Perlite is a highly absorbant expanded volcanic glass and works well as both a media additive to increase water retention, and as a growing media in its own right. Perlite does not become soggy and its aerated structure ensures plenty of oxygen gets to the root zone. It also ensures good drainage so is ideal for use in flood & drain systems. As with other inorganic substrates, perlite is free from disease and insects, and insulates well against temperate fluctuations.
Although Perlite does not have the surface area of Vermiculite and is therefore not as good at retaining water, it also does not compact as much either, which means the two make for a popular 50/50 mix.
Perlite is inorganic, inert and sterile.
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Yep, no worries at all, it is used like this in many different countires and for many different types of plant.What other growing mediums can I mix with Perlite
There are two "classic" perlite mixes. One is 50/50 with Vermiculite (often used for starting seeds off) the other is to mix it at around 10-20% into soil or coir to improve drainage and structure.Can I reuse Perlite?
If it's being used as a stand alone growing medium, we strongly advise against it. Perlite will hold onto nutrients and used perlite will be very nutritionally unbalanced. If you use it as a soil additive at 10-20% and reuse the soil, there shouldn't be any problems.Is Perlite prone to Pythium?
It can happen, but you would need to overwater the plants in a very hot growroom for a long period of time. It's more prone to getting too cold during the winter months again when overwatered, it's a good idea keep any eye on the root zone temperature at this time of year. Always let the nutrient solution adjust to room temperature before watering perlite.Is it dangerous to breath the dust that Perlite gives off?
Yes, you don't want to be doing that. The best thing is to wet it first and let the dust run off that way. However, beware really cold tapwater, as mentioned above. The dust won't irritate your skin, it's only bad if you get it into your lungs.If I use Perlite on it's own, what's the best nutrient to use?
Basically Perlite is free draining, and Vermiculite hangs on to a lot of water. A perfect blend for young plants is 50% Perlite and 50% Vermiculite - this gives you the best of both Worlds and is a widely growing media used in the horticultural industry.