Perlite is a versatile product that can be used in many different ways. One of the most common uses for perlite is as an ingredient in potting soil.
Perlite will improve the drainage, aeration, and water retention capability of your potting mix. It also provides extra porosity to help breathe life into plants when they are growing indoors.
However, you should know that there are some downsides to using perlite too – it breaks down quickly, which means you need to replace it often, and if not soaked with water before use, it can create a dusty mess!
But don’t let these drawbacks stop you from considering perlite when planting indoor plants – read on for more information about how this handy material can help make your garden.
Is perlite good for indoor plants?
Perlite can be very beneficial for indoor plants because it improves drainage, aeration, and water retention capability – but when used incorrectly, you run the risk of creating dust particles that will need cleaning!
In order to make sure your garden thrives with perlite:
- do not use excessive amounts in small containers,
- soak perlite before use as dryness leads to breakage,
- leave enough space between plant pots so they don’t touch each other or the sides of their container (to prevent them from sustaining damage),
- keep an eye on soil moisture levels and provide additional watering if necessary.
Can you grow plants in just perlite?
Yes and No. There are some brands that have nutrients in their perlites to ensure they support plant growth even without soil or other medium.
When using a potting medium, ensure the ratio of perlite to potting medium is between 50/50 and 30/70 – not too much, or else your plant will have difficulty absorbing nutrients from the substrate (this could lead to stunted growth).
But also not so little that it does not provide adequate drainage and aeration.
How to use perlite for indoor plants?
The best way to use perlite is to mix it with potting soil.
Plant the seeds or seedling in a tray that has been filled up with this mixture, then cover it with an inch of perlite.
Next, put on another layer of potting medium and finally add around three inches more of perlite over that.
To get the most out of your perlite, you need to start with sterile perlite. This will help prevent the introduction of mold or other fungi that can be harmful to your plants.
It is very easy to sterilize your perlite. Simply add boiling water to the perlite and mix it well.
Moreover, if the perlite in your potting mix starts to dry out, you should add more. You can do this by mixing it with water and pouring a thin layer over the top of the soil.
The key is to make sure there is enough air flow around all sides of each plant so they don’t become too moist on one side or start developing root rot because their roots are deprived of oxygen.
The best perlite for indoor plants is one that has a good drainage rate, doesn’t leach nutrients into your soil (which can lead to stunted growth), and also ensures adequate aeration.
Most importantly, it should be able to hold more moisture than other substrates such as sand and gravel.
As long as you keep track of how much watering you are doing, there should be no issue with adding perlite in order to improve drainage and air circulation around roots inside the pot, which can reduce plant stress levels greatly!
Is too much perlite bad for plants?
Yes. Too much perlite may cause water to drain too quickly and leaching of useful minerals. In general, the ideal amount of perlite to use in a potted plant varies based on the type of plant, size of the pot, and other factors.
Some people might worry that the weight of perlite on top of a pot would cause it to tip over, but this is not likely.
Even if the plants are relatively small and lightweight, they should be able to hold up a few pounds without tipping over as long as there is good drainage underneath them.
In fact, Perlite actually helps soil drain better than other substrates such as sand or gravel because it has more surface area for water to escape from!
What are the disadvantages of perlite?
As you already know, perlite brakes down quickly, so you need to replenish it regularly. However, the only major disadvantage we could find with this type of medium is its lack of nutrients.
Fortunately, there are plenty of fertilizers you can purchase separately if this one deficiency bothers you too much! You may also consider using other alternatives such as peat moss or compost.
What are the advantages of perlite?
Perlite has its fair share of advantages as well. Firstly, Perlite is a lightweight substance that will not add extra weight to your plants as sand or bark would.
It also does not have any sharp edges so it can be used in environments where there are children and pets without the risk of injury.
In addition, perlite has high water retention levels, which means you do not need to constantly water your plants in order for them to stay hydrated!
It offers high levels of aeration, and this is great for plants that are planted in containers. Perlite is also a cheap and easy product to use, costing substantially less than other materials like bark or sand.
4 Best perlite for indoor plants
Here are some of the best perlite medium that you need to consider for your home garden:
Mother Earth Perlite
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Mother Earth Perlite is a lightweight, porous growing media with an average size of 1/2″. Its unique properties make it the best choice for hydroponic and soilless growing applications.
When heated to 1600° F, Mother Earth Perlite expands up to 20 times its original volume without melting or any other chemical attributes changing that would negatively impact your crop.
The high porosity of this expanded perlite makes it easy for plants to breath while holding composting materials near roots. It has nearly no odor which can irritate ‘sensitive nose’ in smaller enclosures such as closets
- Neutral PH
- The largest perlite size
- Provides a good drainage and aeration for plants
- No odor
- You may need to crush the perlites if you want to use them on small pots or germinating plants.
Vigoro Perlite Soil Amendment
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Vigoro Perlite Soil Amendment is an organic, weed-free soil amendment and the perfect solution to dry compost in garden beds.
It improves drainage and aerates potting mixes, which helps develop root strength. Use Vigoro perlite with vegetables or flowers where it’s used primarily as a soil improver.
This perlite is registered by OMRI for use in earth-friendly gardening applications where they help prevent soil compaction to improve growing conditions while also reducing water absorption through a protective layer of air pockets on top of the mixture.
- Pure perlite- no additives
- Medium-sized perlite
- No added nutrient – can’t support plant growth on its own
Therm-O-Rock Perlite is a soil amendment that protects gardeners, landscapers, and farmers from many of the common problems associated with high clay soils, such as holding too much water and being too dense to be amended.
Therm-O-Rock Perlite is made of lightweight, porous materials that are ideal for many types of soilless growing environments.
When mixed with soil, it fills planting holes faster than peat moss, retains moisture more effectively, provides excellent aeration, and releases air as plants grow for superb root growth.
- medium-coarse perlite grains
- It lightens the soil
- supports root growth
- It may appear dusty
Horticultural Perlite is unique in that it provides aeration and drainage, yet retains and holds substantial amounts of water.
It can also be mixed with potting soil or other media to increase nutrient holding capacity when using water-soluble fertilizer.
It doesn’t easily crush delicate root systems, making it ideal for growing infant lettuce plants. It is also completely sterile, meaning it is free of diseases as well as insects that may affect your plant growth.
- Ideal for delicate plants
- Great nutrient holding capacity
- weed free
- Comes in small boxes, which may not be enough for ‘heavy users’
Perlite is a safe and effective medium for many types of plants. It also has the ability to moderate soil temperature, which can be very beneficial in heated greenhouses or large outdoor gardens.
However, it is important to note that not all perlite contain natural ingredients and nutrients necessary to enhance plant growth. You therefore need to mix perlite with growth mediums like soil and peat moss.
Our best pick is the Mother Earth Perlite. This product has a large perlite size, which provides excellent drainage and aeration, making it ideal for all plant types.