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Vermiculite is a mined material. In its natural state it resembles mica rock, but when quickly heated, it expands due to the generation of interlaminar steam.Vermiculite is most frequently used in conjunction with perlite as the two complement each other well. Vermiculite is a popular hydroponic media favoured for its affordability. It is made from a natural mineral that expands with the application of heat. The expansion process is called exfoliation which takes place in purpose built commercial furnaces. Vermiculite is very lightweight and sterile.
It has excellent water retention and capillary action properties, which allows it to be fully hydrated simply by applying moisture from above or below.When used in hydroponics, vermiculite is often mixed with perlite if the media becomes too water logged. This improves aeration and drainage.