What is Vermiculite?

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated July 21, 2023)

Have you ever read in a gardening book, or walked around a nursery, and heard the word vermiculite? Well, chances are fairly good that you have come across it at least the word at least once in your gardening life. But if you have ever wondered what is vermiculite, then you are in luck. The answer to this question, and a few simple methods for using it properly around the garden are listed below.

  • What is it? Simply put, vermiculite is a heat resistant mineral that is composed of hydrated basalt that contains some rather unique properties. In the manufacturing world vermiculite has gotten something of a bad rap since it has been associated with asbestos insulation. However, the type that is usually found in gardening stores isn't all that harmful unless it is ingested, or burned and then inhaled. Keep in mind that the chances of this happening are miniscule since it is usually used as an ingredient for other things when gardening. Just don't grab a handful of the stuff and eat it. When used for gardening, it can provide some additional potassium and magnesium to plants, and acts as a natural sponge for other nutrients and moisture.
  • Where to find it. This material can be found in just about any nursery or gardening store across the country. Typically it is found as an ingredient or filler for most kinds of potting mixes. You can also find fairly safe to handle types of the material in bulk as well.
  • How to use it properly. There are many different uses for this mineral, but the most common is to add volume and air circulation to the soil that a plant is placed into. Vermiculite is commonly used in place of soil when starting seedlings indoors. This mineral can also be used to help start cuttings for both hardwood and softwood perennials and shrubs. Simply adding roughly one cup of vermiculite to six cups of a standard potting-soil can help create the perfect potting soil mix for any indoor plants that you may be considering. By adding between two and three inches of vermiculite to the top of your sandy soil garden, and then turning it in, can help dramatically increase the moisture retention levels of this notoriously difficult soil.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Building a Sandbox

A sandbox is a perennial favorite among children, so why not give one to a child that you know. Building a sandbox is ...

Discover More

Elements of Landscaping

Landscaping can be a little overwhelming to even the most experienced of gardener, let alone anyone that is just starting ...

Discover More

Understanding a Car's Sticker Price

One of the trickiest aspects of purchasing a new car is trying to figure out the sticker price. While it is true that ...

Discover More
More Gardening Tips

General Garden Calendar

One of the most important parts of gardening is learning when you should and shouldn't do certain things. The easiest way ...

Discover More

Identifying and Repairing Soil Problems

One of the keys to a successful garden is being able to identify a potential problem before it becomes a reality. The ...

Discover More

Cleaning Your Garden

Starting to think it's time to clean out your garden? This happens when spring fever starts to affect us. Spring cleaning ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)