Perlite (heat expanded siliceous volcanic rock) is used to loosen heavy soils. It is also an excellent medium for starting seeds and rooting cuttings. Perlite does not degrade in time, making it a long-term answer to many gardening problems.
For seed germination, fill your trays with a soilless mix, plant the seeds, and spread a layer of perlite over the seeds, then water from the base of the trays until the top surface is moist.
For bulb storage, alternate layers of perlite with your bulbs. Store in a cool, dark area away from moisture.
Perlite produced in the South East and South Central states may be manufactured in a facility that processes peanut by-products.