If you are looking to know about vermiculite vs. perlite then you’re in the right place. In this post, you will get the most relevant

You will be a step advance in your way. Two inorganic soil additives are prevalent in horticulture vermiculite and perlite.

Both of them are created by increasing mineral materials extracted from nature, but their particular uses and properties vary. Perlite is porous and white, having sharp edges. On the other hand,

Vermiculite is softer, brownish, and relatively shiny. Both help lightens and aerates soil mixes, and they are useful in the container plant culture and even mix for seed starting and rooting. Here’s a short video for you to know more.


Perlite and vermiculite originate from different types of rocks. Perlite is a kind of glassy volcanic rock, gray and which has a pearly glow on the surface of the rock. It mostly consists of silica and it has water molecules stuck in this.

Vermiculite originates from 19 types of the micaceous minerals and ores consist of magnesium oxide, iron oxides, alumina, and silica.

The growing properties on heating had been detected in 1824 by Thomas Webb, who heated ore over the candle and saw it change into the elongate forms which were similar to worms. He called this vermiculite from the Italian word for the worm, vermiculus.


Both vermiculite and perlite ores are warmed to increase them into the products of horticultural; however, the procedure for every single differs from the others. Crushed perlite ore is quickly heated up to 1472 -1562 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water stuck in the particles of ore leaps and expands, almost like popcorn, creating round glass bubbles in the particles. The perlite can quickly broaden approximately 15x the original volume. The vermiculite ore is warmed to temperature ranges between 1472 - 2012 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also it extends eight to twenty times in volume. The growth is known as exfoliation and is thought because of the abrupt escape of the water in the form of steam.


Both the products enhance aeration of soil by containing the spaces in the particles which may consist of air so the roots of the plant can get oxygen. The perlite is graded while having the high air porosity and the vermiculite as moderate air porosity.

Some companies provide perlite in various grades fine, medium, and coarse - the coarse propagation quality obtaining the perfect air-filled porosity, accompanied by fine and medium grades.

Because of its more rigid form, you will find more spaces between the perlite particles which supply spaces for the air compared to the supply of smoother vermiculite particles. For expanding plants that require significantly fine drainage, for example, cacti and some other succulents, the perlite provides beneficial conditions


Vermiculite offers much better water-keeping attributes compared to perlite, currently being ranked as having a higher capacity of water-holding compared to perlite in a moderate rating. The smoother vermiculite particles act as dry sponges and absorb water.

The perlite keeps water by keeping this particular in the bubbles. Also, it can drain far away from these spaces quicker considering that the perlite by itself will not absorb the water. For the plants which invariably require more moist soil, for instance, tropical plants, the vermiculite provides far better conditions.


Soil pH is frequently an essential concern in the soil mixes. Both vermiculite and perlite are pH neutral and are not changing the pH of soil mix. They vary in their capability to buffer the changes in pH. The perlite is graded as low in its capability for the streaming of pH, and vermiculite is rated as higher.

Even though both can keep the plant nutrients similar to all those in the soluble fertilizers, the perlite includes a lower grading, and the vermiculite is rated as higher. The perlite adds no ingredients or even chemical substances to the mix of the soil; however, the vermiculite can also add magnesium and potassium.

Vermiculite is additionally utilized in mycology to include humidity to the substrate which will grow mushrooms. Perlite might fall short totally only at that process. Perlite may also be utilized in horticulture or mycology to increase moisture levels.

As the perlite includes more surface, it fosters greater moisture by evaporation off its additional surface area. The vermiculite may not do the job too for this because it would keep much of that water.

Therefore, vermiculite and perlite are identical in which they are able to hold more water compared to some other things, and also they can aerate the soil. However, the vermiculite varies from the perlite since it retains water and can make a soil mix that retains the water, whereas as perlite fosters a proper -draining soil mix.

Similarly, the tendency of vermiculite is to hold water which causes it to be an excellent additive to the mushroom substrates yet a poor candidate for raising the moisture.

Hard and porous nature of the Perlite makes it a fantastic mechanism for raising the moisture of a specific area but also disqualifies this as a candidate for making a substrate which will hold moisture.

Author's Bio: 

Kenvin Clark is a gardening expert. Gardening has always been her passion for years.