How To Use Perlite For Succulents

There are a tonne of recipes online. Most people start with either standard potting soil or the soil mix sold in bags for succulent plants. If you decide to create your own blend, use ordinary potting soil free of additives. We’ll go over additional components to include when amending or creating your own succulent potting soil.

Succulent growth medium frequently gets the following additions:

Fine Sand

Improved soil drainage results from using coarse sand in amounts of 50 to 30 percent. Avoid using materials with fine textures, such as play sand. A higher sand content may be advantageous for cacti, but it must be coarse sand.

PerlitePerlite is frequently used in succulent-growing mixtures. This product improves drainage and promotes aeration, although it is light and frequently floats to the top when watered. Use between 1/3 and 50% when mixing with potting soil.


Turface is a calcine clay product and soil conditioner that delivers aeration, oxygen, and moisture monitoring to the soil. It has the consistency of pebbles and does not compact. Although it goes by the brand name Turface, the phrase “product” is also frequently used to describe it. used as a top dressing as well as an ingredient in succulent soil mixes.

PumicePumice is a volcanic substance that may store nutrients and moisture. Some people utilise significant amounts of pumice. Some growers report successful trials when using only pumice. But using this kind of material necessitates more regular watering. Depending on where you live, you might need to order this item.

Coconut CoirUnlike other goods that might not absorb water well after the initial soaking, coconut coir, which is made from the shredded husks of the coconut, offers drainage qualities and can be repeatedly wet. Coir, which is pronounced “core,” was never brought up before to the typical succulent grower. Coir is a component of at least one well-known distributor of succulents’ peculiar mix. I have healthy plants in my nursery and use a mixture of 1/3 normal potting soil (the inexpensive variety), 1/3 coarse sand, and 1/3 coir.

To how much potting mix should I put perlite?

To promote better water retention in their soil and to make potting soil looser over time, many potting soil manufacturers incorporate perlite. The enlarged perlite’s porous surface allows for the passage of both air and water, which is advantageous for root growth among other things. Between 5 and 35% are added to the potting soil, depending on the soil’s intended use. The percentage of perlite in the substrate is higher in succulent soil.

Perlite can be utilised mostly on soils that have trouble holding onto moisture in the private garden area. This primarily refers to sandy soils or those that are in regions where there is insufficient precipitation. Perlites can be added to plants that require a lot of watering (deep-rooted plants) to assist prevent damage from water shortages (especially on hot days). Most of the time, adding 10 to 20 percent perlite to garden soil is sufficient.

How should perlite be applied to plants?

The characteristic that sets perlite apart from other volcanic glasses is that it expands from four to twenty times its original volume when heated to a sufficient point in its softening range. Perlite enhances clay soil’s texture while accelerating germination and roots, improving aeration, drainage, and insulation in potting mixes.

A siliceous rock that occurs naturally is known as perlite. It can swell from four to twenty times its original volume when heated. This is caused by the water in perlite rapidly expanding, which is how the incredibly light perlite for gardening is made.

Perlite is mostly used by gardeners to improve compost blends and assist with water retention and aeration.

The world over, perlite is expanded and mined. According to estimates, crude and expanded perlite are both produced and used mostly in the United States. Other nations that produce perlite, nevertheless, include China, Greece, Mexico, Japan, Hungary, Armenia, Italy, and Japan.

  • stops compaction
  • greater improvement in aeration and drainage than vermiculite
  • encourages the initiation of roots and strong growth
  • holds moisture without getting mushy
  • pH is almost neutral.
  • does not break down
  • free of weeds, parasites, and diseases
  • minimises temperature changes by insulating
  • sterile, inert, and inorganic
  • No recognised toxicity or fire risk

Seeds should be sown on a well-watered mixture of perlite and sphagnum moss peat in equal amounts. Alternately, mix 2 parts of ready-mixed potting compost with 1 part perlite.

Keep moist at all times by intermittent misting or capillary irrigation for pure use. After planting, cover seeds with glass or plastic, sprinkle them with a thin layer of fine peat to preserve moisture until germination, and then feed them.

Potting Composts In potting compost mixtures, perlite is used to enhance aeration, drainage, and insulation. The structure of ready-mixed loam or peat-based composts can be opened up with perlite.

Use 3 or 4 parts Sphagnum Moss Peat to 1 part perlite (80/20) for soilless compost blends.

Use sterilised loam, peat, and perlite in an identical ratio (1:1:1) along with limestone and nutrients for loam-based compost mixtures. An alternative is to use a 1:2:1 mixture. Mix well, then after planting, water well and feed as necessary. Cuttings and Rooting Perlite facilitates uprooting, lowers the chance of damping off, offers the ideal amount of air and water, and almost eliminates water logging. Additionally, it lessens the effects of transplanting’s root damage and growth interruption.

Use a 50/50 mixture of perlite and sphagnum moss peat for cuttings with soft stems and leaves. Increase the perlite to peat ratio up to 4 parts perlite to 1 part peat (80/20) for tougher cuttings and delicate plants.

Where sterility is required, perlite can be used completely for mist irrigation. Water regularly, but watch for free drainage. Feed plants as soon as their roots start to grow. Conditioning the soil By enhancing aeration and drainage, perlite enhances the texture of heavy silt or clay soils. Additionally, it lessens the propensity to “cap” germination of seeds. These enhancements will be around for a long time.

Use up to 25% perlite worked into the top 5–10 cm of challenging seedbeds and flower beds before sowing.

Mix perlite with the soil before backfilling the planting hole for trees, shrubs, and roses to encourage root growth.

Grass dressing Perlite will help the air-moisture balance and ensure greater root development and turf growth since it enhances aeration and drainage. Perlite-treated golf course greens will be more resilient and tolerant of use in both wet and dry harsh weather situations.

Use the following for establishing new turf or compacted and poorly drained areas on old turf: Spread a thin layer (2–5 mm) of damp perlite that has already been fertilised with the appropriate fertiliser over the damaged region by spiking it with a hollow tine. Brush or rake evenly, then thoroughly water. Remember that a 100-litre bag of perlite would typically cover 50 square metres with a 2mm layer.

hydroponics, capillary watering, and NFT The inert, sterile, neutral, ultra-lightweight aggregate known as perlite has a very high ability to contain both air and water. Perlite should be treated with any proprietary chemical steriliser, steam, flame, or flame gun to sterilise it for reuse.

Perlite should be used in place of sand or gravel at least 25mm (1 inch) deep in polythene-lined benches or appropriate trays for capillary watering.

Use perlite in a trench or channel that is coated with polythene, then saturate it with nutrient solution to grow tomatoes in rings and at a low cost for commercial output. Special Instructions: To prevent overheating while using electrical heating cables, combine perlite and sand 50/50.

What type of soil mixture is ideal for succulents?

Every soil mixture contains both organic and mineral components. Mineral matter, such as clay, silt, and sand, support soil drainage, whereas organic matter, such as humus and decomposing plant tissue, serves to retain moisture in the soil and give nutrients to the plant.

Because succulents can withstand drought and don’t require constant watering, their potting soil should be permeable, well-draining, and contain less organic matter than typical indoor soil mixtures. Ideal soil is a loose, granular mixture with a good amount of sand and perlite or pumice.

What drawbacks does perlite have?

Perlite offers advantages and disadvantages as a growing media, much as many other products. In this instance, the benefits vastly outweigh the drawbacks, increasing its acceptance in the horticultural sector.


  • It is ideal for beginning seeds because of its sterility. Root decay and damping off are not common problems. [2]
  • It contains the nutrients necessary for plant development.
  • a non-toxic substance that doesn’t need to be rinsed before use, unlike some other growing media.
  • It is not necessary to alter neutral pH, and when combined with other ingredients, it won’t affect the pH of the mixture as a whole.
  • It can be combined with other material or used alone to make potting mixtures.
  • The particles make it possible to pluck plants from the perlite without damaging their root systems when it comes time for transplantation, making it ideal for seedling germination or plant propagation.
  • Because it doesn’t break down, it can be used repeatedly.
  • Perlite is a cost-effective alternative; it costs roughly $4 or $5 less per cubic foot than sand.
  • Simple to produce and widely accessible.


  • Water can immediately drain away. Due to its enormous surface area and amorphous volcanic glass composition, perlite may store water in the nooks and crevices found there, but not securely.
  • Perlite is so light that it can be blown away and has a tendency to float in excess liquid.
  • unrenewable resource It isn’t regarded as renewable like coconut coir, despite being more widely available than peat moss.
  • Both respiratory issues and ocular irritation can be brought on by dust. Wearing protective gear, such as goggles and a mask, will help you operate with perlite while limiting your exposure to dust.

Can I cover dirt with perlite?

In order to maintain a loose, well-draining soil structure without running the danger of compaction over time, perlite is frequently included in potting soil and soilless mixes (especially for indoor seed starting).

Perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss (or coco coir) can be combined in equal amounts to create a simple, hygienic seed starting mixture that promotes healthy seedling growth and lowers damping off disease.

Additionally, it can be used to grow plant cuttings. You can root your cutting in a tiny jar filled with moistened perlite rather than just water if you want.

The same is true for seeds: only start them in moistened perlite, or use moistened perlite-filled baggies to evaluate the germination of older seeds (as an alternative to the coffee filter method of starting seeds).

Raking in a 2-inch layer of perlite into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil, while also amending the soil with compost and other nutrients, can improve drainage in raised beds or in-ground garden beds that struggle with cakey clay soil.

A single application of perlite can maintain the planting bed light and loose for several years because it doesn’t decompose. When I was gardening in Southern California, I used it as my “secret ingredient” since I needed more than simply compost to break up the hard clay clods in our beds.

Some (but not all) bagged potting and garden soils gain from the addition of extra perlite.

Think about deep-rooted plants like carrots and daikon—you’ll see how my prior clay soil was known for producing goofy, topsy-turvy carrots—whose roots are more productive when they aren’t forced to drive down into compacted, compressed soil.

Additionally, I enjoy adding additional perlite to my garlic planting areas in the fall since it prevents the bulbs from becoming flooded in the winter and spring. In the week or two before your garlic crop is ready for harvest, perlite also aids in soil drying.

I always have perlite on hand because it is a necessary soil conditioner, and I purchase several bags each year because I can never seem to utilise enough of it.

Be mindful that lower-grade perlite, and occasionally inexpensive perlite with lax quality control, can get dusty (especially as you get to the bottom of a bag).

Wear a dust mask and goggles when working with perlite if you’re sensitive to airborne fine particles. (I prefer to keep both of these things in my arsenal for gardening. For fashionable reusable mask choices I possess for handling dusty gardening tools, see my sites listed below.)

Before repotting succulents, should you water them?

Repotting a succulent is necessary if its roots are cramming the container or if it needs to grow larger for any other reason.

Early spring or early fall, just before their growing season begins, are the ideal times of year for repotting succulents.

Since they can only remain in a pot for two years before beginning to exhibit signs of potted fatigue, which can eventually result in root rot and other issues, repotting should always be done at least every two years.

Before being repotted, succulents need to be watered for a few days to allow them to dry out.

This is due to the fact that when you water them, they do absorb moisture, and that should give your succulents’ roots enough time to absorb all possible moisture before being replanted.

Additionally, it is important to do this to give them time to become used to their new pot and soil, which is a little bit drier than their previous environment.

Your succulents must dry out for a few days before you may clear the old soil from the roots with water while repotting them.