Perlite and vermiculite are two popular mineral-based additives widely used in gardening, horticulture, and construction due to their unique properties.
Perlite is a lightweight volcanic glass that is formed when obsidian, a natural volcanic glass, is heated rapidly. It has a white or grayish color with a porous structure. Perlite is extensively used in gardening and horticulture as a soil amendment. Its lightweight nature improves soil aeration, drainage, and water retention, preventing soil compaction and providing better root development for plants. Perlite is often mixed with potting soil to enhance its structure and improve plant growth. Additionally, it is used in insulation, as it has excellent thermal and sound insulation properties.
Vermiculite, on the other hand, is a hydrated laminar mineral that expands when heated. It is typically brown or golden in color and has a soft and spongy texture. Vermiculite is commonly utilized in gardening as a soil conditioner and growing medium. Due to its ability to retain moisture, it helps prevent soil from drying out too quickly, providing a stable water supply for plants. Vermiculite also aids in nutrient retention and promotes root growth. Besides gardening, vermiculite has many uses in insulation, fireproofing, and as a lightweight aggregate in construction materials.