How to Use LECA For Houseplants
Before planting, ensure the clay pebbles have been thoroughly washed to help prevent root rot and clear away any excess dirt that may cling to their roots. This step helps ensure optimal root health.
After washing, presoak the leca balls in the water to hydrate them, help the plant absorb them more efficiently, and speed up root development.
1. It’s a soilless medium
LECA is an inert and lightweight growing medium designed to release moisture slowly to your plants’ roots, eliminating overwatering issues for houseplants. Instead, you can focus on providing enough sunlight and hydroponic fertilizer to meet their needs.
To use LECA, wash the roots to remove as much soil as possible. Next, fill a pot or vessel with LECA and position the plant’s roots in the center. Next, cover them entirely with more LECA to cover their root systems. Afterward, once all plants have been placed, pour water over LECA as it absorbs it slowly through clay pebbles that expand and slowly release that water to plants and moss through wicking action.
Small clay balls with large surfaces have large pores that allow oxygen to reach plant roots easily, meaning your plants won’t experience compaction issues that occur with soil-grown crops. Furthermore, this space between pebbles allows healthy root structures to form.
Though LECA provides many advantages, it’s essential to remember that this growing medium lacks vital nutrients. Therefore, it is crucial that when planting in this medium using liquid hydroponics fertilizer designed explicitly for them, your plants get fertilized regularly, as without fertilization, they won’t thrive. It would help if you also remembered some plants may require extra assistance based on their growth rates.
2. It’s easy to prepare
Growing plants in LECA is more accessible than growing in soil, yet it still requires learning and trial and error. To start right, remove your houseplant from its pot of soil, rinse away any dirt residue, and allow its roots to dry a bit before moving them to their new home – this ensures there are no bacteria or other microbes hitchhiking on their roots as they travel across.
Cover the roots with more LECA to cover and moisten all areas of the root zone (leca doesn’t retain as much moisture as other substrates). Once your houseplant has settled in, ensure LECA remains intact and moist by checking frequently.
Watering with LECA alone should provide all the nutrients your plant requires; if adding liquid fertilizer is desired, use only what is recommended by its manufacturer or your research; otherwise, adding too much can cause its roots to dehydrate and die off.
When growing LECA plants, they should also consider that they don’t offer as much calcium as the soil; this could result in deficiencies that can easily be corrected with calcium-containing fertilizer. In addition, make sure that you change out your container regularly as oxygen depletes over time – this may help avoid root rot, another common issue with plants transitioning from soil to LECA.
3. It’s reusable
Before you reuse clay pellets when growing plants in Leca, they should be thoroughly washed to prevent the transfer of soil-borne pests or diseases onto new plants. Furthermore, it will remove algae or dark spots on the clay balls; they can be reused once washed and scrubbed correctly.
Leca is versatile enough to work for pots of any size, making it perfect for those with limited indoor gardening space or those who travel frequently. When growing plants in smaller containers, remove some leca and place it at the base. Add more as necessary!
Plants grown in leca can absorb more water and nutrients than those planted in traditional soil, thanks to Leica’s ability to control root growth while providing a water reservoir accessible by their roots. Plus, watering your plants this way makes monitoring intake/outtake much simpler!
As a newbie to leca, it is wise to start slowly with common houseplants before venturing into rarer varieties. This will enable you to familiarize yourself with their requirements and adaptability in their new environments while paying close attention to nutrient requirements, as each species requires specific levels.
4. It reduces pests
As soil-based growing mediums tend to attract insects that carry diseases that could threaten your plants, LECA growing media is more resistant to infestation by keeping out bugs – leading to reduced infestation risks and infestation risks.
LECA soil can help repot plants that are typically difficult to transplant without risking damaging their roots or leading to their demise. It is especially suitable for orchids, sansevieria, philodendrons, and other succulents as it retains more water and reduces root rot risk associated with traditional soil.
LECA stands out from the soil by having the ability to regulate plant’s water intake, eliminating over- or under-watering issues. As roots develop, they take in whatever they need from a thin layer stored at the bottom of their container – perfect for people who don’t have time or the patience for regular watering schedules! This solution works particularly well for people looking to extend the duration between watering sessions.
Beginning with LECA, beginners may benefit from starting with less costly and easier-to-grow varieties before moving on to more complex ones. That way, mistakes made with less costly ones won’t cause their deaths as quickly.
Once you have established yourself with LECA, you can confidently move on to more demanding plants, knowing you will have a positive experience. Gardeners who enjoy LECA will find it very rewarding; with proper preparation and an understanding of its workings, you can grow all sorts of plants in this soilless growing medium.
5. It’s affordable
LECA can be more expensive than soil initially, but its long-term costs are significantly reduced as it can be reused, saving both money and time in the form of less frequent soil changes and pot changes for your houseplants. LECA allows you to monitor their roots to prevent impaction and disease issues in addition to helping your plant’s root system thrive.
LECA does not supply any nutrients to your plants; therefore, hydroponic fertilizer must be purchased and regularly added to the water source to keep your plants thriving. Some may find this task burdensome while for others, taking part in LECA programs is worth their while.
Changing to LECA from the soil will require investing in LECA pebbles, unique pots, and hydroponic nutrient solutions. However, initially, this may seem expensive and uneconomical, but once implemented, it becomes a highly cost-effective and sustainable means for cultivating houseplants.
Not all houseplants can thrive with LECA, so if you’re considering switching, test a few favorite plants first and see how they fare before transitioning your entire collection. Just be sure to sterilize your LECA before each use by boiling it in a pot of water for several minutes – this will ensure that any bacteria-laden water from washing LECA won’t contaminate new plants; similarly, this applies when using rinse water as a rinse-off medium.