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By Samuelson112
Posts:  3
Joined:  Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:07 am
#267619
What are the differences between the effects of silica sand and perlite? As far as I know they have basically the same purpose, so does it matter which one you use?
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By tannerm
Posts:  1589
Joined:  Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:24 am
#267620
Well, you're correct in that they're both for drainage and to assist in making it easier on plants that require more breathability for their roots... I suppose it could just be preference and what works best with the other media you're using. Sand is obviously finer and easier to mix in since it doesn't float (I prefer to do my mixing with a bit of water). In my experience though I've found that it doesn't matter a whole lot, just so long as you take into account what factors a plant likes. For example, I haven't noticed much of a difference between sphagnum and peat or perlite and sand.


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By nimbulan
Posts:  2076
Joined:  Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:03 pm
#267629
Sand results in denser, heavier soil. I feel like you need a higher proportion of sand to actually improve drainage compared to perlite, though perlite actually does retain some water. Perlite should not float in the pot unless your peat isn't absorbing water properly (due to an algae infestation or something similar,) allowing water to pool on the surface of the pot. It does tend to stay put when the peat gets compacted by rain and will be more visible on the surface.
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By tannerm
Posts:  1589
Joined:  Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:24 am
#267632
nimbulan wrote:Sand results in denser, heavier soil. I feel like you need a higher proportion of sand to actually improve drainage compared to perlite, though perlite actually does retain some water. Perlite should not float in the pot unless your peat isn't absorbing water properly (due to an algae infestation or something similar,) allowing water to pool on the surface of the pot. It does tend to stay put when the peat gets compacted by rain and will be more visible on the surface.
Right. I never let my media get so wet that there are floaters anyway.... But ultimately I think it's just grower preference. They both accomplish basically the same thing, just need to shift proportions depending on which you use. Sometimes I even use both just to spice it up ;)


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By pieguy452
Posts:  2460
Joined:  Sun May 22, 2011 11:09 pm
#267725
I prefer to use silica sand as it doesn't tend to rise to the surface like perlite does over time and looks nicer IMO. I have also noticed my plants tend to like the silica/peat mixture a bit better.

Perlite is still just as good and I wouldn't hesitate to use it again.
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By tannerm
Posts:  1589
Joined:  Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:24 am
#267726
pieguy452 wrote:I prefer to use silica sand as it doesn't tend to rise to the surface like perlite does over time and looks nicer IMO. I have also noticed my plants tend to like the silica/peat mixture a bit better.

Perlite is still just as good and I wouldn't hesitate to use it again.
It's basically a must for Helis


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