The plants in LECA are fertilized with a specific hydroponic solution that is added to the water. With the list of advantages and a price that is affordable you may be thinking about making use of LECA balls for your garden.
How can how do you fertilize plants that are in LECA? This article will cover the major methods of cultivating plants using expanded clay aggregates and how each one should be fertilized.
It is possible to provide your plants with fertilizers that are ready to use or follow our easy instructions to create your own nutrient solution. Learn more about the best ways to fertilize your plants that are grown in LECA.
What Is Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate?
LECA can be a shorthand that is a reference to the word “lightweight expanded clay aggregate. It is made from clay which is then treated by baking with chemicals. It is dried in a rotating oven at temperatures of more than 2000 degrees F.
The final product, which is used to garden at home is clay balls that range in size that range from 4mm to 25mm in diameter.
After being baked, clay pebbles expand and firm into small balls of light weight about 250 kg/m3. The clay aggregate is ideal for growing plants, with the advantages of the ability to retain moisture, thermal insulation, and neutral pH.
The growing medium unlike soil doesn’t break down and give plants nutrients. The clay balls soak up to 30 percent of their weight in water and expand slightly after being they are soaked.
How Can You Use LECA Balls?
Perhaps your houseplant is rootbound? This is the ideal time to plant again using a mix with soil as well as LECA.
Check out my article on how to make use of LECA balls to take an in-depth look at the process of repotting your plant.
Make use of the LECA to fill one third of your container to create an illusion of a bottom. Place your plant or seedling in place while filling the rest of the container with a mixture with soil as well as the LECA ball. Fill the pot with water until you get to an amount that is just below the plant’s roots.
Important An clear container allows you to easily observe the roots of your plant while providing an attractive visual aspect for your collection of indoor plants.
Benefits of Feeding Plants in LECA Clay Balls
The advantages include longer intervals between watering the plants less chance of root rot and less chance of pests. It is also easier to monitor your plants.
If you have soil, your watering schedule could require a weekly check-up. Fortunately, LECA regulates the moisture in your planter by absorbing water once it is present and then storing it in a manner that allows the roots around it to take it in at the later time.
A plant that is potted that is surrounded by LECA balls are less susceptible to root rot than a plant that is grown in soil. As time passes, soil begins to shrink and decrease the amount of oxygen that is available to the root system of the plant.
The wide gaps between clay balls aid in evaporate, which increases the humidity in the immediate surroundings of the plant.
LECA does not contain living organisms and will not decompose or turn to rot when immersed in water. If soil remains wet for long periods of time, it attracts insects and other pests of different kinds.
Drawbacks of Feeding Plants in LECA Clay Balls
The negatives are stunted growth of the root, wilting plants when improperly applied as well as reliance on fertilizer.
How Do You Fertilize Plants in LECA?
Fertilizing plants in LECA is simple and is often less complicated than fertilizing plants in the soil.
The medium that grows releases no nutrients and doesn’t break down, which reduces the variables you should consider when you add fertiliser to plants.
Feeding Plants In a Semi-Hydroponic System
The semi-hydroponics system makes use of LECA (or an equivalent growing medium) without the need for organic soil for growing plants.
It is a simple system to transform plants into and it is ideal to plants that need large quantities of nutrients, high humidity levels, or well-drained soil.
Add a fertilizer for hydroponics to your water after you’ve repotted your plant. Keep monitoring and watering your plant for the first two weeks, since an abrupt lack of water could damage the root system.
You should consider investing in a top-quality fertilizer as this is the sole source of food for your plants. Add 1/4 teaspoon in general hydroponics fertiliser for each gallon of water, or follow the directions of the specific product you are using.
After a couple of weeks of monitoring your plant, you can alter the amount of nutrients you add. After one week, if the plant isn’t flourishing you can increase the amount to 1/2 teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon water.
Choose Only the Best Clay Pebbles
Although the product is typically inexpensive, selecting a budget LECA product could lead to costly issues in the future.
Due to its robust and long-lasting properties You won’t be regretting spending more on this expanding medium for the first time.
What can you tell whether LECA balls aren’t good enough? Clay aggregate must be made using 100 percent clay. After being soaked, LECA balls shouldn’t float.
The rough-looking clay pellets may have sharp edges, and are not suitable for hydroponics. The size of the clay pebbles is uniform. essential if you want to aim to create a visually appealing backyard garden.
Properties of Clay Aggregate
LECA is a broader, but still hard and durable composition due to the use of rotary kilns to dry, heat, and then ‘roast’ the clay pellets.
This process produces an even closed-cell pore structure which allows the clay to absorb a significant amount of water.
The clay used in the production of LECA is mixed and blended to create a consistent consistency prior to being transformed into pellets.
If heated, the mix of clay contained in the pellets expands slowly up to six times its size. This expands the clay and gives the LECA its light weight properties.
Expanded clay aggregate is of zero nutritional benefit. Although it is not toxic, insects do not consider LECA to be suitable for habitation.
LECA has an acidic pH, is chemically inert, sterileand incombustible and resistant to algae and chemicals.
It won’t shrink when subjected to the pressure of constant gravity or under any other conditions. LECA balls are unchanged after their use, which makes them long-lasting gardening companions.
The LECA is insulated and keeps an even temperature over different conditions due to its thermal insulation.
Although it is not as important for gardening uses, LECA is also a excellent soundproofing material due to its excellent soundproofing properties.
Monitor Your Ph Up and Down
The majority of plants thrive in soils that are slightly acidic because it allows the plants access to the majority of the nutrients that are available.
In both semi-hydroponic and soil systems, the pH of your growing medium may change. What are the reasons to monitor your pH levels? If the pH is too high or low, the plants will not perform as they should.
This results in a decrease in their capacity to absorb nutrients and to grow healthy.
The alkalinity or acidity of your medium for growing is measured in units of pH on a scale ranging from zero to 14. The pH value of 7 indicates considered neutral. The majority of plants that are grown thrive in an acidic atmosphere with a pH of 6.5.
Each plant has its own preferred pH for soil that must be assessed prior to applying fertilizer to the soil.
If your plants’ newest leaves turning yellow this could be a sign of the presence of iron deficiencies. Because the soil is too acidic, the plant is unable to absorb the iron in the soil or in fertilizers.
Making a semi-hydroponic system for your houseplants is an perfect gardening venture for beginners. Start by repotting the houseplant you have already planted or transfer your seedlings across.
Herbs like mint, oregano basil, lavender, rosemary, as well as sage, are useful and appealing to grow hydroponically.
Hydroponics Nutrients Solution Recipe
Making hydroponic fertilizers is simple to make and doesn’t take too long. Are you short on time? You can purchase an Hydroponic fertiliser that is ready for use.
Plants require nitrogen as well as potassium, phosphorus, as well as a variety of trace elements. Here are two fertilizer options that you can make at your home.
DIY Nutrient Solution
The recipe has many components however it is very simple to mix. It is necessary to mix the following ingredients:
- 255g Potassium nitrate
- 198g calcium phosphate
- 170g magnesium Sulfate
- 43g powdered ammonium Sulfate powdered
- 113g of monocalcium phosphate
- 1/2 teaspoon iron Sulfate.
Simply add 10% of solution to every gallon of water you require and check the pH before using. Houseplants have their own preferences however, they generally range between 6 and 7.
Be aware that the dry ingredients can cause irritation to the skin, so wear goggles and other appropriate protection.
Organic Seaweed Solution
This is a natural remedy that you can make a base recipe for. It’s affordable and only needs two ingredients including seaweed as well as Epsom salts. If you notice indications of deficiencies it is possible to supplement with an already-made liquid fertilizer.
All you have to do is submerge six inches of seaweed in 5 gallon buckets of water. Wrap it in cheesecloth to stop the release of any sediment after letting it sit to dry in sunlight for five days.
Mix 5 tablespoons Epsom salts. check the pH before applying the solution. Seaweed solutions are typically alkaline, and should have an average of 7.
FAQ – Commonly Ask Questions About Fertilizing LECA
The following questions are frequently asked for gardeners who are new to using LECA , and could help you.
What Fertilizer Do You Use for LECA?
The most effective fertilizers for houseplants that are grown within LECA are specifically designed for hydroponics. These formulas address the nutrients that are not typically provided to plants in the soil.
Can You Use Normal Fertilizer for LECA?
Regular fertilizers can’t give a plant that is grown in LECA with the nutrients it requires.
Since there is little or any soil within a semi-hydroponic setup it will be deficient in nutrients and trace elements.
How Do You Care for LECA Plants?
The care of a plant in LECA is simple. First, make sure your plant receives a adequate amount of sunlight.
Second, ensure that the water level topped up just below the roots of the plant. Thirdly, keep an eye on the leaves of the plant and check the pH levels.
Conductivity tests can be conducted to determine the amount of salts dissolved in the solution. The presence of high levels of salt can limit the ability of a plant to absorb water.
Do You Have to Soak LECA?
It is always best to make sure you use LECA that is submerged. The water-wicking properties of this medium is that it draws moisture away from the roots of the plant when it is placed in an empty container.
It is recommended to first wash them (avoid the risk of letting clay run into your drainage) and then let them soak for 24 hours before taking them out to soak in fresh water for another six hours.
If you have one with a lot of value, you could cook the LECA balls in your final soak to make sure they are sterile prior to use.
Tips on Fertilizing Plants in LECA
- If your semi-hydroponic planter has a lot of water in it you can add nutrients to multiple batches.
- Do not overfill your container to avoid spills and waste of the mixed nutrients.
- Mix the powdered solution of nutrient in water the next day that you plan to drink water to get the best outcomes.
- If the water level decreases due to evaporation, you should add fresh water since adding more nutrients can create an imbalance.
Now You Know How to Fertilize Your Plants in LECA
It’s really simple! Utilizing LECA as a medium for growing for your home plants will save you time, and in the end also, money.
Due to the amazing capacity of plants to grow in this clay aggregate you are able to adhere to a simple monitoring and watering routine.
Select a fertilizer that is ready to use or follow our directions to create your own. What are you wasting time with? Grow!