Leca/Hydroton/Expanded Clay Balls is a growing medium that uses to grow plants instead of soil. It is an acronym positioned for its lightweight expanded clay aggregate forms.
This product is prepared by baking clay balls and uses after moistening with water. Several modern-age gardeners apply this substitute of soil for their plantation after soaking them in a water well.
Leca balls turn bigger and softer, when you soak them in water properly, before applying them as a growing medium. Here we come up with some important facts about Leca and its usage for people, who are still clueless about this new option of the plantation. Let’s check it out and make your gardening experience mud-free than ever-
Pros and Cons of Using Leca:
Using Leca instead of other growing mediums could be rewarding for many planters. However, a few gardeners even claim it is a damager to the health of our plants. Here we validate some apparent pros and cons of using Leca for plants in this attempt-
Benefits of using Leca over others:
- Provide a more clean and hassle-free planting experience
- Diminish the possibility of root rot
- Allow the roots to absorb water and oxygen more effortlessly
- Easy to validate and for the care of your plants
- Reduce the risk of pests infestation
- Reusable planting medium
- A good medium for hydroponic plants
- Layering on top is great for indoor plant decor
- Good as a mulching material
Disadvantages of clay balls:
- Need more labor at the initial stage
- Restrict your plantation experience, especially regarding the planter choice
- Requires particular types of fertilizer
How to Use Leca for Your Plants:
It may look intricate to apply, but using Leca for growing plants is a very easy exercise to do. Here are some quick tips in this regard with step by step guiding method-
This entire session follows three clear steps-
- And plantation
How to wash and use leca for your plants – Video Link the green earth youtube
- Take the Leca balls out of the package first and flick away the dust among them
- Now, rinse the balls finely in clear water after placing them in a laundry bag
- Once your clear them up, place them in a tub or drum
- Fill the drum or tub with normal tap water and let the Leca balls soak in the water
- Keep them soaked for at least 24 hours this way
- After this, take the balls out and repeat the process with fresh water for the next 24 hours as well
- Then, you can boil your Leca balls, if you want, especially, if you are going to apply them to a high-value plant
- After completing the soaking process, strain the water well from Leca with a large strainer
- Now, place the Leca balls in a planter with water to soak them well
- Otherwise, take the Leca balls out and dry them naturally, if you are not going the use them instantly
- Check the pH level of the water with a pH test kit, before starting the plantation
- You can add liquid fertilizer or any pH picker solution to the water if it is needed
- Make sure you fill at least 1/3 way of a planting pot with these Leca balls
- Place the plant carefully in the top 2/3 part of the pot and then secure the base by filling the rest 1 part with remaining Leca balls
- You can use two different pots here if you want
- In this process, pour water into the outer pot till the bottom layer of Leca balls
- And apply the Leca balls to a net pot; at the end, place the net pot into the outer pot carefully
How to Propagate in Leca (Hydroton Clay Balls):
Some gardeners avoid growing plants in Leca directly, when they grow it from seeds, and use this growing medium for propagation only.
Propagating with Leca is very simple and follows similar methods to any normal plant-cutting regrowing session. Let’s get a bit more information about this process with the simple steps below-
Supplies You Will Need:
- Some well-soaked Leca balls
- A glass container
- some paper towels
- A fresh cutting of 4-5 inches long from your houseplant
- Some rooting hormone
- And a watering can
Growing Orchids in Semi Hydroponics with Leca Clay Balls -Link to Original Youtube Video.
How to Do it:
- Take the cutting and remove the leaves from its bottom
- Dip the end in a rooting hormone and keep the cutting on a paper towel for a few hours
- Take the glass container and place the Leca balls into it
- Make sure your fill 2/3 part of the container up with Leca balls
- Pour water into the container about ½ inch above the Leca level
- Place the cutting carefully into that container and add some liquid fertilizer into it
- Liquid fertilizer will balance the pH level and nourish the cutting properly
- Place the container in a place with the preferable climate that is suitable for the selected plant
- New growth will initiate after a couple of weeks
- Replant it in a bigger planter or directly into the ground, once your cutting is rooting well
Why LECA is Better? Leca Vs Other Mediums
There are lots and lots of options we have in our hands, whenever we think of a proper growing medium for plants. Such as rock wool, vermiculite, sand, sawdust, oasis cubes, expanded pallets, gravel, etc. including soil or hydroponic plantation.
However, many new-age professional gardeners claim that Leca is the best option to grow plants from several aspects.
Let’s authenticate how Leca defeats all other growing mediums such efficiently through our discussion below-
- Leca allows us to be worry-less about the maintenance of our growing plants, comparing other growing mediums
- You will have much less likely to get to face plant nuisance like pests or bugs while using Leca instead of other mediums
- The roots of your plant will be less prone to rot, while you use Leca instead of other growing mediums
- Leca is compatible for providing adequate growth to most of the growing plants effortlessly, while the different growing medium is good for different types of plants
- Thus, you can grow any sort of plant, from succulent to herbs and from flowering vine to fruits easily in a Leca growing medium
- And you can reuse Leca after completing one plantation session successfully, while it is impossible with any other growing medium, as you always need to use a fresh object with other growing mediums.
FAQ: Can You Use Leca for All Plants?
You can use Leca for most of the plants but not for all plants. Leca is an expanded clay aggregate form of growing medium that supports hydroponic gardens more brilliantly. Thus, plants compatible with such a process are preferable to grow with Leca than the other equivalents.
Do You Use Leca Only At the Top of Your Planter?
If you do not want to grow your plant entirely in Leca yet like to have the benefits of it, use Leca on the top of your planting soil. You can use them as the top layer of your plant at any time during the whole growing session of your plant.
What Happens If You Don’t Soak Leca Before Use?
If you don’t soak Leca properly before using it as a growing medium, it will provide you an untidy experience causing a slower growth rate than the usual one.