Need a medium that aerates your root zones? Perlite might be for you. (Read more: https://university.upstartfarmers.com/blog/pros-and-cons-of-perlite-in-hydroponics-is-it-for-you)
Hydroponics growers usually look for a growing medium that fits in their equipment (media beds, Bato buckets, ZipGrow Towers, etc.), that's easy to handle, affordable, and if possible, pH neutral and sterile.
Today, we're looking at perlite, a lightweight medium-sized particle made from perlite ore. The substrate creates air pores and even holds oxygen that the plant roots can use, making it a wonderful addition to any substrate that may compact. It can also be used as a primary medium; many Bato bucket (Dutch bucket) growers use perlite as the primary medium for growing tomatoes.
The biggest cons of using perlite are that it can't be used with fish and the dust can be dangerous if inhaled. Finally, while perlite is more coarse than a substrate like sand, it is still granular enough that solids loading and even plant roots can cause clogging.
Our conclusion? Perlite is best for hydroponicists who are using a container to grow (like buckets or beds), need only a small to moderate amount of the substrate, have clean and clear solution, and need something oxygen-friendly. If that's you, it's time to start using perlite.
Like this video? Check out our other playlists on hydroponics and growing materials.
00:15 - How is Perlite made?
00:34 - What is Perlite?
1:10 - Water & air holding capacity
1:39 - Is Perlite renewable?
2:18 - Pros of Perlite
3:21 - Cons of Perlite
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Music by: Scott Gratton