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Leca Introduction For Beginners

I am fairly new to using Leca Medium for my plants but I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned and will continue to add more as my knowledge grows over time. As you may know, if you follow me on TikTok, I’ve purchased a nice size 10 Liter bag off of Amazon and have been able to convert about 20 plants over to Leca. Some of the plants are brand new to being transferred over to this medium but there are ones that have been in this medium for well over a month or so. I can say they are all still alive and appear to be happy. Being that I have over 120 plants and counting…I don’t have any plans of converting all my plants to this medium but so far like to do with ones I feel are still developing a solid root system or ones that have a tendency to get root rot because of heavier water needs.

I’m super pleased with how this medium has worked out thus far and have not come across any major issues. It’s easy to wash for the most part and I love how easy it is to visually see and adjust the water levels for the plant in question. In general, it is noted that water should be about a 1/3 full from the bottom…I however have adjusted this depending on the plant and the maturity of the roots. If it happens to be a cutting with no roots I will have I would say I fill with 80% of water…I still like the leca because I believe it adds oxygen to where the stems and roots are to form which in my mind helps prevent rot. Also, this medium helps hold the stems in the vase or container with lower risk of cutting falling out. For ones that have starter roots I tend to do 50/50 and the ones with established roots I follow that 1/3 to 1/4 rule.

Here is the Leca that I purchased and have done reviews on:
Click here to order.

There are a couple of plants I am playing with mixing some soil with the leca and gotten some good results as well with this. I’m going to share something that most any plant parent would cringe too and say absolutely not to…but I’ve tested on 2 terrariums with open tops and placed the leca on the bottom with soil above and moss on top and then, of course, added water to the bottom portion where the leca was…guess what…there is enough airflow at the bottom of the terrarium where the soil and leca were able to dry out completely meaning I have to add water about every 2-3 weeks as I do with most plants some only once a month…so with this observation, I would dare say…placed in the bottom of pots that don’t have drainage holes. Not rocks…one thing with rocks is they don’t absorb excess water whereas these do and adds the aeration. So to me, it would possibly be a solution to this scenario. Please! Be warned this is only an observation and I’m not stating this to be factual…so test this out at your own risk. I will say I do have plants that do not have Drainage holes…I know BAD plant Mom you might say but they are all doing fine…for years too…so I guess it just depends on the plant and watering schedules you put on the plant. To be honest, I water less than most because I mist so often. So the tops of my soil get dampened pretty much every day so that I then only need to water…depending on the plant of course…about every 2-3 weeks sometime only once a month. I would say that with any large pot that have no drainage holes you’re going to run into problems…the larger the pot the less chance the bottom will ever be able to dryout fully which of course is the cause of root rot.

Upsides to this medium…if you tend to be an over waterer this is a great medium to have visually speaking because you know exactly when any plant needs water by looking at the pot/vase it is in. Another is that, it would seem, about any plant can get adjusted to this medium. I haven’t come across one yet that hasn’t adjusted well to it.

The upfront cost to me is about the same but it depends on how you see it and how much you purchase soil for. For me, it’s actually cheaper because unlike soil that eventually goes bad and needs to be recycled leca can be sterilized and used over and over. Also, being that you can use glass vases it opens up the options to what you can place your plants into which for me was lots of vases that were being stored in cabinets unused. So here it actually saves me money. Also for soil, I don’t just use a bag of soil mix…I use potting soil mixed with perlite and peat moss and even orchid mix depending on the needs of the plant. So to say that leca is more expensive it really isn’t.

So these are some of the upsides to the medium in my opinion. What are some downsides to this would be…

One is that it’s a very interesting look…not a huge fan of it to be honest. It looks like coco-puffs in a jar or as my hubby says all the time bunny poop. So visually kind of a downer. Again completely my opinion and like I said can easily be covered by placing it into a decorative pot. Another thing is you do have to add nutrients to the water but you would have to do this with soil at some point anyhow so it’s not really a downside.

However, I will say, I just got a new digital gadget that can measure the fertilizer in the soil and so I’m not sure how it would work for this kind of setup as I’ve not tested but to be honest not sure how I would. Another thing to…all of those nice pots that you worked at making sure had drainage holes in them are now useless as you need pots that can hold water unless you can get clear plastic insert pots to place in them which of course costs you more money. Some I’ve been able to make myself with recycled containers so it’s not been so terrible. I do know and I’ve yet to really dive into this part yet, is you must have an understanding of the PH levels of the water that you are placing into the plant. I guess another downer that you normally don’t have to mess with when using soil, at least I never have. I do have plans to get into more of this more later as I learn it better. I do have a PH uper and downer purchased and a digital tester for this and again will get back to you as I understand how it all works.

Honestly, those are really my only complaints, if you can call it that…the look of it and not being able to test the level of fertilizer. Again, I’m just a baby at this semi-hydro growing medium but I’ll again share more as time moves forward. If you don’t already make sure to follow me on TikTok where I share quick tips every day about my plants and what I use and know.

 

Here are some other items I have on order, to help with what I know is to come with learning Leca.


Nutrients for the plants

(Click Image to be Linked Directly)


pH Up and Down to help keep the water balanced

(Click Image to be Linked Directly)


PH Tester of course so you know which to add:

(Click Image to be Linked Directly)

 


Please let me know if there are specific questions you have about leca that you’d like to know more about as I add more details here to this post on this topic. I will also be adding videos and clips of how you transfer plants to leca as well. Until then…

Happy Planting & Stay Inspired,

XO – Katie

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Leca Introduction For Beginners

  • MarshaJanuary 13, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you for this post about putting LECA underneath dirt. I am actually contemplating this option for some of my plants. I know this is an old post, so would love an update on how your experiment went! My thought is that the LECA would carry the moisture up to the dirt above and keep the dirt at a comfortable moisture level. Is that what you saw happen?

    Reply
    • Katie MooreJanuary 13, 2021 at 6:41 pm

      The ones I’ve placed the leca on the bottoms are doing great. I have an open-top terrarium setup and I like it because I can put the water to fill at the bottom keeping the above soil and plant moist…which means I only have to water it about once a month and can clearly see the water level of it. In this case it works great for a nondrainage situation.

      Reply

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