Growing Pothos in LECA: Pro’s & Con’s & How-to Grow Guide

Have you ever wondered if there’s a better way to grow your Pothos plants than just soil and water? Well, there is! With the help of LECA, a remarkable soilless media that combines the best of both worlds, you can give your plants the perfect growing environment. 

By growing your Pothos in LECA, you’ll drastically reduce the risk of overwatering and root rot. The pellets will automatically draw water up to the roots as long as you keep the container about one-third full of water. And to keep your Pothos healthy, you’ll only need to add small amounts of hydroponic fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks. 

Also, don’t worry if you’re new to this – we’re here to guide you through the process.

Do Pothos Like Leca? Yes! Here’S Why

LECA, or Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate, is a popular choice among houseplant enthusiasts, and for a good reason! These small, porous clay balls are the ideal growing medium for plants, including your beloved Pothos.

LECA is made up of little clay balls about the size of marbles that have been heated in a kiln, causing hundreds of tiny bubbles to form in the clay. This process results in a lightweight and porous material that can hold a lot of moisture while also allowing for excellent drainage.

One of the most significant benefits of LECA is its ability to act as a wick, drawing water up to the plant’s roots. In addition, each clay ball can retain water, preventing your Pothos from becoming dehydrated. 

This makes LECA perfect for semi-hydroponic or semi-hydro plant development.

To use LECA, place the clay balls in a jar, vase, bucket, or container with a reservoir of water at the base. Your Pothos plant is then placed on top of the LECA, allowing its roots to penetrate and absorb the moisture as needed.

So, why is LECA better than traditional soils for your Pothos plant? The benefits include excellent drainage, reduced risk of overwatering, and the ability to efficiently regulate moisture levels. Plus, with its porous structure, LECA provides your Pothos with the ideal growing environment, ensuring healthy growth and vibrant foliage.

Let’s explore these benefits further.

5 Benefits Of Growing Pothos in Leca

1. Simplifies Watering

Growing a Pothos plant (Devil’s Ivy or Epipremnum Aureum) can be tricky because you need to water it just right. If you overwater it, the roots can rot, and the plant can die. But the plant can wilt and dry out if you don’t water it enough. 

Using LECA can help simplify watering. The clay balls keep the roots moist without making them too wet, and they won’t get mushy like soil can. This can help prevent overwatering.

2. Not As Messy & Reusable

LECA is also cleaner than soil, so it’s less messy when you’re planting or transferring your plants. It’s also less likely to attract pests because insects don’t like the clean environment of LECA. 

And if you ever need to move your plant to a new pot or if it dies, you can reuse the LECA instead of throwing it away. Just boil the pellets in water to clean them before using them again.

3. Reduces Pest Problems

Insects like to live in the soil of houseplants, which can harm the plants. However, when you grow your Pothos in LECA, there are fewer pest infestations. This is because it’s harder for insects to establish a home in the clean, soil-free environment of LECA.

Whereas overwatered soil is the perfect home for pests like fungus gnats.

So while growing your Pothos in LECA won’t completely prevent insect issues, it dramatically reduces the chances of it happening.

4. Promotes Healthy Root Growth

healthy pothos roots

LECA promotes healthy root growth in Pothos plants. As the roots grow, they can penetrate the spaces between the clay balls and absorb the water and nutrients they need. 

The roots also have access to plenty of oxygen, which is crucial for healthy root development. Over time, the roots will grow stronger and healthier, leading to a more robust and attractive plant.

5. Versatile & Customizable

You can also combine LECA with other growing mediums such as vermiculite, coco coir, and perlite to create the best pothos potting soil blend

There are also different-sized LECA balls. This can help match the size of the clay balls with the pot and plant sizes.

Although adjusting to this new semi-hydroponic system may take some time, many plant enthusiasts have found that their Pothos plants thrive in LECA.

As with most things in life, not everything is perfect. Let’s look at some of the drawbacks of using LECA with Pothos.

2 Drawbacks To Growing Pothos Plants in Leca

Although LECA has many benefits for your Pothos, it’s essential to also consider these two drawbacks:

1. Expensive

LECA can be expensive, especially if you’re converting multiple plants to semi-hydroponic growth. Additionally, you’ll need extra supplies, such as pH testing kits and new containers, which can add to the cost.

2. Requires More Maintenance

LECA is an entirely inorganic medium that doesn’t provide the necessary nutrients for your Pothos to grow. 

You’ll need to regularly provide fertilizer and check the pH of the water in your plant’s reservoir, which can require some trial and error to get right.

Despite these drawbacks, many plant enthusiasts still find the benefits of LECA to be worth it, as their indoor plants tend to be healthier and more vibrant. Ultimately, deciding if the cost and maintenance are worth the benefits is up to you.

Getting Started: Supplies Needed

Before starting a pothos with LECA, you’ll want to ensure you have all the supplies needed.

Leca&Nbsp;

LECA is essential for semi-hydroponic growth, and several brands are available in the market. However, the brand that initiated using clay pebbles is the best (Hydroton).

When purchasing LECA, it is crucial to determine the required quantity. For example, a 25-liter bag will last for a long time if you plan to transfer multiple plants to LECA. 

On the other hand, a 10-liter box would be sufficient if you wish to try it out and assess your liking for it.

Ph Kit&Nbsp;

Maintaining the pH level of the water in your LECA reservoir is crucial for the health of your Pothos plant. To make this process easier, we recommend using a pH testing kit, which allows you to quickly and easily check the acidity of the water. 

The optimal water pH range for Pothos plants is between 6.0 to 6.5¹. This will ensure that your plant receives the proper nutrients and avoid any potential problems arising from imbalanced pH levels.

Fertilizer&Nbsp;

As previously mentioned, plants growing in LECA require frequent fertilization. Unfortunately, regular houseplant fertilizer is insufficient and cannot be relied upon. 

For the roots to absorb the necessary nutrients, chemical processes must occur in the soil. A hydroponic liquid fertilizer that can be added directly to the water is needed.

Containers&Nbsp;

When growing a Pothos in LECA, using a container with a stable foundation is essential. Traditional houseplant containers are only ideal if the drainage holes are sealed. 

Choosing a container with a broad mouth is also beneficial to make watering easier and removing the Pothos when needed.

Despite these constraints, there are still plenty of options available for choosing the best pothos pot. For example, plastic buckets or vases with elaborate designs can be used, and transparent glass containers are great for easy water level monitoring.

You may also consider purchasing a net pot that fits within the larger water container. The plant and LECA can be placed in this permeable container, allowing for moisture absorption and easy removal. 

Alternatively, cutting holes in an extra plastic pot or using a takeout carton can be a more cost-effective solution.

Water&Nbsp;

It is important to note that the water you use for your Pothos grown in LECA may impact its growth. While tap water is usually safe, some areas may have high mineral or problematic pH levels. In such cases, it may be necessary to use distilled water instead.

Rainwater is also an option, but it may not always be reliable or sufficient for your Pothos’ hydration needs. Additionally, while rainwater may contain organic nutrients, its trace amounts may not be enough to support the plant’s growth entirely.

How To Grow Pothos in Leca: Transferring From Soil To Leca in 5 Steps

Are you ready to give your Pothos plant a new home in LECA? Here’s what you need to do to transition from soil to LECA:

Step 1: Prep Your Leca

LECA can be dusty when it’s fresh out of the bag, so you’ll want to give it a good rinse before use. Soak the pebbles in water for 24 hours to make sure they’re fully hydrated. This will prevent the LECA from expanding too much and overflowing your container when you water it later.

Step 2: Mix Your Nutrient Solution

Add hydroponic fertilizer to your water according to the instructions on the package. Start with a weak mixture, as your Pothos doesn’t need a lot of nutrients right after transplanting. Check the pH of your solution and adjust it if necessary.

Step 3: Fill Your Container

Fill your container about one-third to two-thirds full with LECA substrate, depending on the size and shape of your container. You want to leave enough space so that the water won’t touch the roots of your Pothos, as this can be harmful.

Step 4: Move Your Pothos

Gently remove your Pothos from its old pot and clean the roots of any remaining organic matter. Place it on top of the LECA in the new container and gradually add more clay pebbles around the roots until the plant is at the same depth as before. Be gentle to avoid damaging the roots.

Step 5: Give Your Pothos a Break

Transplanting can be stressful for plants, so give your Pothos some time to adjust. Keep it out of direct sunlight, and make sure the temperature stays between 65 and 85 degrees. Your Pothos may lose some leaves but should recover within a week or two.

Plant Care After Transfer

Once your Pothos has been established in its new LECA home, it’s vital to maintain its water supply. Check on it once a week, add water as needed, and completely replace it every 2-4 weeks to prevent stagnation. 

When you change the water, remember to replenish the nutrients according to the instructions on your fertilizer package. It’s better to use too little pothos fertilizer than too much, as over-fertilizing can damage the new water roots.

Mineral salts in the fertilizer solution may cause a yellowish crust to form on the LECA; this can be easily flushed out by saturating the root system with water. 

If you’re using a net pot, rinse it in the sink, but if not, you’ll need to fill and empty the reservoir until the crust is removed. 

Finally, when filling the reservoir with new water, always check the pH and calibrate it if necessary using the instructions provided with your pH kit.

Video

Here’s a video that will give you a visual of what growing a pothos in LECA looks like:

Faq

Can I skip LECA and grow my Pothos in water alone? 

While it is possible to grow a Pothos in water alone, it is vital to remember that it may require more maintenance and care than growing it in LECA or soil. You’ll still need to provide hydroponic nutrients. 

Additionally, providing some form of support for the roots, such as LECA, can help the plant grow stronger and healthier.

Can I propagate Pothos in leca?

Yes, you can propagate Pothos in LECA. Follow the same propagation steps as you would in water.

References

1: https://mjas.analis.com.my/mjas/v25_n6/pdf/Lee_25_6_9.pdf

Website | + posts

Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.