What is Vermiculite?
Vermiculite is the name of a group of hydrated laminar minerals (aluminum-iron magnesium silicates) which look like mica. Horticultural vermiculite is processed with massive heat which expands it into accordion shaped pellets composed of multiple layers of thin plates. It will not rot, deteriorate, or mold and is enduring, odorless, non-toxic and sterile.
What Is Vermiculite Used For?
Vermiculite is used around the world in the construction, agriculture dan horticulture industry. It is also used for fireproof, thermal insulation and packaging for dangerous goods.
In the agriculture and horticulture industry, it is added to the garden or in potting soil to increase water and nutrient retention as well as to aerate the soil in aims to have healthier and more robust plants.
Other uses of vermiculite are as follows: –
- For conditioning and lightening by adding vermiculite (by itself or with peat or compost) to soil. This will accelerate the growth and promote anchorage for tender young root systems.
- As growing medium that will enable the plant to more easily absorb the nutrients such as ammonium, potassium, calcium and magnesium that is crucial for vigorous growth.
- Used directly for root cuttings. Just water thoroughly and insert the cutting up to the node.
- For seed germination (used by itself or mixed with soil or peat). This allows seeds to germinate more rapidly. Damping off is thwarted since vermiculite is sterile and the seedlings are easily removed without damage to the roots.
- For elimination of packed down soil in flower pots and houseplants when vermiculite is mixed half and half with soil, peat or compost to allow excellent aeration, reduction of watering frequency and enable root spread.
- For transplant to allow roots to spread, ensure moisture control and protect the roots from drying out due to sun or wind.
- For absorption of excess moisture and prevention of rot or mildew. Place bulbs or root crops in a container and pour the vermiculite around them and it will protect them from temperature fluxes.
- For flower arrangements. When the container is filled with vermiculite and have sufficient water, the need to change water is eliminated. Risk of spills is reduced and blooms are kept fresh for days.