I had a recipe for some seedling potting soil that called for vermiculite. I didn't have vermiculite. I did have Turface, so I used it instead of the vermiculite. I figure since Turface & vermiculite both hold lots of water and they both have flat surfaces that I could use Turface instead of vermiculite.

Will I run into any additional challenges growing my seeds with Turface than I would with vermiculite?

To be fully transparent, I found two recipes that I liked;

One was just; *peat and perlite.
The other was; *peat, perlite and vermiculite.
I made a mix with; *peat, perlite & Turface.

I figured this would hold more water than peat and perlite alone, similar to the recipe with vermiculite. It would have the advantages of still having the good drainage that peat & perlite alone would have over the peat, perlite & vermiculite.

Do you see any problems with using Turface in this manner?

1 Answer 1


I use Turface in my cactus media mix. I would absolutely recommend it as a substitute for vermiculite. Vermiculite breaks down over time and can no longer do what it's supposed to.

I prefer Turface over perlite or vermiculite. Perlite floats when you water the plant and the little white balls cling to the stems and do a good imitation of mealie bugs.

My mix has been Turface and coir (instead of peat). I recently added pumice and some coarse grit.

Peat in my experience is extremely difficult (read: impossible) to rewet if it dries completely. Cactus generally dry between waterings, so it can be an issue.

I currently have 54 pots of cactus seedlings doing well in the mix I describe above.

Again, I grow cactus, you your mileage may vary.

  • If you are talking about desert cacti, you don't find peat bogs in deserts. End of discussion! On the other hand, there may be some "rain-forest succulents" that would tolerate it even if they didn't prefer it.
    – alephzero
    Feb 5, 2020 at 23:49
  • This mix is not meant for just succulents, but a general all-purpose seed mix
    – user27895
    Feb 6, 2020 at 0:10
  • @Étienne I think it likely depends what you're growing and how long whatever it is will be in the Turface mix - I found this crataegus.com/2013/11/24/life-without-turface which you might find interesting, though it refers primarily to bonsai growing.
    – Bamboo
    Feb 6, 2020 at 22:47
  • @Bamboo Thank you. I have read this article. I hope mixing turface with peat avoids all problems. Like hydrophobic. Peat has problems when dry. I hope keep moist will avoid problms. Enhance both positives. Like Turface & soil growing grass.
    – user27895
    Feb 6, 2020 at 23:19
  • How exactly can Turface be hydrophobic? It's entire reason to be is to absorb water and release it slowly.
    – Tim Nevins
    Feb 10, 2020 at 15:40

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