica Flakes MSDS

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glad to hear that Gary. I also have the Sunshine Mica Flakes from Menards in my beds. They obviously do hold a lot of water, so I'm not worried about the being water repellent.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 12:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

What happened to Siddhartha? ;o)


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I also purchased vermiculite from Menards and made two single square foot gardens for inside in the winter. I was concerned about additives so I contacted the manufacturer. Here is the email chain:

My email:
"I needed vermiculite for a garden so I bought a 4 cu ft bag at Menards. It wasn't until after I had used it and planted several things that I discovered it was the attic insulation version of your vermiculite. Is there a difference between the insulation and gardening products? Are there chemicals added to the insulation product?"

Their response:
"Hello Ryan
Thank you for contacting Sun Gro. The Sunshine or Stronglite vermiculite insulation is the same material as gardening vermiculite except that is a large size and will work well in gardens. We do not add anything to the vermiculite.
Happy gardening.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 1:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Interesting... I just bought a bunch (20 - 4cuft bags) from a local Agriculature Supply company. I had first contacted a building supply operation here that sells the vermiculite for use in filling the cores of cinder blocks in wall/basement construction. He said the material they use is VERY fine and pours like water so that it gets into all creacks and crevaces. I had also read that the fine grade can clog the soild instead of help keep it loose and fluffy.

Anyway, the place I got mine from had the 4cuft bags for $11.99 each - best I found anywhere by $7. It is a medium horticulatural grade. Got it at AgWay in Oakland, MD. It was hard to find this stuff in 4cuft bags around here, especially at that price.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For the past two years I have been buying verm. from lowes but those bags are only 1.5cu ft and costing $13.97 . This year the price jumped to $15.97. So I checked with my local menards and they have a 3cu bag of verm. for $14.97 which is about half price compared to the 1.5 cu ft from lowes. Im not sure what this stuff looks like but they said it is horticultural grade so I think Im ok there. I like using the verm. much better than perlite as perlite just floats to the top, I only use it in a pinch. I really like the stuff from lowes so Im hoping this is similar.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 1:41PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Weed Barrier
I was excited to find this forum. I started dabbling...
Lateral space for dripline irrigation in square foot garden?
Hello! I'm pretty new to square foot gardening and...
Raised kidney shaped garden
I have a kidney shaped raised garden that I have planted...
Garlic crop rotating?
I started a bed 4'x6' last full of garlic. I was a...
What to put in the bottom of 12" high boxes??
Hello all, I am doing my first SFG this year. I live...
Deck Pros
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™