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Are you sure Perlite is anything to do with polystyrene ? After using it  broken up  in my compost for drainage I was told that these two products couldnt be more opposit . I was told polystyrene is a man made product where as pearlite is a natural volcanic discovery product ?

Now I'm confused! 


Interesting, seems I need to check more, thank you - I thought vermiculite was, is, the natural one and is volcanic - better information need methinks. 

Hi Bookertoo, Ithink I'm going to go with - '' If it does the job then use it '' - none of us can get wrong if we go along with that !  or can we !?


I reckon you are right there lucky3, I'll stick to vermiculite as I have been using it for years and am used to it - seems the best way to go about anything really!

Perlite is made from a naturally occuring volcanic glass which is heated to about 800 degrees when the moisture in the rock causes it to expand rather like popcorn forming little air bubbbles.  It is completely inert but good for both aeration and holding moisture I find it to be superior to the flaked silica of vermiculite as it is much longer lasting in heavy soils



gerrya -  isn't it interesting how different people have different experiences with the same thing?  I have always found that, for me, perlite is the one that deteriorates and goes to powder inthe compost, wheras vermiculite remains inert for donkeys years!!  Guess it doesn't really matter, neither appears to be made in a chemical laboratory and that will do for me, meanwhile we will stick to the product we know best.  Happy, albeit very wet, gardening to all - with perlite or vermiulite as the fancy takes you. 

HI folk,  interesting discussion with reference to vermiculite containing asbestos there cases of vermiculates that do contain traces of asbestos (tremolite) which is mined in Libby Montana and has been subject to a lot of debate in America.

However, generally vermiculite is an inert substance which has been processed to ensure it is safe to use.  If you are concerned I suggest that you check the manufacturers safety data sheet which will clarify the contents and aspects of the material.  This will be free available on the manufactures web-site and should put your minds at rest.


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