How Perlite Is Used for Hydroponic Gardens
Vegetables Grow Best with Perlite
During the wintertime, the most avid horticulturists and home gardeners turn to greenhouses to grow their plants and crops. There are a couple of ways they can ensure their plants have the best chance of growing. One method is hydroponics: a method of growing without soil by using water fortified by mineral nutrient solutions. Perlite is a popular choice for hydroponic gardens.
What Is Horticultural Perlite?
To see why perlite is important for hydroponic gardens, it’s helpful to take a look at the benefits of horticultural perlite. This mineral is a lightweight, non-organic, soil substrate that provides a number of important benefits, including:
- Inorganic: Perlite is stable and doesn’t decompose or break down. It also doesn’t transfer disease.
- Neutral pH: Perlite’s pH range is 6.5 to 7.5—the ideal zone for most plants to absorb nutrients.
- Light Weight: Perlite is lighter than grit or sharp sand, pumice, or other aggregates—which can also be used to improve drainage in a garden bed. It is easier to handle products for manufacturers and makes it easier for home gardeners to work with.
- Rich in Nutrients: Perlite supplies iron, sodium, calcium, and other trace elements.
The Benefits of Perlite for Hydroponic Gardens
Horticultural perlite is particularly beneficial for hydroponic gardens. In hydroponic systems, roots are grown in troughs of perlite which are supplied with a fertilizer/nutrient solution. This allows the right amount of water and oxygen to get to the roots. According to research, plants grown hydroponically with perlite produce a heavier crop for the space, providing a better quality product. In addition to the benefit of increasing crop, perlite does not attract pests or diseases, and it can easily be replaced. Its pH provides the ideal zone for most plants to absorb nutrients that can be added to the water mixture.
Common plants grown hydroponically with perlite include:
- Tomatoes are less prone to splitting when grown hydroponically with perlite than if they were grown in soil.
- Lettuce grown hydroponically with perlite often results in larger and better-shaped heads and nearly always in a lower incidence of tipburn.
- Strawberries require a large amount of oxygen in the root zone, and perlite’s high porosity helps maintain that ideal environment.
Request Your Free Sample of Perlite
Whether you’d like to improve your hydroponic garden or your outdoor crops, perlite could be your horticulture solution. Call our knowledgable professionals at 866-728-3303 to learn how perlite can help you and to request your free sample.