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Vermiculite is the name of a group of hydrated laminar minerals (aluminum-iron magnesium silicates) which look like mica. Horticultural vermiculite is processed with massive heat that expands it into accordion shaped pellets composed of multiple layers of thin plates. It will not rot, deteriorate, or mold and is enduring, odorless, non-toxic and sterile.
Often used as a soil conditioner or for covering seed raising mixes. Vermiculite holds too much water however to be useful as a medium by itself, but can be mixed with other growing mediums to improve the water retention and extend the period between waterings.