In 1824, scientist Thomas H. Webb named a mineral compound vermiculite, combining Latin and English words that roughly translate to “a rock that looks like a mass of small worms.” That aptly describes what vermiculite does when heated — it expands into low-density, worm-like strands.
Today, vermiculite is used as filler for paints, plastics and insulation. And in the garden, vermiculite’s texture makes it an excellent moisture-retaining soil additive.
“Vermiculite can also increase nutrient retention and soil aeration, resulting in healthier, more robust plants. There are numerous benefits to gardening with this interesting stuff.
Read more on how to garden with vermiculite here.