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Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

Posted by sanj Zone5 Denver (My Page) on
Mon, May 8, 06 at 19:15

Hey gang...I cannot readily find vermiculite; but I find perlite easily in local stores. Can I replace vermiculite with Perlite. I heard that vermiculite last for 2 years, until it decomposes, then you have to add it again. However perlite lasts for a long time. Also vermiculite, could have some asbestos, or, asbestos like material/fine dust that could cause some breathing problem down the road. That is why some of the stores quit carrying it. I understand, that only one mine was contaminated, other than that I have not heard anything.
Can you give me some expert opinion on this?
Is vermaculite better than perlite? Do they have same benifits? Are they interchangeable?
Thanks for your response.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

it does not matter as long as where a dust mask which is advisble when gardening any way to keep bugs out of your mouth and nose.


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

The perlite will float, vermiculite doesn't as much. Perlite is pretty much useless in my opinion. I really don't think you need as much of either as the book says. If you add a lot of peat moss it serves the same purpose of helping the soil hold moisture.

What it is useful for is germinating seeds.


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

Hi Sanj;

josiwax is right, Perlite is useless. Vermiculite is much better.

CloneZero


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

Doesn't perlite create air space for the roots? I don't use much peat because of the whole environmental issue with it. I use mostly compost, lots and lots of compost.


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

"Doesn't perlite create air space for the roots?"

Not really. It pretty much forms little rounded balls like styrofoam. It tends to float to the top of soils, and it crushes to powder easily. It doesn't really have space where the roots can access air. Vermiculite, however, is thin sheets of material which are expanded to have spaces in between them. These spaces hold water and air and are accessible by root hairs.


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

  • Posted by sanj Zone5 Denver (My Page) on
    Fri, May 12, 06 at 18:12

Great guys...based on your comments, I will be buying a big bag of vermiculite for my garden.
Ok since perlite is like styrofoam, can I crush styrofoam, and mix it with soil? will it make soil fluffy as well? Has anyone experimented with this?
I understand that perlite and styrofoam are completely differnt products.


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

Perlite is not *that* much like styrofoam, and though it crushes easily, its still a mineral when it breaks down, where styrofoam breaks down into refinery products - which one would you rather eat?


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

  • Posted by rhay z5 Colorado (My Page) on
    Fri, May 12, 06 at 22:56

You can get vermiculite in the Denver area at American Clay Works. 303-534-4044. They are a wholesaler to local greenhouses but will sell to the public. I bought some coarse vermiculite for $12.70 a bag versus $20 at the garden centers.


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

I checked American Clay Works. They quoted me $40 a bag. Maybe they realized they could get more for it. That is how much it costs at O'tools or Garden Country in Broomfield. Well that posting was back in 06 so the price has definitely gone up.


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RE: Which is better vermiculite or Perlite..

I left a bag of vermiculite out in the rain and a bag of per lite also. Accidentally of course. The vermiculite seemed to hold water like crazy and per lite just drains. The both help prevent compaction as far as aeration I use the felt smart pots so I'm not too worried about it


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