Characteristics and uses of perlite

Perlite in gardening

You've probably heard of the pearl to improve pot and substrate crops in gardens. But what is perlite? It is a crystal of natural origin that is quite abundant on the planet. It has a structure that contains 5% water inside and that is why it has the ability to expand when subjected to higher temperatures. It is very useful in gardening and in this post we are going to show you why.

Would you like to know the benefits of perlite for your crops in the garden? Keep reading 🙂

Perlite characteristics

Characteristics of perlite

When perlite expands due to higher temperatures it acquires a more porous and lighter texture.

In order to acquire perlite, we must measure it in volume, since its weight varies depending on the size of the particles and their moisture content. They are white balls with a high capacity to retain water and at the same time maintain high porosity. In addition, it is extremely consistent and therefore highly resistant to erosion. As the roots grow, they erode the pearlite. However, it is quite sturdy. Mixed with the substrate, it is used to aerate the mixture and give it lightness.

Among the characteristics of perlite we find:

  • It is very light, weighing 125 kg per cubic meter.
  • It has a neutral pH.
  • Free of pests, diseases and weeds.
  • Incorporated in substrates it is ideal because it favors good aeration and absorbs large amounts of water.
  • It is not flammable.
  • Its white color reduces the temperature of the substrate and increases the reflection of light, which is important in greenhouses and shade houses.

For what do you use it?

Perlite in hydroponic crops

Well, the pelita has various uses in orchards and gardening. To begin with, perlite is ideal as a propagation substrate for all types of plants due to its neutrality. It works also in hydroponic crops and can be mixed with growing sand for the propagation of cacti and succulents. It is also used for those plants that spend more time in bags or pots and that must be moved. It is very useful on this occasion since it has great moisture retention capacity, porosity and light weight.

In addition, perlite offers many options to solve some problems in the construction field, making it more economical. This is because it is a material product of the expansion of a crude mineral and its structure is made up of air cells. Turns it into an excellent thermal and acoustic insulator for construction. Its use is quite simple. It has to be mixed with lime cement, plaster and / or any other binder, its application being like that of a traditional mortar, achieving a fine finish.

Its use is very easy. It is mixed with cement. Used as a light aggregate or as a substitute for traditional materials, it allows a notable reduction in the calculation of structures thanks to its low specific weight, achieving savings of up to 30% on your construction costs.

In addition, perlite has a wide range of applications for use, not only in gardens. Here we list the main sectors in which they use it:

  • Ceramics and glass industry
  • Production of explosives
  • Filter manufacturing
  • Electrode Manufacturing
  • Cement and concrete production
  • Zeolite Industry
  • Mining industries
  • Manufacture of mineral fibers
  • Metallurgical operations

Perlite benefits

Perlite used in construction

Perlite used in construction

This mineral is used for its capabilities and benefits that improve the characteristics of the soil. It also serves as a thermal insulator to achieve a more successful insulation system in layers. This represents a great effective alternative to traditional insulation.

All mixtures with perlite are non-combustible, since it has an inorganic origin and does not decompose. In addition, it is unalterable before the action of any physical or chemical agent. Perlite is frequently used for its sound-absorbing properties. Thanks to its low density and being lighter, it is used in insulation combined with cement or plaster to attenuate up to 80% noise transmission between one room and another.

Perlite Specifications

Perlite and its specifications

Perlite offers numerous advantages for the various industries in which it is used. Mainly, we are going to focus on the uses of gardening, but it is not bad to review the rest of the utilities to know its full potential.

In industry and construction it is used mixed with mortar to take advantage of its acoustic and thermal properties. It is very good for its lightness and resistance to fire. It is even used in paint as a filler.

In horticulture, perlite is used to modify soils by reducing their firmness and facilitating water drainage and moisture retention. It is also used as a propagation medium for seed plants and in the packaging and storage of bulbs and plants. In addition, it is used in plastics as an extender. If we grind the perlite it can be used for the filtration of oils, fruit juices or other fluids.

Pearlite is totally chemically inactive. It does not absorb water. It is very light (a 135 liter bag is lifted with one hand). It has several applications, mainly in Construction and Agriculture (which includes gardening). Agricultural pearlite is the largest, on average they are granules of about 3 mm.

Germination

Perlite used in pot

Treated perlite is the most common substrate for use with germinators or seedbeds, since its weight and volume allow even the most fragile seedlings to germinate without difficulty. What's more, its high capacity to retain liquids reduces the number of irrigations.

For this reason, perlite is a very useful tool both in gardening and in orchards. If you have a home garden and want to optimize harvests, I recommend using perlite in the substrate.

As you can see, not only for gardening but for many sectors of industry and construction perlite is useful. If you have any questions about it, you can ask in the comments. Have you ever used it for your crops or other uses?


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  1.   Aurelio Martinez said

    I want to know if I can use perlite to prepare a substrate to plant cuttings of succulents and in what proportion.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Aurelio.
      Yes, in fact it is the most advisable.
      If you use peat or mulch, for example, the ratio would be 1: 1, that is, it would have to be mixed in equal parts.
      A greeting.

    2.    Lili said

      Perlite can be used in the mix to make cladding ????

      1.    Monica Sanchez said

        Hello lili.

        Not that I know. But we recommend that you consult with a bricklayer or construction specialist.

        Regards!

  2.   Luis said

    Perlite having a volcanic origin, once expanded and ground 200 mesh and having a large proportion of glass can it be used equally as diatomaceous earth, as an insecticide?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Luis.

      No, it does not serve as an insecticide.
      Diatomaceous earth is made from algae that do have insecticidal properties, so it is used as such.

      Greetings.