A Gardener’s Guide to Perlite

Perlite mineral Stone in petri dish on white background

Whether you’re a beginning gardener or a seasoned green thumb, you want your garden to flourish. The type of soil you use contributes to a healthy garden. Perlite is a natural mineral found in many types of soil sold in garden stores and nurseries. Next time you purchase soil, look for tiny, white balls in the mixture. Those are perlite. Discover how gardeners use this beneficial mineral. Also, checkout ways you can use perlite to make your garden the best it can be.

 

How Gardeners Use Perlite

 

Aeration

 

Garden soil needs to absorb sunlight, water, and oxygen in order for the roots of plants to grow. This means the soil must be aerated. Perlite holds pockets of air which help to keep the soil aerated and roots healthy.

 

Drainage

 

The soil in any garden should be well-draining. Well-drained soil prevents roots of plants from rotting. Gardeners use soil with perlite mixed in because it helps in the draining process. Perlite filters out excess water, so a garden is able to flourish.

 

Root Growth

 

Oftentimes, gardeners will sprinkle perlite in their garden because they know it prompts root growth. Perlite combined with water gives gardeners an advantage in growing plants with strong roots.

 

Tips for Using Perlite

 

Protect Seeds

 

Gardeners find perlite useful when planting new seeds. After planting seeds in the soil, sprinkle perlite over the surface. The perlite helps to protect your newly planted seeds from birds that are looking for a quick meal. Seedlings have no trouble breaking through a layer of perlite because it’s so lightweight.

 

Growing Seeds in Pots

 

Perlite can also help seeds grow in pots. Perlite mixed into the soil plays a valuable part in root growth.

 

Growing Cuttings

 

Gardeners use perlite when they want to grow plants from cuttings. Perlite can help roots to grow which is exactly what’s needed when trying to build your supply of plants from cuttings.

 

Nurture Potted Flowers

 

Gardeners that keep small pots of flowers use perlite to help with drainage. Put a sprinkle of perlite in the bottom of each pot to help the water drain out every time the flower gets a drink!

 

Nurture Raised Beds in a Garden

 

Gardeners who keep raised beds of plants use perlite to aerate heavy soil. For instance, if a gardener has raised beds filled with clay soil, the perlite can help with aeration to keep those plants healthy.

 

Grow Succulents and Orchids

 

Using perlite to grow succulents and orchids is another tip followed by gardeners. In fact, using a mixture of half soil, half perlite can help these types of plants to grow.

 

Safely Store Bulbs for the Winter

 

Perlite is used by gardeners to keep their bulbs healthy over the winter, so they’ll be ready for spring planting. A gardener will put one layer of perlite in a container, then put a bulb on it. Next, the gardener covers the bulb with perlite and adds another bulb and so on. Storing the container of bulbs and perlite in a dark, dry area of a shed or garage helps to keep the bulbs intact for spring.

 

Nourish the Lawn

 

Perlite is a secret ingredient many gardeners use in their garden as well as on their lawn. Sprinkling perlite on a lawn improves aeration of the soil allowing oxygen, water, and sunlight to reach the roots of the grass. This helps contribute to a healthy lawn.

 

Lastly, perlite serves as a useful amendment to soil in gardens, raised beds, pots and window boxes. One of the best things about perlite is it’s relatively inexpensive while being a great investment for a garden. Adding perlite to your soil mixture gives your seedlings the advantage they need to grow into sturdy plants.