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Perlite is the oldest and most widely used soilless medium around, simply because it is inexpensive and widely availability. It’s basically a puffed-up glass pellets made in the high temperatures of underground volcanoes. Perlite is a mined mineral and is non-organic. The pellets are as light as air and have excellent oxygen retention, as well as good filtration properties. Perlite is commonly mixed with other mediums that lack drainage, such as vermiculite and coconut fiber. Unfortunately perlite has low water retention properties. When left unwatered, it dries out rapidely potentially damaging the roots. 
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