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Vermiculite or Perlite

I am getting more confused by the moment. As plant prices are high this year I thought I would try and grow a few annuals myself. I thought I could just put them into some compost and wait. Now I have read I should be adding vermiculite or perlite, are they the same thing?

I did try some seeds a few years ago without much success, maybe I was using the wrong stuff.

Any advise welcome and thank you.


  • TheVanguardTheVanguard Posts: 130
    edited April 2021
    I am by no means an expert and I’m sure others will have more knowledge, but..

    vermiculite is brown and spongy, and often used to increase water retention.

    perlite is white and brittle and often used to increase drainage.

  • hatty123hatty123 Posts: 125
    @Ditsy i wouldn't worry too much about it, seeds should germinate fine in compost without anything added. Although I've been gardening a few years I've only been more "serious" about it for a couple of years and I'd still class myself as novice. There's lots of advice out there which can seem daunting so although I'm starting to take some of it on board now I'd say just get started best you can and you'll  learn as you go. 
    This year I made my own seed compost which is a mix of compost, garden soil and some vermiculite. Most seeds have come up, some haven't done so well 🤷 I've also got seeds in just compost which have come up, I think where you're trying to germinate the seeds i.e. warmth, light etc can have a significant effect on whether they're successful.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,330
    Perlite and vermiculite are both types of expanded volcanic material - a bit like a sponge.
    Vermiculite is soft. It holds water and nutrients and will release them slowly.
    Perlite is hard, but if you squeeze it between your fingers it just turns to dust - it's a bit like pumice.

    I don't use either for sowing seeds usually, but if seeds like a gritty compost, then I'd use perlite.
    For fine seed (petunias, begonias and the like) or seed that needs light to germinate, I use a light sprinkling of either just to cover the seeds.

    If I take cuttings, then I mix in about 50% perlite to the compost to make it very free-draining.

    But you don't need to use either for seed sowing
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    Majority of seeds will germinate in multi purpose compost.......on a window sill in the house, at this time of year.  Give it another go.......cosmos, calendula, sunflower.....
  • DitsyDitsy Posts: 174
    Sunflowers, even I can't mess them up. Have grown some crackers over the years. Put some cosmos seeds in yesterday, we will see.

    Is a south facing window too hot?

    Thanks everyone.
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    I wouldn't think so....... enjoy
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