The Luke tribe owns a collection of 40 beautiful green plants, but one of them struggled to keep its foliage.
“leaves are [die] Otherwise it will turn yellow and I’ll be like, ‘Are you overwatering or are you flooded?'” says the ABC Everyday graphic designer.
“Put your finger in the dirt [test it] But it’s always been the same… ‘am I doing it better or am I doing it worse’ confusion.”
Plant care can be confusing, especially when it comes to watering. As Gardening Australia presenter Jane Edmanson points out, The symptoms of watering and watering are very similar.
Looking for a solution, Luke came across a semi-hydroponics method called LECA (Light Expanded Clay Aggregate) and decided to give it a try.
What is LECA?
The LECA is a small “marble size” ball made of clay that can be used in place of dirt.
Botanist Rosie Yi explains that LECA provides space for oxygen to flow to plant roots.
“Plants don’t have pumps in their bodies like we do,” she says.
“They have to absorb oxygen through their roots. [and so] LECA provides pockets of airflow around roots. ”
She explains that LECA also provides the perfect balance of hydration by slowly diffusing water to the plant’s roots.
A LECA setup typically includes two pots. The first pot has a small hole in the bottom to accommodate the LECA ball and plant.
The second pot will be slightly larger and will hold a small amount of water in the bottom.
“water [in the bottom of the pot] Diffusion to the clay spheres and water from the LECA spheres to the roots. ”
What is the difference between Reka and soil?
Another difference between LECA and soil is nutrients.
Rekha is made of clay Does not retain the nutrients that good soil and potting mixes provideThis means that caring for your plants can require a little more attention, time, and money (more on the cost of setting up below).
“All plants must have essential minerals such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that they need to perform their basic functions and grow. [plus] All trace elements,” says Rosie.
“You also have to use hydroponic nutrients, so it’s sitting in a body of water, so it doesn’t smell. As you can imagine, after a while it starts smelling a little funky.”
If you are troubled by common pests like a fungus gnat LECA may be the solution.
“Pests usually reproduce and lay their eggs in the soil, so when you buy a bag of potting mix, chances are it already has pest eggs in it. [whereas] They don’t seem to survive the LECA,” explains Rosie.
Makes watering easier, but watch out for algae
Unlike soil-growing plants, the LECA can check the water level in the pot, so you don’t have to guess how much water your plant needs, which helps prevent it. diseases such as root rot.
“When the reservoir bottoms out, just refill where the marker is,” says Rosie.
Remember to replace the pot with fresh water every 1-2 weeks, depending on the climate you live in.
Using a clear pot for your LECA setup can cause algae to start growing, especially if exposed to sunlight, so Rosie recommends “rinsing the pot” every two weeks or once a month.
You can even create a synchronized watering routine if you have a lot of plants like Luke.
“Previously, some plants needed to be watered every three days, while others needed to be watered every two weeks,” he says.
“Now he is watered once every two weeks…and only needs to refill the bottom third of the container.”
Setup can be expensive
Another advantage of LECA, according to Rosie, is that it is sustainable and long-lasting.
“You can clean and sterilize the ball by boiling it in water, then dry it before putting it in. [away] Or reuse them for another plant,” she says.
However, LECA is not widely available in Australia and can be expensive to set up, so Rosie suggests starting small.
“If you look online, you’ll find something for about $10 for a 2.5 liter, but a bag of quality premium potting mix is about $12 for a 25 liter, so it’s almost 10 times the price,” Rosie says.
“[Anyone can use LECA] But for those who are passionate about plants, have the time and love to experiment, are willing to try new things, and cost is not an issue. ”
Which plants are best for LECA?
If you’re considering switching from soil to LECA, Rosie says it’s good for plants that typically grow in environments where their roots get a lot of airflow — Like a rainforest plant, a monstera.
“When it comes to propagating cuttings, I like using LECA on sea squirt cuttings. The speed at which the roots grow is pretty amazing.”
Before putting the leka in the pan, wash it thoroughly to remove any residue.
A final tip is to test LECA on younger plants than those you have been using for some time.
“It’s probably not a good idea because the root system gets very large and it’s hard to remove all the soil without damaging it,” she says.
“I recommend trying it on young plants whose root system is still small, as it can cause a lot of stress.”
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https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/what-is-leca-and-how-do-i-use-it-to-grow-indoor-plants-/101415002 Advantages and disadvantages of growing foliage plants with LECA