What are these white balls in my plants soil? The small styrofoam-like particles in your potting soil are a mineral called perlite. It's made when lava rock from volcanoes cools, trapping tiny quantities of moisture inside. That's why people sometimes call perlite “volcanic popcorn.”
Is perlite safe to eat?
Consuming large amounts of perlite, like anything else, will cause health problems, but perlite is considered nontoxic. Health effects include possible eye or skin irritations. Inhaling perlite dust could trigger asthma in sensitive individuals (including dogs), and if ingested this is considered practically nontoxic.
Why is there white stuff on top of my soil?
This white deposit is called mycelium. It is a naturally occurring fungus whose job it is to breakdown organic material. You'll find it on bits of wood buried in the soil, on rotting straw or woody bits in compost heaps, on leafmould and manure in the soil - the list is almost endless.
Is vermiculite safe for gardening?
Is vermiculite safe for gardening? As a naturally occurring mineral, vermiculite is very safe to use. Rumors to the contrary that you may have heard are linked to one mine, which is now closed, which produced vermiculite tainted with asbestos fibers. Vermiculite currently on the market does not contain asbestos.
Does vermiculite in soil contain asbestos?
Not all vermiculite garden products contain asbestos, but an EPA study showed that some contain low levels of asbestos. Asbestos was found primarily in the unmixed vermiculite product sold separately as a soil amendment. However, some was found in premixed potting soils.
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Is vermiculite poisonous to humans?
Vermiculite itself is safe to use; there is no evidence that any acute or chronic toxicity or carcinogenicity exists from long-term exposure to vermiculite. When the vermiculite was mined, some asbestos minerals contaminated the vermiculite.
Why is it so hard to find vermiculite?
People have had problems finding vermiculite because of two reasons: In the early 1990's the W.R. Grace Company closed its mine in Libby, Montana and over 20 processing plants located across the country. As a result, there are many regions where there simply isn't a local vermiculite processing plant.
Which plants benefit from vermiculite?
Due to their different moisture retention qualities, vermiculite is better suited to moisture-loving plants such as ferns that enjoy consistent moisture, while perlite would be more suitable for succulents and other plants that prefer a drier growing medium.
Should I add perlite to potting soil?
Adding perlite to potting soil is a good way to ensure the container garden drains well while also creating a light, fluffy soil for your plants. Container plants should be planted in a light, well-draining, nutritious soil mix.
How do you rejuvenate old potting soil?