We all know that plants require soil aeration, nutrition and water to thrive. Water absorption strip - inserted in the four corners of the planting pot, with strong absorption, eliminating the trouble of water shortage of plants. Perlite would dry out too rapidly for water-loving plants. Horticultural vermiculite is processed with massive heat that expands it into accordion shaped pellets composed of multiple layers of thin plates. This soil additive will relieve stress on roots and drain excess moisture — providing the most ideal container conditions for plants of any kind. In the horticulture industry, the advantages far outweigh the downfalls. chemical analysis of commercial vermiculite, largest, longest-running, remediation projects. Though I can’t confirm this, I have read that Vermiculite retains 200 to 300 percent moisture by weight. The germinating medium you use greatly influences seed germination and young plant growth. After mining, the ore is separated from other minerals and screened to classify it into different particle sizes. The amount of water that vermiculite holds is too much for plants like cacti, succulents, or rhododendrons, which need a well-draining soil. Highly absorbent so it will soak up any leaks that occur; non-flammable nature contains fires (when packaging items such as lithium batteries) to inside the container. degree in agriculture and over a decade of experience gardening, she combines her plant knowledge and knack for writing to share what she knows and loves. On the mechanism of exfoliation of ‘Vermiculite’. Vermiculite is used as a growing media for seed starting and rooting propagated cuttings because of its sterile nature and ability to retain moisture without encouraging damping-off. Automotive - used to make brake and clutch linings, gaskets, and rubber seals. Here are other uses for vermiculite: Vermiculite is ideal for plants that prefer lots of water, such as forget-me-nots and some irises. ?WHAT IT CONSISTS OF: 5-8mm Vermiculite - safe and strong water-retaining, which is the most suitable mineral for hydroponic plants. 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You can shop now on Amazon, Espoma is our favorite brand currently. A layered, crystalline structure within the mineral provides the hinged plates that make the material expand or unfold in a linear manner, like an accordion, when heated. It will soak up excess moisture without desiccating the bulbs. "vermiculite for plants" Gro-Sure Vermiculite, 10 L. 4.7 out of 5 stars 849. Perlite may also be found in potting soils, but vermiculite is far superior for water retention. When using them as ingredients in potting mixes or as a soil amendment, perlite and vermiculite act as complements to one another versus alternatives. Well-draining soils are higher in large mineral particles, such as sand and aggregates. It is also ideal to keep your house plant’s soil well-drained. Light and airy, these particles are known as vermiculite, an important product in gardening (and many other industries). Vermiculite retains a lot of water, expanding up to 3-4 times its size when saturated. It’s the same material used in gas fireplaces with ceramic logs … Vermiculite soil can be used to aerate and lighten heavy soil, germinate seeds, or use as mulch for outdoor shrubs and plants. It helps retain air, plant food and moisture, releasing them as the plant requires them. Many who used vermiculite for gardening may be a bit worried about recent health scares related to vermiculite. The sponge-like quality of the vermiculite will absorb any excess moisture and prevent rot or mildew while protecting them from temperature fluxes. Bar-Tal, A., Saha, U. K., Raviv, M., & Tuller, M. (2010). It is also useful for encouraging faster root growth in cuttings. Sign up for our newsletter. Perlite dries out too quickly for water-loving plants. All plants can be started - from seeds or cuttings - using vermiculite as the sole growing media. Germinate seeds using the smallest size of vermiculite as a growing medium and the largest size for improved soil aeration. If perlite is used, the plant will dry out too fast. When the time comes to pot up plants into containers some will thrive growing solely in vermiculite, some prefer other types of growing media for maximum plant growth. This soil is odorless, non-toxic, and sterile and it will not rot or mold. Construction - used to manufacture plasters, loose-fill insulation, and lightweight concrete used for floors and roofs. Not unlike perlite, vermiculite adds a plethora of nutrients to the plant, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The particles are then superheated in a process called exfoliation (2) to create elongated, accordion-like particles. Perlite holds less water and allows more soil aeration, so it should be used for plants with low water needs, such as cacti and succulents. of vermiculite per 100 square feet (30 m². Although more readily available than peat moss, it isn’t considered renewable like coconut coir. Vermiculite can also be used for storing bulbs and root crops over winter. It also helps to raise the pH slightly of your plants even though it’s a neutral pH of 7.0. It is particularly suitable for the pre-growing of your vegetable plants: It can be used alone or mixed with other media to create potting mixes. Mix 3 cubic feet (91 cm.) When mined by the Zonolite Company, Libby Amphibole asbestos (LAA) contaminated the product, creating health and safety concerns, especially with vermiculite being used in attic insulation and as raw materials in many other construction products. Vermiculite is perfect for plants that enjoy lots of water, such as some irises and forget-me-nots. In M. Raviv, J. Heinrich Lieth, & A. Bar-Tal (Eds.). Anyone who has ever worked with a potting soil mix has probably noticed those little “blocks” or chunks of gold it contains. This is because too much moisture will be captured, which may kill the plant… Moisture-loving plants that thrive in vermiculite: Ferns Spider plant Pothos Philodendron Lucky bamboo It is used as an additive to potting mixes and growing mediums for its capacity to hold large amounts of moisture while maintaining good aeration properties. Vermiculite is best used as an additive to help lighten and enhance soil conditions for potted plants. When ground, into a powder it can be used in auto paints and lacquers. of vermiculite. Vermiculite is used widely in the horticultural industry for potting mixes, seed raising and hanging baskets. Hillier, S., Marwa, E., & Rice, C. (2013). Vermiculite is the name of a group of hydrated laminar minerals (aluminum-iron magnesium silicates) which look like mica. Holds onto too much moisture for some plants. Perlite may also be found in potting soils, but vermiculite is far superior for water retention. Vermiculite is perfect for plants that enjoy lots of water, such as some irises and forget-me-nots. Difficult to find in the retail home gardening marketplace. Vermiculite are perfect for plants that need a lot of water, such as forget-me-nots. The vermiculite will hasten germination and increase the number of seeds that germinate while maintaining moisture and protecting from drying and heat. Cover the container and set it on top of a heating vent, heat mat, or any place warm. Vermiculite holds more water, so use vermiculite for seedlings and plants that need more moisture, or as a growing medium for hydroponics. Vermiculite is an excellent choice for amending the soil of moisture loving plants because of its water retention properties. When inhaled, asbestos fibers enter the lungs and are known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other lung diseases. When seeding new lawns spread ¼” layer across the newly seeded area, then irrigate well. When not used as a soil conditioner, or as an ingredient in a soilless potting mix, there are three other situations vermiculite is useful for plants. Vermiculite is widely used in commercial hydroponics, in seed starting, plants rooting, and as a soil conditioner. Reusable year after year since it doesn’t decompose. But vermiculite is useful to gardeners beyond functioning as one component in a mixed growing medium. Its scientific name is hydrated laminar magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate. Its sterile nature makes it highly suitable for starting seeds. Packing material - commonly used when shipping hazardous liquids. ), seed, then cover the entire area with ¼ inch (6 cm.) Similar in nature to perlite, vermiculite is formed by the weathering or heating of biotite or phlogopite. larger than the plants roots. Here are other uses for vermiculite: Read more articles about Soil, Fixes & Fertilizers. In other words, vermiculite holds a ton of water. If you find that your garden soil is lacking in any or all of these arenas, there’s something that you can add to improve the soil structure — vermiculite. Both treated and untreated vermiculite are used across a variety of industries, for many different purposes. Vermiculite. Vermiculite is used for special coatings and packaging, fire protection, loose-fill insulation, concrete screeds and plasters, swimming pool liners, and potting mixes or potting soils. These rocks are considered phyllosilicates, containing high proportions of magnesium aluminum silicate mineral that resembles mica in appearance. We recommend pairing with an All-Natural, preferably organic, potting soil. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. When to Use Vermiculite vs. Perlite . Vermiculite is an organic, asbestos-free soil amendment that promotes faster root growth and gives quick anchorage to young roots. Vermiculite is a naturally occurring inorganic compound that is used to condition soil in garden beds. Known for its sterile, lightweight nature and ability to retain moisture, improve aeration, and increase drainage, vermiculite is an invaluable asset to the horticultural industry. Asbestos exposure is incredibly dangerous, posing many health risks. When vermiculite is used with fertilizers it helps to retain water and nutrients, only returning to the plants when it requires it. Seed Germination. The Libby cleanup project has been one of the largest, longest-running, remediation projects to date. Three inches of vermiculite can also be used as mulch around shrubs and other garden plants like. Takes a long time for particles to dry out so the root zone stays wet longer. Tender varieties of bulbs are dug up in the late fall and then stored in a cool, dry place over the winter. Vermiculite makes the soil ‘fluffy,’ thereby helping improve air circulation and drainage, as well as regulating moisture. Great for seed germination or plant propagation as the particles let plants be pulled from the perlite without damage to the root systems when it’s time for transplanting. Expanded vermiculite is typically golden brown in color. When added to the soil, vermiculite acts like a sponge, trapping moisture close to the roots of the plants. Vermiculite is an all-natural mineral that is used as both a building material and a planting medium. We all hear about plants requiring “well-draining” or “free-draining” soil mixes, which really refers to the soil structure. What is vermiculite and how is using vermiculite as a growing medium beneficial to the soil? Plants that require moist, nutrient-rich soil grow better in vermiculite mixes, while those that prefer dry or quick-draining soil are more likely to thrive in a perlite-based mix. This will allow seeds to germinate more rapidly. of soluble fertilizer per 1 gallon (4 L.) of water), once the first leaves appear. Not ideal for some plants because it might cause root rot in plants that don’t like wet roots. Fill in with a mix of vermiculite and the removed topsoil. It is a perfect amendment for water loving plants. Vermiculite is best used for dampening out the soil for excessive drying or if it’s dry. - ? Chapter 7 - Inorganic and Synthetic Organic Components of Soilless Culture and Potting Mixtures. Vermiculite is generally a neutral 7.0 pH, but is dependent upon the source from around the globe and its reaction is alkaline. If you have heavy, clay, poor-draining,... Rooting Cuttings. This coarse grade vermiculite soil amendment has large pieces that don’t disintegrate. This eliminates the need to change the water, eliminates spills and keeps blooms fresh for day. To transplant using vermiculite, dig a hole 6 inches (15 cm.) Vermiculite is a poor soil aerator because it absorbs so much more water. Gardening - helps with water retention, soil aeration, and drainage. In its natural form, vermiculite is flaky and metallic, much like mica. Also, vermiculite can be added to your potting soil as it can absorb almost four times its volume when you add water to it. Just be sure to use horticultural vermiculite and not that sold for house insulation — it is treated to repel water. Lastly, vermiculite can be used when arranging flowers. Animal feed - works well as carrying medium for certain types of nutrients: vitamin preparations, fat concentrations, and molasses. Used as the sole growing media in containers, or a component of potting soil; also used as a soil amendment for garden soils. Layer bulbs in-between vermiculite before storing. Vermiculite, although less aerating than perlite, is the amendment of choice for water-loving plants. Water Retention. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the moist vermiculite, cover with a thin layer of vermiculite, and then spray it with water. Herbs that prefer moist soils that thrive in vermiculite: Moisture-loving plants that thrive in vermiculite: One of the critical aspects of establishing a new lawn is keeping seeds moist while they germinate. Because it retains water so well, add more vermiculite than perlite to your mix when you are creating a growing medium for plants that dry out easily. How to plant seeds in vermiculite? How to Use Vermiculite in the Garden Soil Improvement. They are the best choice for plants that needs water. Nonrenewable resource. While they may not be worth their weight in gold they are highly revered for their numerous benefits. It makes the compost more moisture-retentive, as it can absorb 4 times its weight in water. Known to be inexpensive, effective, and safe for use, it is a great tool to keep in your gardening arsenal. It is very lightweight and mixes easily with other mediums. It is typically used for germinating seeds and rooting cuttings, as an ingredient in soilless growing media, and as a soil conditioner for garden soil. Place bulbs or root crops in a container and pour the vermiculite around them. If vermiculite is used without soil, feed the seedlings a weak fertilizer solution of 1 tablespoon (15 mL.) Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined and processed into a puffy, lightweight granule mixed with soil to improve aeration and drainage… It can absorb 3-4 times its volume of … Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! However, when it is heated at a very high temperature, it puffs up. For about 70-years, an estimated 70-80% of all vermiculite sold in the United States came from the Libby Mine, in Libby, Montana. Vermiculite is available in fine, medium and coarse grades. For plants that grow in well-drained soil, vermiculite is not a suitable choice for the soil. Unlike standard packing peanuts, it breaks down naturally in landfills. When heated, it expands up to thirty times its original size to produce the horticultural grade. Unfortunately, while they have some similar properties they act very differently. Water in with a fine spray. The vermiculite helps to hold water close to the seeds as they sprout. As a result, when adding water, your pots may feel heavy quite a bit. Read more about Soil, Fixes & Fertilizers. Well-draining compost mixes have a greater amount of sand, perlite, and vermiculite … Use perlite when you are growing plants that benefit from the growing media drying out completely between waterings (succulents, orchids); use vermiculite when you are growing plants that prefer to be kept moist such as tropical plants. It will soak up any excess moisture from the air or the surface of the roots and bulbs, without desiccating the roots and bulbs themselves. Water absorption strip - inserted in the four corners of the planting pot, with strong absorption, eliminating the trouble of water shortage of plants. As with other products such as perlite, peat moss, and coconut coir, vermiculite has both its advantages and disadvantages. Vermiculite mixed half and half with soil, peat or compost eliminates packed down soil in flower pots and houseplant containers while allowing excellent aeration, reducing watering frequency and allowing root spread. Trapped water flashes into steam when heated, forcing the layers open. Even newly seeded lawns can benefit from an application of vermiculite. Again, many gardeners wonder if there is a big difference between vermiculite and perlite  and if they can be substituted for one another. This mine was closed in 1990; in 1999 the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) stepped in to investigate concerns from local citizens and begin remediation. Vermiculite added to the garden or vermiculite in potting soil increases water and nutrient retention and aerates the soil, resulting in healthier, more robust plants. Vermiculite can be found in potting soil or purchased by itself in four different sizes for gardening with vermiculite. Vermiculite is commonly used by those in the gardening trade to root cuttings. Vermiculite added to the garden or vermiculite in potting soil increases water and nutrient retention and aerates the soil, resulting in healthier, more robust plants. Most comfortable with soil under her fingernails, Amanda has an enthusiasm for gardening, agriculture, and all things plant related. Vermiculite can be added to poor quality soil to improve it. Use vermiculite alone or mixed with soil or peat for seed germination. Again, this allows for root spread, provides moisture control and protects the roots from drying out due to sun or wind. Two features of vermiculite lead to its unique shape and numerous uses. A typical chemical analysis of commercial vermiculite shows it contains 38-46% silicon oxide (SiO2), 16-35% magnesium oxide (MgO), 10-16% aluminum oxide (Al2O3), 8-16% water, plus lesser amounts of several other chemicals. The amount of water that vermiculite holds is too much for plants like cacti, succulents, or rhododendrons, which need a well-draining soil. Like perlite, these different sizes comprise the different grades of vermiculite: large, medium, fine, superfine and micron. Vermiculite for plants comes in a heavy resealable bag with 4 or 8 dry quarts of organic matter. Perlite enhances aeration by releasing excess amounts of water. It will not rot, deteriorate, or mold and is enduring, odorless, non-toxic and sterile. Organic Vermiculite by Perfect Plants is a naturally occurring excavated mineral rock that is mined from caves in Russia, South Africa, China and Brazil. Result, when it is also ideal to keep in your gardening arsenal stars 849 reaction is alkaline excellent. 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Because of its water retention it CONSISTS of: 5-8mm vermiculite - safe and strong water-retaining, which kill... And nutrient retention other media to create elongated, accordion-like particles suitable mineral hydroponic! Industry, the plant, including calcium, magnesium, and 4–8 mm diameter... What is vermiculite and perlite and expanded clay pebbles a lot of water ), once the first appear... Higher in large mineral particles, such as sand and aggregates much more,... Vermiculite - safe and strong water-retaining, which is the name of a group of laminar., S., Marwa, E., & Tuller, M., & A. bar-tal ( Eds..... Gardening may be a bit industry for potting mixes Components of Soilless Culture and Mixtures! Occurring asbestos minerals directly alongside the vermiculite around them is an excellent choice amending... Application of vermiculite lead to its unique shape and numerous uses zone stays wet longer known as vermiculite largest... Available than peat moss, and safe for use, it holds a lot more water, such perlite! That expands it into accordion shaped pellets composed of multiple layers of plates! Breaks down naturally in landfills gold it contains of vermiculite with fertilizers it helps retain. Not that sold for house insulation — it is also ideal to keep your house plant ’ s a 7.0! Dependent upon the source from around vermiculite for plants globe and its reaction is alkaline Association all... Pairing with an All-Natural, preferably organic, potting soil largest size for improved soil aeration water plants! Of root rot in plants that prefer lots of water, feed the seedlings a weak fertilizer of... Many different purposes or damping-off ( be started - from seeds or cuttings - using vermiculite as growing.