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Thread: Using Perlite for the first time

  1. #1
    Senior Member SureshKalyanpur's Avatar
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    Using Perlite for the first time

    I have not heard of any one using Perlite in their mix for growing orchids because it is not available here in India.

    My perception has been that Perlite comes as granules, about 1/2 to 3/4 cm in size (please correct me if I am wrong) and is to be mixed with the other ingredients as a part of the potting mix.

    Very recently I came across an Advert that there was someone supplyng Perlite here in India. I wrote to them and within a couple of days the parcel arrived. To my utter surprise I found that it contained a coarse mix of Perlite slightly larger than grains of sand. Is this how it comes?

    My question now is as follows: I generally use charcoal, tile and brick pieces for most of my orchids in clay pots with holes at the bottom and on the sides as well for better air circulation and good water drainage. How do i add the Perlite to this sort of mix? Would it not get washed away every time I water the orchids?

  2. #2
    Administrator Roy's Avatar
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    Using Perlite for the first time

    Suresh, Perlite comes in a multitude of sizes, from coarse dust size to 25mm ( 1inch ) size. The largest size can be used in you mix easily but it needs to be covered with the heavier material or it will wash or blow away. The finer grades are used in much denser mixes for plants such as Paphs, Phrags, Cyms, Dends etc. Its no good in a coarse mix, it will wash away. Perlite is good to open up a mix and also correct pH levels. It can be used on its own as a mix as is done in Hydroponics.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bbardun's Avatar
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    Using Perlite for the first time

    As Roy said, the size you have can be used in fine grade mixes for Paphs, Phrags, etc. You could also use it to mix with soil for other pot plants if you enjoy growing more than just orchids.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bloomin_aussie's Avatar
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    Using Perlite for the first time

    From the sound of things you didn't end up with a grade suitable for what you were intending to grow. I'm not sure of availability in India but perhaps you could try pummice? I have heard of it being used in a similar manner to perlite.

  5. #5
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    Using Perlite for the first time

    Yeah perlite would be innoying in them terracotta pots with the big holes in the sides for air flow. Anyone have anything against just sticking to the charcol, tile and brick peices? but they are heavy for hanging pots. I use volcanic rock sometimes which is alot lighter.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bbardun's Avatar
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    Using Perlite for the first time

    I love to use volcanic rock!

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