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What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

Posted by violetta1976 8 Portland OR (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 30, 08 at 15:07

Hi all,

Sorry I haven't been on much. I've just quietly been watching my collection grow without posting much about it. Here are some recent pics if anyone's interested:

Photobucket Album

My question is this - what exactly is vermiculite and why do I need it? I had been buying my potting mix online and mixing it 50/50 with perlite, but I ran out and don't feel like buying more.

Here's what I'd been using:

Soiless Wicking Mix

I picked up some Miracle Gro AV potting mix and mixed it with perlite until it looked as light as what I was used to using. It's probably 2/3 to 3/4 perlite. Think that will be okay, or do I need this mystery substance called vermiculite that I keep reading about?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

I don;t use vermiculite.. I don't like it (just the feel of it bothers me for some reason--I'm weird that way)

Anyhooz, I use a mix of half ProMix BX and half perlite. All is well without adding vermiculite here :-)


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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

I'm sure you're fine. I think vermiculite and perlite are more or less accomplishing the same thing -- making a potting mix lighter and allowing for aeration, while improving drainage. Vermiculite is just smaller than perlite. Vermiculite is a better water holder though.


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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

Violetta,
Perlite is a man made product which when added to a mix lightens it depending on how much you add. Vermiculite is a product of Mica which is found in nature and when added to mix, helps to hold water.
Fred in NJ


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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

Awesome! Thanks everyone. Since the last thing any plants in Oregon need is more moisture, I'm guessing I'm fine with perlite alone. Thanks so much!


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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

Vermiculite holds water, perlite allows water to drain easily.

Nancy


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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

Per Widipedia......"Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently." It goes on to speak of it's ability to allow air to the potting medium.

Both perlite and vermiculite are naturally occurring substances that greatly expand when sufficiently heated, like popcorn. Perlite has no nutritional value, and vermiculite's is minimal.

Perlite costs about 42.00 a ton. Can you imagine how big a space that would take!?!?!?!?!

I prefer to use the coarse vermiculite in my mix, it doesn't cake.

Barbara, just coming out of a tryptophan come.....


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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

make that a coma.

Geez, it must be worse than I thought!

Barbara


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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

http://www.schundler.com/hort.htm
I found this website helpful.


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RE: What is vermiculite and how is it different from perlite?

Sorry, don't know why that did not post as a clickable link, but worth the effort to paste in your browser.


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