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Perlite is a unique volcanic mineral which expands from four to twenty times its original volume when it is quickly heated to a temperature of
approximately 1600-1700 degrees F. This expansion is due to the presence of two to six percent combined water in the crude perlite rock which causes the perlite to pop in a manner similar to that of popcorn.
When expanded, each granular, snow-white particle of perlite is sterile with a neutral pH and contains many tiny, closed cells or bubbles.
The surface of each particle is covered with tiny cavities which provide an extremely large surface area. These surfaces hold moisture and nutrients and make them available to plant roots. In addition, because of the physical shape of each particle, air passages are formed which provide optimum aeration and drainage. Because perlite is sterile, it is free of disease, seeds, and insects.
Perlite has been used for many years throughout the world for soil conditioning and as a component of growing mixes with materials such as peat moss or bark. Extensive studies have shown that the unique capillary action of perlite makes it a superior growing media for hydroponic cultures.
Among the many uses of perlite today are propagation and seed cultivation, plug production and transplants, interiorscape and planter growing, composting, hydroponic cultures, turf and lawns, and around shrubs, trees, and landscaping.