Vermiculite

What is Vermiculite?

Vermiculite is a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral which undergoes significant expansion when heated. Exfoliation occurs when the mineral is heated sufficiently, and commercial furnaces can routinely produce this effect. Vermiculite forms by the weathering or hydrothermal alteration of biotite or phlogopite.

Advantages:

1.      Very light in weight

2.     Helps with aeration inside the pots.

3.     Helps with better water retention.

4.     PH neutral (or close to neutral)

5. Great for germination mixes.

Disadvantages:

  1. Has minimum nutritional value
  2. It’s a nonrenewable resource. Hence we need to use it wisely.
  3. Cannot be used independently. Has to be used with other soil growing mediums.

Cost Benefit Analysis:

Where the native soil is heavy or sticky, gentle mixing of vermiculite—up to 15% of the volume of the soil—is recommended. This creates air channels and allows the soil mix to breathe. Mixing vermiculite in flower and vegetable gardens or in potted plants will provide the necessary air to maintain vigorous plant growth. Where soils are sandy, mixing of vermiculite into the soil will allow the soil to hold the water and air needed for growth. Vermiculite is also not very expensive and can  be bought easily. Vermiculite is definitely better than perlite when it comes to water retention. But like perlite it is also a natural non renewable resource and needs to be used carefully.

Published by Reema

Blogger | Gardner | Entrepreneur

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