Monday, April 2, 2012

Plumeria slips
Today, I went web crawling all because I my four plumeria slips arrived. I am a cheapskate.  There is a wonderful plumeria farm in Tampa near me but their plants are very expensive.  So, I opted to order the cheapest little slips I could find and give it a go doing the hard work myself.  I read the instructions and it said to put them in perlite and water once every week or week and a half or so.  That got me to wondering what exactly perlite is.  I thought we should talk about it since it plays such a big part in horticulture.  We can talk about the plumeria slips another day after I go pick up some perlite and actually do the rooting.
Perlite is volcanic glass without shape that is from snowy white to grayish white in color with a high water content and the unusual characteristic of having the ability of increasing its volume from 4 to 20 times when heated to just the right temperature.  Typically this is above 1600 F.  Chemically, it's inert and has a pH of around 7. The US is both the largest consumer and producer of this non-renewable resource that is mined.

In 2010, estimated perlite consumption in the US was as shown in the table:[1]
53%building construction products
14%horticultural aggregate
8%filter aid
Since we're focusing on horticulture. I thought we'd just go over the value of perlite in horticulture or gardening.

  1. Aeration and drainage
  2. Sterile Rooting Medium - stimulates root initiation
  3. Hydroponics - Excellent media with superb results
  4. Neutral pH & Sterile
  5. Weed-free & Disease-free - good for seedlings
  6. Carrier for fertilizer, herbicides, & pesticides
  7. Clean, odorless, lightweight & safe to handle
  8. Serves as insulator to reduce extreme soil temperature fluctuations
  9. Does not deteriorate
  10. Holds moisture without getting soggy

Good Perlite Links:

I also planted a little basket of lavender, parsley seeds and chive seeds after work today.  It made me happy.  Let's watch and see how it does.

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