Leca Vs Soil, Which Is Better For Your Houseplants? If you are looking the answer to this question then you are on right place. we have gathered enough information from the expert in plant growth. So let’s proceed…
You’ve joined several online groups focused on indoor gardening, and you’ve noticed people throwing around an acronym: LECA. Some claim it’s superior to the soil. This has you thinking about what exactly does it mean LECA as well as is better than soil for your plants?
LECA is a shorthand for light expanding clay aggregate. It is which is a clay-based growth medium that is used to support hydroponic gardens. The clay balls permit water and air to flow through. However, not all kinds of plants thrive when planted in LECA, So don’t dismiss soil as an option!
I’m sure that you have lots of questions about LECA. We’re here to help you with more details. In this article, I’ll show you what LECA can be used as a growth medium. I’ll also discuss both the advantages and disadvantages and discuss which houseplants can be grown using LECA instead of plants that do not perform well when grown with LECA.
LECA for beginners – What is LECA?
As I mentioned in the introduction, LECA (sometimes stylized as Leca) is an acronym meaning light extended clay aggregate. I believe it’s important to say that the use of LECA as a growth medium to grow your plant is regarded as semi-passive hydroponics.
If you’re used to manipulating small amounts of soil to ensure your houseplants are content, that’s precisely the contrary of the concept LECA is.
Instead, this medium comprises clay baked into balls that are roughly the same size as each other.
It initially appears like you’re filling the plant’s container with Cocoa Puffs. However, LECA is highly beneficial, and I’ll discuss it more in the following section.
Because the LECA balls aren’t compressed against each other, aeration could be easily triggered.
Each clay ball will soak up the water it needs; however, its capacity as peat moss is not many times. Instead, the LECA balls hold some water, around 30% in weight.
When it comes to the water aspect, LECA encourages a hydroponic garden that is a soil-less method of cultivating houseplants in which water supplies nutrients to the plant’s roots.
LECA itself is not nutrient-free in the best or worst way. But, if you include nutrients, such as Fertilizer, LECA can absorb the nutrients just like water.
This means that your houseplant can be nourished with nutrients approximately what it would be if you used conventional potting soil, and possibly even longer.
The acidity of LECA lies somewhere between 5.5 to 5.7. On the scale of pH, it’s more on the acid side. However, it’s not too acidic.
This article will discuss the Pros and Cons of Growing Plants in LECA.
Once you’ve mastered LECA and its benefits, let me be able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this thriving medium. The information provided in this article and the next one will aid you in deciding whether the traditional or LECA potting soil is the best choice for the indoor plant you have.
Let’s begin with the best. Let’s get started, will we? These are the advantages of the use of LECA in place of soil.
- The process of checking your plant’s progress It’s easy.
I’ve discussed this on my blog, specifically in my Plant Care series. However, one of the main distinctions between cultivating a plant hydroponically and growing it in the soil is it’s impossible to track your plant’s progress with the former.
The soil blocks your root structure completely. If you’re transplanting a cut or tending to a fully grown plant, you must believe that your roots are in good health.
As time passes, you become familiar with this, and with time you’ll be able to recognize the indications that your plant needs more water, not less.
Planting your indoor plants in LECA always allows you to monitor your plant. If there’s a problem in the root system, you’ll notice it right away instead of waiting until the plant’s leaves and leaves show signs of it and symptoms.
This may give peace of mind for the majority of indoor gardeners, and especially novices who don’t know whether they’re doing it right. If you notice white healthy, strong roots, you’ll be able to continue to care for your plant in your home and become more confident about your garden as you go along.
If something goes wrong, You can help your plant before it is at risk of dying, which could save its life.
- You Can Reuse LECA Balls
On the blog, you’ll find an extensive article on sterilizing soil, an excellent method to give the ground a new life, even when it has fallen victim to an ailment caused by a fungal or bacterial organism. But let’s face it, microwaving soil and pouring boiling water over it isn’t the most practical method in the world.
LECA balls can be reused straight from the pot or container. You may need to disinfect the clay if exposed to disease and then wash the LECA whenever it’s dirty. However, if it’s clean, the LECA is safe to use.
- Lowered Risk of Pests
If you’ve had more than one pest problem in your garden indoors, You can be racking your head trying to determine where the insects originate from. It’s not just the soil’s moisture that attracts insects.
The living organisms that live in your soil may also draw in other living creatures like fungus gnats similar.
The insects will then be aware of the plant, and it has delicious juices that they can consume to increase their strength and reproduce. The insects can then spread the disease, not just to the affected plant but also to other plants.
If you eliminate soil from the equation and use an organic growing medium that does not contain living organisms, such as LECA, the number of pests that you will see a drop.
- No Mess
It may be aerated and full of nutrients; however, the result is still dirt at the end of each day. It’s not a good idea to have landed on their fingers and smeared all over their skin or clothing. Yet, that can happen when you work in the garden. After all, gardening can be messy.
It doesn’t need to be. LECA balls are solid when submerged and don’t leave behind a trail when you work with them. It is possible to significantly reduce garden messes, which is a good thing since the garden is located in your office or home.
- Reduced the risk for root rot
Strangely, a plant-based medium such as LECA can decrease the chance for root rot But hear me out.
A houseplant planted in LECA balls has only the capacity of a certain amount of water. The plant can drink a little of the water, but the LECA absorbs the rest. If the water has gone, that it’s time to replenish.
As you’ve probably recalled, LECA offers excellent aeration, too, which means that any water inside the pot or container will quickly move, leaving space for oxygen.
If you are growing a houseplant in soil, regardless of whether the pot is designed to provide excellent drainage, you suffocate the oxygen that plants require if you fill the earth with water. This is the way root rot may take hold.
A plant that is sick attracts insects and the odds of having an infestation increase. This puts your plant at a greater likelihood of dying.
I’m going to discuss the negatives of using the LECA on your plants at home and also. Here’s what you should be aware of.
- It’s an investment
If you’re working on a budget or want to save some money, LECA gardening might not be the right choice for you. You’ll need to purchase many equipment and tools that might not be yours.
For instance, do you have a pH gauge? If not, it is time to purchase one since the water’s pH may be variable (pun meant). You’ll need to test often.
It is possible to purchase an inexpensive pH monitor for around $12. However, the more sophisticated models usually cost more.
If the pots and containers you have contained drainage holes, then you’ll have to buy new ones. Because LECA gardening relies on liquids, the water would go away within minutes if the container were equipped with drainage holes. The pot should be sealed.
There’s also the cost that comes with LECA itself. Compared to ordinary potting soil, you’ll spend up to four times the amount in LECA balls. They’re undoubtedly reusable. However, the initial cost isn’t worth it.
- You aren’t able to use the same Fertilizer.
I’m still not finished. The Fertilizer you stock up on for your outdoor garden does not apply to the semi-passive hydroponic garden. Instead, you’ll need a specific plant fertilizer that is liquid or hydroponic.
LECA Vs Soil – Which is Better For Your Houseplants?
Although it would be wonderful to utilize soil and LECA interchangeably for indoor plants, this isn’t the reality. The best medium for your plants does not depend on your personal preferences but on what your plant requires.
If your plant exhibits these traits, it’s suitable to grow in LECA. If not, go with traditional potting soil.
Your plant receives more nutrients From Fertilizers Than Its Growing Medium.
I had mentioned this before I mentioned this earlier, but I’d like to reiterate it now. LECA is a single substance that does not contain any nutrients.
The clay balls will take in some nutrients from the water when fertilizing your plant, however by themselves; they’re not nutritionally deficient.
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I’ll outline details in the next section of how to fertilize the house plant grown in LECA However, you’ve already figured out that it’s using the hydroponics fertilizer. The Fertilizer is dissolved in water, the plant absorbs it, and the plant then retains the nutrients contained in its stems and leaves.
There are a few species of houseplants that can perform this task or do it exceptionally well. If they can’t have nutrients, they must be in their growing medium, or they’ll end up dying. It is essential to plant your indoor plants with soil, not LECA.
Your Plant Loves Oxygen-rich Conditions
This space in between LECA balls provides plenty of oxygen space, as I mentioned earlier. This is beneficial for plants that need oxygen-rich growth conditions because they’re not deprived of oxygen.
Some plants do not require an oxygen-rich medium for growth, however. The majority of plants prefer moist, compacted soil. They are concerned that all the airiness in LECA balls may affect their balance in oxygen.
The plants that have an excess of oxygen will decrease their growth because their maintenance needs are already being met under their conditions.
Your plant thrives best in acidic conditions.
To be clear, the pH for LECA ranges from 5.5 and 5.7. It is in the acidic zone. In the case of many plants in your home, acidic soil or clay is lovely, but for most plants, their growth medium ought to be more basic or near neutral.
The plant doesn’t mind being Perforated.
Plants are fragile, and it’s not surprising that certain plants do not like being handled more than they need to. The houseplants listed here are among the worst candidate for LECA.
You’ll need to replenish the water your plants are growing within. It is essential to maintain the LECA balls clean as well.
Also, you must take all soil off the plant’s roots as you transition it to LECA that requires a lot of touching.
Now that I’ve pointed out the three main characteristics that can make plants bad candidates for LECA, let me get right into a list of plants that will likely do the best when grown in LECA.
Which plants are suitable for LECA? Here are some plants to begin with:
- Snake Plant
- Plant spider
- ZZ Plant
Are you left with a couple of burning questions regarding LECA? I’ve got the answers!
How do Plant Roots Connect with LECA Balls?
You’re worried that your plant’s roots won’t be capable of securing LECA balls. LECA balls.
The plant roots can be fascinating. They can be attached to a variety of surfaces, with round ones being among them. The most effective plants for LECA will develop root systems quickly and increase the chances of attachment success. Spider plants are one example.
How do you fertilize a plant that has been grown in LECA?
I promised to revisit this issue, but now is the time to discuss it. What are the methods to use hydroponic fertilizers on the plants that are grown in LECA?
As with all fertilizers, it’s best to dilute the hydroponics fertilizer with water before giving it out to plants. You will likely require many gallons of water to make several tablespoons of Fertilizer. Be sure to follow the directions on the packaging.
Mix the mixture until it is completely dissolved. Pour the water into the time your hydroponics garden requires it. The park will be inundated with nutrients.
Can you mix LECA With Soil?
I’ve discussed LECA and soil as an option. Is it possible to mix both?
In many cases, it is true! LECA in the soil can provide aeration and water retention as well as drainage. Be aware that LECA is acidic, which means that when your plant isn’t growing well under acidic conditions, choose a less bare amending soil instead.
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