No access to perlite, are there any substitute?

Discussion in 'Basic Growing' started by extremeswagster, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. extremeswagster

    extremeswagster Registered+


    i really need to replant my plants into bigger pots.

    There are no stor selling perlite nearby, can i use some other medium to give the plants a nice envoirment ?

    will clay pebbles work ??
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  2. GigaBud

    GigaBud Registered+

    Order it from amazon......
  3. extremeswagster

    extremeswagster Registered+

    Can't amazon delivery is like 3 weeks.

    My plants are already growing out of their boxes
  4. Farang

    Farang Registered+

    yup. expanded clay balls will help but some think they have a pH of 8 and that could throw things off for you. I'm not sure I believe that but I've stopped using them in the soil and use them as a mulch on the top of the soil. using them that way massively increases the roots in the top 1/3 of the container and this is a good thing, IMHO.

    I've been thinking of getting away from perlite, too, but really haven't found a substitute other than rice husks and I'm not convinced about them, yet. I am experimenting with them in the veggie garden, mostly. I'm currently experimenting with them in seedling bags. I can't offer an opinion now. I just planted the seeds yesterday.

    any move into new medium will help your plants in the short term regardless of the drainage of that medium. perlite is useful when you're dealing with soil compaction. if you're using a light, airy soil or soil-less mix, you might not need perlite or anything.

    you can use lava rocks or pumice stone. I just find them expensive.

    you might check an aquarium store. lots of pretty rocks available there and they'll serve the same purpose: aeration.

    best of luck!
  5. Shovelhandle

    Shovelhandle Registered+

    If one has no access to grow amendments such as perlite (one of the most common, found in every hardware store I visit) and can't use a delivery system (government mail, UPS, Fed Ex), then I have no idea of a DIY solution as I imagine coco coir or any other materials would also be difficult to find. Let us know what ever you come up with, where ever it is you are. good luck
  6. seraphoguz

    seraphoguz Registered+

    I couldn't find any difference between perlite and pumice stone.Both are volcanic,holding water and good for aeretion.
    And instead of perlite,it doesn't float up to the top layer of soil with each watering.
    Can be used at the same ratio as perlite.
  7. seraphoguz

    seraphoguz Registered+

    I just learned that pumice stone can effect the PH of the soil,apologies for the comment above.They're just a noob's words ;)
  8. extremeswagster

    extremeswagster Registered+

    Found it!

    The store didnt name it my countrys language. They used english which is veeeery rare.

    I purchase LOTS of stuff of the internet, but as the seedlings roots grew faster than i expectrd i needed ot right away.
  9. Shovelhandle

    Shovelhandle Registered+

    what is it you found? what part of the world do you reside, what language(s) used?
  10. soapay808

    soapay808 Registered+

    Clay pebbles I use em aw the time bud
  11. soapay808

    soapay808 Registered+

    diy perlite

    A wise old gall I know told me to use polystyrene bust up some old washin machine packingn away ye go
  12. Shovelhandle

    Shovelhandle Registered+

    that is stupid. wtf?
  13. str8jacket

    str8jacket Registered+

    Aquarium gravel is not too bad in a pinch, and you don't have to worry about pH.

    I've used clay pellets before, particularly toward the bottom. I used pellets that I had used before with hydro, so I knew they were pH safe.

    I guess you need to be careful where you get your clay pellets. I've never had a pH issue with any, but I've heard that some have sulfur in them and cause a low pH problem.
  14. str8jacket

    str8jacket Registered+

    I've heard of people doing that before with crushed up styrofoam cups. Can't see why it wouldn't work in a pinch. I've gotten clones in styrofoam cups from dispensaries before.

    Does she also add coffee grounds, eggshells and rusty nails?
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Shovelhandle

    Shovelhandle Registered+

    works to do what? aerate the soil? styro is a closed cell plastic and perlite is basically glass with microscopic holes to collect air/water. Not even close to the same stuff, just the same color and looks somewhat alike if you squint. Would it work to aerate the soil? Not really. Would it make the soil lighter in weight? yes.

    I didn't make any other recommendations for substitutes as if perlite is not available in this location (?) then what else could be? Clay pellets? coco coir? rock wool? I dunno. But I would use wood chips or ground corn cob (do you have corn there where this is?) The wood chips are added to many potting mixes to aearate the soil and add organic material.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. str8jacket

    str8jacket Registered+

    I wasn't recommending the use of styrofoam. I only responded to it because you were throwing the word 'stupid' around where it doesn't really apply.

    Perlite does not hold water, just the opposite. Perlite keeps the soil from compacting and assists in drainage. Tiny air bubbles cling to the surface of perlite, it's not inside the perlite.

    Keeping the soil from compacting is the number one primary function of perlite. It is inorganic and it is not biodegradable. If it was, that would defeat its purpose.

    Rockwool, coco coir, or wood chips would all be very poor substitutes for perite. They would not help much in keeping the soil from compressing over time. Ground up corn cobs would probably work fairly well. It would biodegrade over time, allowing the soil to settle and become more dense, but it would probably last the duration of a typical indoor grow.

    Styrofoam is also inorganic and not biodegradable. Ground up pieces of it will keep the soil from compacting (dense soil is very bad), and tiny air bubbles do cling to it (try holding some under water and see how much air clings to it).

    Not saying it's a 'good' substitute for perlite, but I don't think it qualifies as 'stupid'.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  17. Shovelhandle

    Shovelhandle Registered+

    I'm not a scientist and I don't really know everything about perlite except it's in the pro mix I use. I am just against Styrofoam in general as a unnecessary litter in our environment. It has been slowly been replaced for other more eco-friendly materials. Styrofoam is worse than stupid in my world.
    • Like Like x 2
  18. str8jacket

    str8jacket Registered+

    I agree 100% with your views on styrofoam. I think to purchase it for any use is environmentally irresponsible. I think it should not be produced at all.

    The environmental damage from styrofoam is primarily in the production of it, and it is not feasibly recyclable.

    But if you buy a product that comes with styrofoam in the packaging (I hate that), the ball is in your court now. How are you going to get rid of it except to throw it away where it winds up in a land fill.

    Me personally, I just throw it in the garbage when I get stuck with it. I would never consider using it in a potting mix because I don't like to do things that half assed.

    I don't see anything particularly wrong with someone using it that way if they're stuck with a bunch and they want to use it for that purpose.
  19. gardenermendo

    gardenermendo Registered+

    Perlite is a mess to work with. Dust is awful. With a good soil mix, you don't need to add perlite. I don't.
  20. str8jacket

    str8jacket Registered+

    Care to share this wonderful soil mix recipe? In the posts that I have seen by you, all you do is spout some snarky snotty remark, but you don't give any information, details or pictures. You don't provide anything in the way of helpful advice.

    IMO, telling people not to use perlite is spreading misinformation and giving bad advice.

    Why don't you pop one of you marvelous root balls out of its pot and take a picture of it so we can see how healthy your roots look. The roots tell the whole story.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014

Share This Page