To choose the best LECA for plants, you’ll need to plan your planting setup first. The type, size, and amount of LECA you use all depend on this.
LECA is a lightweight clay that helps plants grow without soil. It expands when wet and stores water for slow release. Your indoor and hydroponic plants will love the freedom of growing in LECA. This growing medium allows for easy root movement.
In this article, I explain what LECA is commonly used for, summarize its benefits, and list the three best LECA for plants.
What Is LECA Used For?
LECA is best suited for hydroponic gardens, but many gardeners like using it as bottom-fillers and topsoil.
Indoor plants like LECA more than outdoor plants do. You’ll have to check the root system of plants you want to use to determine if they’ll grow well in LECA.
If you have a hydroponic system, you can use a mixture of big and small LECA balls for your different plants. Some LECA is also denser than others, so play around with this quality too.
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The Benefits of Using Leca
Using LECA instead of soil has some benefits for your garden. Here’s the value you’ll add by using it:
Easier Watering – Best LECA For Plants
Using LECA makes it easier to water your plants. This medium also prevents overwatering. You can use LECA in your hydroponic garden. It ensures less water use and helps plants grow faster. Any nutrients you add to your pots will also be absorbed by the LECA balls. This way, your plants get all the nutrients they need when they drink water.
Thanks to its powerful absorption properties, LECA allows nutrients to stay put and release to plants over a longer period than potting soil does.
Better Monitoring – Best LECA For Plants
Monitoring your plants is easier when you use LECA. Soil completely covers plant roots, so it’s harder to check if they’re healthy or not. If you use LECA, this isn’t a problem.
Decreased Risk Of Root Rot
LECA decreases the risk of root rot. It contains no live organisms that can interfere with root health and leaves many air gaps to ensure your plant roots get the oxygen they need.
No Mess – Best LECA For Plants
LECA is less messy to use than soil. If you have sensory-sensitive kids who’d like to join in on gardening tasks, they might find working with LECA easier than soil. The less mess factor also makes it a better choice for indoor plants.
The 3 Best LECA For Plants
#1 LECA Size 4 – 10mm
You can create lightweight soil with 4-10mm LECA. It’s perfect for medium to large pots and grow beds. If you don’t want to fill your entire container with LECA, you can use this size at the bottom or as a soil topper.
LECA size 4 – 6mm works excellent for smaller plants, while upwards to 10mm can be used for slightly bigger ones.
#2 LECA Size 10 – 25mm
These large-sized LECA pebbles are ideal for hydroponics. You can use them to create soil for succulents, cacti, and even Orchids!
LECA balls this big can absorb and slow-release a substantial volume of water. They condition plants and also help with better aeration.
#3 LECA Size 100 – 500mm
These gigantic LECA balls are known as LECA boulder. You can use them to create soilless gardens with big plants.
LECA boulder has great wicking properties and improves drainage and aeration. It also acts as insulation.
LECA Qualities To Look For
The many options available can be overwhelming when you plan to use LECA for gardening. It’s always good to have an idea of which works better. You can keep an eye on these factors to ensure you buy good quality LECA balls:
Density: The porosity of LECA pebbles need to be between 60 and 85%. This refers to the amount of air in the balls. You can check by weight if the porosity isn’t indicated on the bag.
Size: The size LECA you choose will depend on what you want to use it for. Size is also a good indicator of how much water the balls can hold. Bigger balls work better for hydroponic gardens.
Knowing what you’d like to use your LECA for will help you choose the best type. Top-heavy plants need bigger irregular-shaped balls, while smaller plants need tiny pebbles for easier root disentanglement.
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Where To Buy LECA – Best LECA For Plants
You can buy LECA at hardware and gardening stores. Some department stores also stock it. If you don’t feel like going in-store and have enough confidence about which LECA to buy, you can shop online.
In Ending, Best LECA For Plants
Whether you use LECA as an independent grow medium or combine it with soil, the right plants will do well with some of it in their growing environment. LECA is a favorite amongst hydroponic gardeners and easy enough to use for newbies.
If you stick to some basic use guidelines, your plants will grow healthy in LECA. You’ll never want to use anything else again!
I hope this article was helpful and that you enjoyed reading it. If you have more LECA-related questions or other suggestions for the best LECA for plants, drop them in the comments.
Can you use LECA for all plants?
Not all plants grow well in LECA. Some plants need more nutrients than others, and planting them directly in the soil is the best way to give them this.
What plants do not grow well in LECA?
Plants that don't grow well in LECA include ferns, pothos, elephant bush, prayer plants, corn, and potatoes.
Can you grow plants in just LECA?
Some hydroponic plants do well in LECA alone. You might have to add liquid nutrients, but no soil is necessary.
Why are my plants dying in LECA?
If your plants are dying in LECA, there might be issues with the water or oxygen levels. You should frequently change the water your LECA is in to ensure there's enough oxygen in it. A lack of oxygen can lead to root rot.