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 Perlite: yay or nay?

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Number of posts : 111
Location : Australia
Registration date : 2012-11-07

PostSubject: Perlite: yay or nay?   Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:49 pm

Does anyone have an opinion on the use of perlite as a component of potting mixture for cacti?
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Calm and Collected

Number of posts : 268
Location : Melbourne
Registration date : 2009-03-14

PostSubject: Re: Perlite: yay or nay?   Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:57 pm

I think it is great for aerating soil and I use a lot but mainly because e don't have diatomite or other alternatives here. You can get it easily and in specific sizes. It also makes the pots lighter for handling and can be crushed by the taproots as they expand so there are still air spaces in the soil.
The probs are the dust is really very evil and irritates lungs, eyes even skin, so it must be damp when used. It is not carcinogenic like asbestos because it is amorphous as opposed to crystalline, it is actually heated basalt rock that puffs like popcorn at high temps and becomes a type of glass. Also if there is no top dressing then it will float to the top of the soil when you water so you need about 2cm of gravel on top to hold it down.
Other issues are the energy used to mine and pop it and the possibility of it blowing around in the wind and becoming litter. It lasts for ages in the environment so getting rid of old soil becomes an issue.
One last issue is that it has trace amounts of fluoride that can damage leaves on susceptible species like yucca and dragon trees but cacti have no problem wit it..
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Number of posts : 111
Location : Australia
Registration date : 2012-11-07

PostSubject: Re: Perlite: yay or nay?   Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:11 pm

Thanks cryptocarpa for your input.
Good to know it's not carcinogenic, that's a bonus, prefer not to die slowly and painfully if it can be avoided.
I have used it once on an emergency pot up and the plant in question seems happy enough. I thought it would be alright for some repotting but was wanting to check what others thought of using it also. Very happy to hear you echo my thoughts on it's usage.
Now if I can just get control of the nasty brown scale infestation which I noticed on several plants all will be good in my world. Horrible nasty stuff. I didn't get a chance to have a full inspection so tomorrow will show the extent of the problem.
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Number of posts : 1824
Location : NSW
Registration date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: Re: Perlite: yay or nay?   Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:49 pm

Good info I will move to a better home Smile


My Cacti Blog, please come visit me.


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