Perlite in hydroponics is a porous material that offers superb water retention and drainage properties, which are very important in hydroponic growing. 

Perlite is a sterile and inert growing medium, so it’s safe to use without any risk of attracting pests, which is a constant worry with soil. Perlite was one of the earliest reliable growing media used on a large scale in the horticulture sector.

Perlite in hydroponics is an inorganic, lightweight soil substrate with some advantages as a growing medium. Because it is organic, perlite is stable and tends not to break down or decompose. It will not transfer disease. Its pore structure will exchange the trapped air into the surrounding substrate or soil and transfers the oxygen, which is then made available for uptake by plants through their roots.

Perlite is also pH neutral, having a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5, making it ideal for plants to absorb all the nutrients available. And being lighter than most sand or aggregates, it can improve drainage. The lightweight substance is easy to transport and handle and is very easy for growers to use. 

Perlite is rich in essential elements such as iron, calcium, sodium and various trace elements that cause plants to thrive. 

The Advantages of Perlite for Hydroponic Growing

Horticultural perlite is beneficial in hydroponic growing systems, where plants’ roots are grown in channels nourished by the nutrient solution. This arrangement allows just enough water and oxygen to penetrate the roots. 

According to some in-depth research, plants grown hydroponically with perlite tend to produce a larger crop from the same amount of growing space, providing a far better quality product and yield. Additionally, perlite will not attract unwanted pests or diseases. 

Many hydroponic growers like to combine perlite with other growing media. It works well in deep water culture or Flood and Drain systems, but the smaller size and lower density of the material mean that it tends to float, which is why combining it with heavier media is better.

Perlite combines well with several other substrates, which are larger and heavier. Sometimes it’s mixed with coco coir or vermiculite to ensure that it doesn’t start shifting or even washing away through time.

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