How to Use Perlite


Perlite is a type of volcanic rock that expands and becomes porous when superheated. The expanded perlite rock material makes an excellent addition to plant potting mixes, because the rock particles create air pockets that allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to be easily absorbed by plants. Adding perlite to potting material also provides good drainage for plants, and helps prevent their decline from over-watering. Perlite is sold at nurseries and garden centers, and can be mixed with other ingredients to create plant potting mix.

Step 1

Mix equal parts of perlite, sphagnum peat moss, and sand in a large bucket with a garden spade or shovel.

Step 2

Remove plants from their pots, or other growing location, and place them in the center of a garden pot with drainage holes.

Step 3

Fill pot with the perlite, sphagnum peat moss, and sand mixture. Be sure to cover the plants with the potting mixture only to the point of their original planting depth.

Step 4

Water the plants liberally.

Things You'll Need

  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Sand
  • Garden spade or shovel
  • Large bucket
  • Garden pots with drainage holes


  • Perlite. Mineral Information Institute (Accessed Nov. 11, 2009).
  • Indoor Gardening with Perlite. The Perlite Institute Inc. (Accessed Nov. 11, 2009).

Who Can Help

  • Soilless Media Choices: Perlite
  • Indoor Plant Culture
Keywords: use perlite, perlite, potting mix

About this Author

Barbara Biehler is a freelance writer who has written articles for and eHow, as well as online specialty courses for She has a B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida, and over 15 years experience in business development, sales, and marketing. An avid gardener, cook, and voracious reader, Barbara resides with her family near Nashville, Tennessee.