LECA Tips?

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When setting up my enclosure, I needed some LECA to create a false bottom and a local feed store was selling 50L bags for $28, so I have about 45L left and would like to try a different grow style. I’ve been doing research and reading old threads, but anyone have any tips? Like, is there a preferable style of pot? Do you keep a small reservoir in a saucer under the pot? I want to put this LECA to use, but not come home to a dead Paph.
 

Ray

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At one point in my career I traveled extensively, averaging 13 flights a week for 3.5 years. It is very difficult to care for your plants when you’re not there…. Stuff wouldn’t get watered when it was blisteringly hot, and would stay saturated when it was cold and gray, and nothing got repotted in time. That’s when I started experimenting with what I called “semi-hydroponics”.

A Paph was the first plant I tried, and it took off like a rocket, so that encouraged me to try others. All of my plants now - mostly paphs and phrags - are in inorganic media, whether that be LECA in S/H culture, or a mix of LECA and rock wool cubes in more traditional culture.

There are a few caveats, but you can learn more about it at my website.

Yes, there is a reservoir, so that water can be wicked up in the medium.

There will be some evaporative cooling from the moist, open LECA, so if your temperatures are marginal for warm growers, their root systems may be too cold in S/H.

S/H culture is NOT a good idea for weak plants. Any time you change the potting medium, there will be stress on the plant, and if that “new” is a great deal different from the “old”, the stress is greater.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
213
Reaction score
115
Location
Portland, Oregon
At one point in my career I traveled extensively, averaging 13 flights a week for 3.5 years. It is very difficult to care for your plants when you’re not there…. Stuff wouldn’t get watered when it was blisteringly hot, and would stay saturated when it was cold and gray, and nothing got repotted in time. That’s when I started experimenting with what I called “semi-hydroponics”.

A Paph was the first plant I tried, and it took off like a rocket, so that encouraged me to try others. All of my plants now - mostly paphs and phrags - are in inorganic media, whether that be LECA in S/H culture, or a mix of LECA and rock wool cubes in more traditional culture.

There are a few caveats, but you can learn more about it at my website.

Yes, there is a reservoir, so that water can be wicked up in the medium.

There will be some evaporative cooling from the moist, open LECA, so if your temperatures are marginal for warm growers, their root systems may be too cold in S/H.

S/H culture is NOT a good idea for weak plants. Any time you change the potting medium, there will be stress on the plant, and if that “new” is a great deal different from the “old”, the stress is greater.
Just finished reading through the S/H information on your website and it's now bookmarked for future reference! I have around 20 delenatii album seedlings that I separated several weeks ago, so I'll either purchase a BS Paph. to try S/H or wait for some seedlings to get more mature and then try it. I also believe I'd be able to create a drip system for a S/H grow since I have no shortage of PVC, drip lines, emitters, rain rings, etc. that are up for grabs here at work since we recently converted the entire facility to hand watering.
 

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