Perlite Vs Vermiculite – Must know for Gardeners

perlite Vs vermiculite

Perlite and Vermiculite are two ingredients that are useful for growing plants in the pot or anywhere else. To aerate your soil, any of these two materials can be added to the soil. They allow a good amount of air to reach the roots and thus they are great and extraordinary rooting mediums.  They are similar as well as different from each other in their own way. They have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Perlite is basically a volcanic rock and vermiculite is a natural mineral. Both of them expand when exposed to heat and that too at high temperature. Due to this property of Perlite and Vermiculite, they are commercially used for gardening purpose and are popular rooting mediums. To understand both the ingredients, you need to have a clear knowledge about them. Here are some facts about Perlite and Vermiculite.

perlite Vs vermiculite

Similar Structure and Property

Perlite is a volcanic glass that is amorphous in nature as it is formed due to the hydration of the obsidian. It has high water content and so when heated to an extent it expands and becomes light weight, which makes it a useful commercial product. It is an industrial mineral whereas Vermiculite is a natural mineral that is formed due to the weathering of biotite or pholgopite. It also expands significantly when heated.



Perlite and Vermiculite differ from each other in the basic functioning. Perlite is best for those plants which require water, but not stagnant water. Perlite allows the excess water to drain but is also capable of retaining lots of moisture in its pores, thus ensuring the right amount of water to the plants.  On the other hand Vermiculite acts like a sponge and thus can retain more water. It has the capability to hold enough moisture near the roots and also holds the nutrients for the plants. Vermiculite releases the absorbed nutrients to the roots of the plant whenever required.


As they have different properties, they are also used for different reasons. If you want a rooting medium for plants that are always thirsty of water, you must opt for Vermiculite. It has a high water retaining ability and so is best for mushroom substrate. On the other hand, Perlite mix is best for plants that grow without much water but needs them occasionally. As the Perlite is hard and porous, it is a great mix to retain the humidity and also provides drainage and enough aeration for your potted plants.

To identify which one among the two is better completely depends on the kinds of plants you are growing.