In this video I’d like to talk to you about something Perlite what is it and what do you use it for when you’re growing plants. Well Perlite is a volcanic glass that is mined and then it’s heated to about 1,600 degrees and that makes it expand to about 10 to 13 times its original size. This gives it a funny little irregular shape. If I were to take some here you can see it has a irregular shape. I’m not sure if you can see or not but there’s lots of little holes and little dimples on this Perlite and as I said it’s a very light substance. If you look here you can see that it actually floats in water. It’s lighter than water. Now if we go back to the shape these little dimples in little pockets on the Perlite are important because this is going to allow water to get into them when you water your plants so a Perlite can hold on to the water making it available to your plants but since it’s a glass it does not absorb water, so any excess water that’s not in these pockets it will drain out of your pot.
Why is that important? Most people realize or know that plants need water around their roots but not everyone realizes that oxygen is just about as important as water. You need to have a balance of water and oxygen in your soil for optimal growth and Perlite allows you to have this balance. As I said the little nooks and crannies will hold onto the water so your plants will be able to have enough water but excess water will drain away so that there can be oxygen around your plant roots as well. I would recommend using about a third Perlite in any of your potting mixes to provide good drainage or good aeration. Another use of para light is you can use it to take cuttings so you would use the Perlite, make sure it’s nice and wet so the water will be in lots of these little nooks and crannies. You take your cutting as usual cut the leaves off apply rooting hormone, if you’re going to, and simply put the stem in here making sure that the nodes are underneath the Perlite and make sure it’s always wet and you should have cuttings in about a week or two. I personally prefer using vermiculite instead of Perlite because vermiculite absorbs water and so I think it’s a little bit better to take cuttings but if you’ve never tried using Perlite take cuttings and give it a try. It might work really well for you. You can also use Perlite in large containers, you can also use it outdoors. Let’s see how that works. We’re in my greenhouse now where I have some very large containers and here I have about a hundred fifty year old rubber tree growing here. Since Perlite is very light I recommend adding in two containers that have very large plants in them because many of those dictators and heavier is it’s difficult to move around so if you have some large house plants that are a big container to give some plants out their patio. Consider having a Perlite for the mix of the containers to be much lighter and easier for you to move around. We’re outside now and this is my garden and I have a lot of clay in my soil here. If you live in the northern part of the United States where there were glaciers and you have very sandy soils or sandy soils in general this isn’t gonna help you, but if you have lots of clay in your soil very easy to improve your outside soil simply add a little Perlite mix it in this is going to improve the drainage you’ll have much better growth. So I have a raised bed here that works great in your vegetable garden if you’re gonna plant a tree or any plant outside. If you have a lot of clay in the soil adding some Perlite working it in will improve the drainage and you’ll get better plant growth so consider using Perlite outside if you have a very heavy or clay filled soil