How to Use LECA Balls (Clay Pebbles)

Last Updated on November 29, 2022 by Stephanie

Are you unsure of how to utilize ball LECA? The answer is dependent on whether they are employed in garden at home aquaponic, semi-hydroponic or aquaponic systems. It is simple to grow in a medium in your home and can be used alone or when used in conjunction with soil.

Why should you not use dry LECA balls when you are planting your plants? The low-cost growing medium is versatile and useful but you must adhere to the essential but simple guidelines.

Maybe one of the Alocasia cultivars that thrives on well-drained soil needs for repotted? This is an excellent chance to test the LECA balls that you recently given or purchased.

I will discuss three methods to use clay pellets to grow plants. Follow the steps listed to ensure the overall health and well-being of your favourite pot plants and ensure that their roots get sufficient oxygen.

Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate

What is LECA? LECA is a shorthand for light-weight expanding clay aggregate. The clay is pre-treated and baked in a rotary oven at temperatures of more than 2000 degrees F into tiny size balls ranging from 4mm to 25mm in size.

After baking the clay is expanded. The expanded clays properties make it extremely light, with balls that weigh around 250 kg/m3. Most often, it is used for water purification and construction Large LECA boulders can range between 100 and 500mm in diameter and weigh approximately 500 kg/m3.

LECA is made of clay and is a great source of plant growth because it has thermal insulation, with a pH of 7, and is not decomposing under moist conditions.

How Do You Use LECA Balls for Plants?

Leca balls are not organic and dont break down, making them among the most adaptable growing media. They can be utilized in hydroponics (plants that do not require soil) as well as in aquaponics (aquatic life within this system) or as a supplement to soil for pot plants by gardeners at home.

Indoor plants on shelf

If used as a stand-alone, LECA Balls can be set up in a variety of configurations, that have pros and cons for each. You can choose between the wicking, ebb and the flow aeroponics, and drip systems.

Hydroponics systems that do not have LECA make use of deep water cultivation and the technique of nutrient film.

There are two strategies I would recommend using to grow your own pot plants at home. The first is stagnant nutrient Wicking, and the other is a non-wicking arrangement called passive hydroponics.

These techniques are easy to implement since they dont require any water circulation using pumps.

The nutrient stagnant and wicking system makes use of a cotton string as well as microfibre fabric to draw the water that is rich in nutrients to the LECA balls that are over.

These LECA clay pebbles dont give your plant the nutrients it needs to flourish.

It is necessary to add nutrients to your water. The rooting remedy and a general fertilizer for hydroponicswill aid your plants roots to develop faster and stronger.

Repotting Your Plant with LECA balls and soil

Have you noticed that your plant has outgrown the pot? You might consider repotting it with the soil mix and 15 to 25 millimeter LECA balls. For instance you can think of the tongue of your grandmothers tongue is recommended to be repotted every six months or whenever roots appear to extend beneath the pebbles for drainage.

Follow the steps below for simple and efficient Repotting using LECA balls.

  1. Clean the LECA to get rid of dust and debris (avoid the risk of letting clay dust fall into your drain)
  2. The balls should be soaked for at least 24 hours in order to get rid of any unwanted chemical substances
  3. Refill the water and let it soak for a second time
  4. Take your plant out of the container, and gently take the soil from the root
  5. Clean the roots with water prior to inspecting and remove any sections that are rotten.
  6. The lower three thirds of the vessel with the soaked LECA balls to form an illusion of a bottom
  7. Place the plant in the container and then fill it with a mix of dirt and LECA balls
  8. Your new plant with fertilizer, and keep an eye on it in the coming weeks.

How Do You Use LECA Balls in Hydroponics?

In the case of a Hydroponics plant it is recommended to utilize clay balls for gardening without soil. Be sure to plan your hydroponic system in accordance with the requirements for the plants you want to cultivate.

Active methods are a bit more costly since they usually require a pump for water. The passive technique of using a microfiber fabric to draw water from a reservoir of nutrient solutions is the best option for those who are new to.

Before purchasing your hydroponics equipment, make the effort to prepare your LECA balls according to the procedure described above in steps 1 through 3.

The next step is to put together your hydroponic setup. Youll require an growing tray reservoir, wick and, if you are able to afford it, an an aeration system. A pump and airstone can help keep your plants healthy and well by dispersing oxygen throughout the water.

Fill the reservoir with water and mix the nutrients into the water. Put the LECA balls that have been soaked LECA balls at the bottom of the grow tray. place your plants in the containers, and cover the area surrounding the plants.

The plants roots must always be immersed in water. Utilize two microfiber cloths to aid in wicking liquid from your reservoir up onto the tray for growth to ensure that the roots remain moist.

How Do LECA Balls Work?

If used in conjunction with potting mix, they aid in drainage and also prevent root rot by aerating soil. When they are placed in at the base of the pot plants, LECA clay ball absorbs a portion of the water inside the pot, while keeping roots from getting in contact with the water.

The clay pebbles are free of living organisms, as opposed to soil, so it is less likely that they will trigger infections when they are wet for prolonged durations of time.

The plants root is located between the LECA ball and continues to get tiny amounts of water.

Typically, potting soil expands as time passes, becoming more less compact, and decreasing levels of oxygen that is available to the plants root.

When you add LECA in your soil you are helping to improve the amount of oxygen your plants get by creating air pockets inside the soil.

Can You Do Aquaponics With Clay Balls?

Yes, you can cultivate the majority of plants with clay balls and aquaponics. If youre growing plants or producing food in an area with limited water aquaponics could be the right choice the right choice for you.

A small home system usually has plants that grow in containers with LECA balls that are sized appropriately for the plant.

The fish are housed in tanks and supply organic nutrients needed for the growth of plants. Water is circulated to plants by wicking or pumps. If there is sufficient light and space it is possible to grow plants with aquaponics anyplace.

Note: Aquaponics requires less water and takes less of your time than other food methods of production, however, it can be costly to begin.

Can Roots Rot in LECA Balls?

Yes, they do. But the plants you plant are more resistant to root decay within LECA as they would be in the soil. The signs of root rot begin to show up as yellowing foliage, an appearance of droopiness, and roots appear like slimy and brown.

Hydroponic systems that use LECA balls in conjunction with air pumps are less likely to suffer from root rot. The air pump helps oxygenate the water, which prevents the plant from becoming prone to root rot.

FAQ – Common Questions on Clay Balls

These questions are frequently asked for gardeners who are new to making use of LECA balls. I have answered these questions to provide you with the details you need to know to know when you are repotting your plants.

How Much Water Should I Put In a Pot With LECA Balls?

If you are using a hydroponics system the water inside the container must be kept at a level just a little below the root. Check the level every day to make sure your plants are healthy and well-fed.

The plants that are grown with a mix of soil as well as LECA mixture will adhere to the needs of each plants requirements. For instance the Alocasia cucullata thrives in the highest levels of moisture and well-drained soil.

If you plant a pot that has LECA balls it is capable of getting more water since the water is absorbed and retained within the clay. Based on the conditions of your garden it is possible that you will only be required to water every week, when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry.

How Do You Fertilize Your Plants in LECA?

It is possible to provide your plants with an all-purpose fertilizer for houseplants each six-month period. You can use a hydroponic fertilizer when your plant is part of semi-hydroponic systems.

These LECA ball, like the ones described above, do not provide any additional nutrients. It is for you to fulfill the nutritional requirements of your plant.

If your plant is the soil with LECA balls The soil continues to release nutrients when it is broken down. Although it is feasible to give them with a regular fertilizer but the hydroponic fertilizer will help ensure healthy growth of the root.

Why Are My Plants Dying In LECA Balls?

There are a variety of reasons why plants could be killed in a plant system that uses LECA ball. Most likely is the absence of water. Although the soil drains quicker but the amount of water that is held inside the LECA ball ensures that the plant tend to last longer durations.

If your plants arent receiving nutrients, they could begin to end up dying. The LECA balls are not decomposable and do not provide any additional nutrients for your plants.

The plants stem and root shouldnt be allowed to be submerged in the water. When they are immersed in water, the roots and stems could suffer from a deficiency of oxygen. This could lead to root rot, which if not treated, can cause the plants demise.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Dry LECA Balls?

LECA products are able to wick away water efficiently. If your roots come in the contact of dried LECA balls, they will draw off the moisture away from your roots, and could cause the roots to die.

Are LECA Balls Better for Hydroponics vs Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a better option for plants which require high levels of nutrients. Aquaponics is best suited to plants that have low requirements for nutrients.

Do I need to boil My LECA Balls Prior to Use?

Your new LECA pebbles were baked in the circular oven and shouldnt contain any unwanted mold, fungi, or bacteria. Although boiling the LECA balls isnt necessary but it is possible to do so after your second soak, and can make them more sterilized.

If youre reusing the same LECA ball, then you could boil them in order to avoid cross-contamination from the previous plant to the new one.

Do I Need to Clean My LECA Balls

If you see your LECA balls turning white, its time to wash them. The reason for the color is due to the build-up of calcium in the water. Remove the clay pellets from the plant and rinse them under the tap until salt is eliminated.

Are you forgetting about your LECA balls that you put in your water? Algae are green coverings and could cause plants to die and create serious problems for hydroponics system.

Clean the LECA balls using bleach or vinegar to eliminate the algae. Be sure to clean the vase as well!

Is It Suitable to Use LECA for Orchids?

Yes you can make use of clay pebbles to grow orchids in a semi-hydroponic setup. Benefits include the ability to water and refill your orchid less often, less frequent repotting, and your plant will not suffer from root rot and provides a beautiful perspective of the roots when you select the clear vase.

Are you shifting your orchid from an ordinary container? The larger plants that grow in soil tend to be more difficult to move to a semi-hydroponic setup. Start by l

Remove your orchid from its medium of growth before washing the roots of the soil by using water. Then follow the instructions for potting LECA balls for hydroponics as listed below.

NOTE: While orchids are considered to be non-toxic however, the fertilizers used to feed them can cause them to be poisonous if they are eaten from your pet.

Do Plants Grow Slower in LECA Balls?

Actually, the reverse is true. The plants could slow down when transplanted in the event that LECA balls were placed in the pots dry.

Tips on How to Use LECA Balls

These tips are designed to assist you in getting the most value from the ball you have purchased from LECA balls.

  • Plants that are younger or species that have smaller root systems.
  • Make use of tools to keep track of your water, such as a kit for testing PH
  • Make sure you invest in the best hydroponics fertilizer
  • Utilize a transparent container to be able to see the roots of your plant
  • Dry your LECA ball in mesh bags, and keep them in a bag in a mesh bag if you dont intend to make use of them immediately.
  • If you have plants that are valued You can make sure to soak your LECA ball for up to a third time prior to making use of them.
  • Although affordable, premium LECA is priced a bit higher and is well worth the investment

The Easiest Way to Use LECA Balls

Once you are aware of the basics of what LECA can be, as well as the simplest methods to make use of LECA balls and the advantages of growing in this flexible medium, you are able to confidently take the next step in your gardening at home.

If you choose to go with hydroponics, semi-hydroponics aquaponic, or mix with soil or LECA balls, youll benefit from the advantages of this well-draining medium for growing.



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)