Perlite for Plants & Soil (12 Critical Questions Answered)

Pelite is obtained naturally because of the hydration of obsidian. It is made up of amorphous volcanic gas and has high water content. Perlite is a naturally occurring substance with different properties that expands when heated at 1000 degrees Celsius. The question is, how does it perform when used for gardening?

Perlite has numerous benefits, such as being indispensable for gardening. Mixing it with soil ensures that the roots get proper airflow for plants. Its lightweight properties ensure increasing the water draining capacity of the soil to allow the roots to breathe.

Frequently Asked Questions About Perlite

With this blog we answer some of the most prominent perlite related questions which will offer you deeper insights about what is perlite and how to use it.

Is perlite the same as vermiculite?

Both perlite and vermiculite are different soil additives, though their properties aren’t the same. Unlike perlite, vermiculite is less absorbent, thus prone to leaking moisture due to its low porosity. Perlite is said to store water in all its cracks and crevices.

Do you mix Perlite with soil?

Perlite is considered very useful for adding it into the soil. When mixed with the soil, it reduces the weight of the big pots and overcomes water logging issues. In turn, the plant’s root system receives more oxygen and water, making it a blessing for soil.

Can I put Perlite on top of the soil?

Mixing Perlite with topsoil is considered okay because it behaves like a moisturizing agent mixed with topsoil. Considering coarse, Perlite is favorable for topsoil and fine Perlite, and they can fly out in strong winds and float in the excess water.

Does Perlite contain nutrients?

Perlite is made up of silicon (Si). It can create the ideal environment for the plants and helps in water retention in the root zone. Hence it is very beneficial for the plants by providing oxygen in the root system without nutrients.

Which plants need Perlite?

Perlite is a material used to increase the ventilation and drainage of the soil. Therefore, it is beneficial for plants that do not need much water and need more oxygen from the roots. Hence, Perlite is mainly used for succulent plants like shrubs, cactus, and roses.

How much Perlite to add to compost?

The ratio of mixing of Perlite to the compost depends on various things like type of plant, nature of the soil, type of compost, and atmospheric/climatic conditions. Generally, the ratio of mixing the Perlite to the compost is 1:2. 

Does Perlite improve drainage?

Yes, Perlite can improve the drainage of the soil. It can filter and drain. The pores present in the Perlite help the water to drain out. If your soil is packed down and water doesn’t drain out, then Perlite is very useful for that kind of soil.

How long does Perlite hold water?

The water holding capacity of Perlite depends on the size of its particle. The water holding capacity of the soil is inversely proportional to the size of the particle. If the particles are small, then it has water for more time than the larger particles.

Does Perlite dissolve in water?

Perlite does not have a water holding capacity. That’s why it is commonly used at places like in the filtration process, mixing it into the soil to increase the drainage capacity of the soil. In addition, it can be reusable, which means it does not dissolve in the water.

Does Perlite hurt plants?

Mixing Perlite to the soil can increase the drainage and ventilate the soil, which provides an extra amount of oxygen to the plant’s root system. It can also decrease the complexion of the clay soil. Hence, the Perlite does not harm the plants.

Does perlite harm worms?

It is untrue that perlite harms worms because it resolves water logging issues, thus making way for worms, including earthworms. And worms are much more vital to be damaged by perlite. So add perlite without worrying much about the worms because they still will stay alive.

What does Perlite look like?

Perlite is a form of volcanic gas that is solid in substance. When it is heated at 1000 degrees celsius, then it may increase its volume many times. Perlite is a lightweight granular material with white color. It looks and feels similar to polystyrene(like foam).


If you are looking for a good soil additive, then perlite is the best option for you. This is because it does not contain any harmful substances, which makes it more beneficial for the plants and the soil, thus leaving no adverse effects on the plants. The reason is that many professional gardeners recommend its use to increase blooms in your garden.