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Pros and Cons of Using Leca for plants

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    Leca (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) is a popular growing medium for plants, as it has several advantages:

    Pros:

    • Good drainage: Leca allows excess water to drain away quickly, preventing root rot and other problems caused by waterlogging.
    • Lightweight: Leca is much lighter than soil, making it easier to transport and work with.
    • Long-lasting: Leca does not break down or decompose over time, so it can be used for several years without needing to be replaced.
    • Sterile: Leca is a sterile growing medium, which means it does not contain any pathogens or pests that can harm plants.

    Cons:

    • Expensive: Leca can be more expensive than other growing media, such as soil or peat moss.
    • Nutrient-poor: Leca does not contain many nutrients, so plants may require more fertilization to thrive.
    • pH: Leca is neutral in pH, but may require adjusting pH to match the plant’s requirement

    Leca (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) is a popular growing medium for plants that has several advantages, such as good drainage, being lightweight, long-lasting, and sterile. However, it also has some disadvantages, including being more expensive than other growing media, being nutrient-poor, and not being suitable for all plants or budgets. Additionally, it may require adjusting pH to match plant requirements.

    Pros and Cons of Using Leca for houseplants

    Pro 1: LECA Facilitates Watering

    Due to LECA’s simple hydroponics system and high porosity, it’s excellent at absorbing water and retaining it for the plant to use as needed. Water is drawn up to the plant via capillaries formed by the spaces between the clay balls and the open areas of the LECA. 

    Because the clay balls are spherical and retain their shape, they never get overly compacted, which can happen to potting soil over time and make water drainage poor or make it difficult for roots to thrive.

    LECA balls maintain a constant moisture level for extended periods while yet giving the roots room to access oxygen. This makes it simpler to control water and moisture levels, which is advantageous for those who occasionally ignore indoor plants.

    Plants growing in LECA typically need to be in containers without drainage holes to maintain a water reservoir for the LECA to draw moisture from. Ensuring the reservoir is always around 1/3 full makes watering simple.

    Pro 2: LECA Encourages Stronger Roots

    By continuously absorbing water and nutrients from the water reservoir through the clay balls, LECA ensures that your houseplant always has access to them without ever waterlogging the root system. Additionally, the substrate your plant is in remains bright and airy because LECA maintains its shape.

    This permits strong roots to develop normally and offers them room for essential processes like oxygen exchange to happen often. Sometimes, with old or compacted soil, the substrate’s density, especially when wet, might prevent the roots from carrying out these crucial activities as well as possible, which causes the plant to suffer.

    Third advantage: LECA can lessen pest infestations.

    Aphids and fungus gnats, two typical houseplant pests, thrive in moist soil rich in decomposing organic materials. Since many pests spend at least a portion of their life cycle in moist soil, LECA reduces your need to worry about them.

    Most pests won’t grow in or on LECA since it is thought of as a sterile, inorganic substrate, leaving your plant better protected. I can’t guarantee that you won’t ever experience a pest problem. Still, since you are avoiding the organic stuff that most pests find attractive, you should see a significant decrease in insect problems.

    Added Benefits of Using LECA

    Other factors that make LECA a perfect substrate for houseplants are more straightforward watering, improved plant health, and fewer pests.

    It is relatively simple to use to start. Since most plants thrive in it, LECA can replace several potting soil mixes. It is less messy than lugging around bags of potting soil (general-purpose, cactus mix, etc.).

    The fact that LECA is recyclable is another fantastic feature. If you have something in LECA that you have previously planted. However, if you decide to repot it or it dies (sad face), you can still utilize the LECA as long as you sterilize it first. Usually, this only requires a few minutes of heating it in water.

    Reasons to Use LECA

    The features of LECA offer both indoor and outdoor plant producers a variety of advantages. Check out its remarkable benefits if you are unsure about employing these little clay pellets in your yard.

    Aeration

    Oxygen can enter the plant roots through the air spaces inside the clay balls and the holes between them. This promotes plant growth while preventing bacterial, fungal, and root rot problems.

    Stability

    The clay balls serve as a supporting structure for your plant’s roots as they expand into the LECA. As your plant grows, this prevents it from toppling over.

    Versatile

    In this blog, we cover potting soils and plant soils in great detail. And although some plants require a particular type of soil, others need a different kind. But LECA is remarkably adaptable. Almost all plant types can use it. This implies that storing a range of different mixes for various plants will take up less room.

    Cleaner Than Soil

    I know how much mess dirt can create because I cultivate plants indoors. The only thing you need to be concerned about when using LECA is the small amount of dust that appears when the bag is opened. And while you might occasionally spill something in your LECA bag, it’s far simpler to clean.

    Aesthetic of LECA

    LECA has an oddly alluring beauty. It can transform a basic potted plant into a decorative item. Devri and I constantly strive to strike the right balance between wanting plants to live in our house and not letting them take over the space. Instead of being crazy plant people, we want to be plant aficionados. We, therefore, always seek out new methods to incorporate plants into the design and atmosphere of our condo. Therefore, whenever we can improve the appearance of our indoor plants, we do so.

    By the way, kudos to you if you’re a self-described “crazy plant person”! You should consider LECA as well.

    pitfalls of LECA

    Like everything else, employing LECA has some drawbacks. Although we believe the benefits exceed the disadvantages, there are a few things to consider before switching to clay pebbles.

    It is Pricey

    Compared to conventional soil or other potting mixes, LECA often costs three to four times as much. So, the change is not inexpensive. However, once you have the LECA, you won’t need to return to the garden center monthly to get more. Consider it an investment in your future as a gardener.

    Calls for Fertilizer

    In addition to the significant upfront cost, you’ll need to purchase a liquid or hydroponic fertilizer specifically formulated for your plants. The sole purpose of LECA, which lacks nutrients, is to hydrate your plants.

    Monitoring of PH

    LECA balls are inorganic, chemically inert, and pH-neutral. Getting the pH right is essential since it affects how readily available nutrients are for your developing plants. A nutrient shortage could come from an excessively high or alkaline pH level that prevents the absorption of nutrients. In young plants, iron shortage results in yellow or pale leaves, while calcium deficiency results in leaf cupping and tip burn. Calcium can also combine with salts on reservoir walls and machinery to generate scale or white deposits.

    In other words, when utilizing LECA, you must regularly check your pH levels and adjust them as necessary. “pH up” and “pH down” products are available to maintain optimum pH levels. Both dry and liquid forms are available, and the directions on the bottle should use both. Use only items made for hydroponic flow systems, please.

    We advise buying a digital pH meter so you can accurately measure the pH values in your water.

    New pots

    We have negative news. Are you aware of the collection of pots you’ve been keeping? They might not function appropriately with LECA if they have drainage holes. A closed-bottom pot or container is often required for LECA to work correctly. Instead of draining away, the water is absorbed by the LECA.

    That said, you should utilize net cups with water running beneath them if you’re using LECA balls as part of a hydroponic system. The following net cups are compatible with LECA.

    Using leca for plants

    Cons Of Using LECA for plants

    Like everything else, employing LECA has some drawbacks. Although we believe the benefits exceed the disadvantages, there are a few things to consider before switching to clay pebbles.

    It is Pricey

    Compared to conventional soil or other potting mixes, LECA often costs three to four times as much. So, the change is not inexpensive. However, once you have the LECA, you won’t need to return to the garden center monthly to get more. Consider it an investment in your future as a gardener.

    Calls for Fertilizer

    In addition to the significant upfront cost, you’ll need to purchase a liquid or hydroponic fertilizer specifically formulated for your plants. The sole purpose of LECA, which lacks nutrients, is to hydrate your plants.

    Monitoring of PH

    LECA balls are inorganic, chemically inert, and pH-neutral. Getting the pH right is essential since it affects how readily available nutrients are for your developing plants. A nutrient shortage could come from an excessively high or alkaline pH level that prevents the absorption of nutrients. In young plants, iron shortage results in yellow or pale leaves, while calcium deficiency results in leaf cupping and tip burn. Calcium can also combine with salts on reservoir walls and machinery to generate scale or white deposits.

    In other words, when utilizing LECA, you must regularly check your pH levels and adjust them as necessary. “pH up” and “pH down” products are available to maintain optimum pH levels. Both dry and liquid forms are available, and the directions on the bottle should use both. Use only items made for hydroponic flow systems, please.

    We advise buying a digital pH meter so you can accurately measure the pH values in your water.

    New pots

    We have negative news. Are you aware of the collection of pots you’ve been keeping? They might not function appropriately with LECA if they have drainage holes. A closed-bottom pot or container is often required for LECA to work correctly. Instead of draining away, the water is absorbed by the LECA.

    That said, you should utilize net cups with water running beneath them if you’re using LECA balls as part of a hydroponic system. The following net cups are compatible with LECA.

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