About a month ago, my Alocasia Silver Dragon started to take a turn for the worse. It had yellow and drooping leaves so I knew I had to do something. This plant had been healthy and growing in the grow tent until now. I really don’t know why it went into a decline. Now was time to take the plunge and transition it over to leca.
What is leca?
Leca is a growing medium made of clay ceramic balls. The leca is usually orange in color but there are different colors. The leca balls provide a plant with plenty of oxygen to it’s roots. Leca is supposed to wick your water up to the roots. The leca I am using in these alocasias is mostly Viastones which is a brand, it is more grey and less round but it works the same way. I started using it because it isn’t round and it doesn’t roll around on the floor when I drop it.
Where do you buy leca?
You can find different kinds of leca growing medium at hydroponics stores, Ikea and on amazon. You can find Viastones on Amazon and it is more affordable than the hydroton. The second type of leca below is a generic one that looks like hydroton, you don’t get as much as you do with the viastones but if you like the look of orange balls then this will work for you. Hydroton is the last one I have provided below.
How do you transition to leca?
So I found an old plastic tupperware container, drilled about 4 holes in it about an inch from the bottom. I soaked the Leca in VF11, Superthrive will also work. I placed the plant into the new container with the leca. Sometimes it is difficult for plants to stay upright in Leca when they are first transitioned, but this guy had such a tall stump and stem he had no difficulty staying up.
I probably could have cut down the stump but I left it in place because I was nervous about transitioning this plant to Leca and didn’t want to add any additional stress to it’s life. I also found 5 bulbs in the soil that I planned to plant up once I got this plant in it’s new home.
Care after plant has been placed in leca
As the plant adjusted to the leca, the leaves started to perk up and the roots started to grow amazingly fast. I misted the plant when it was dry and even gave it some fish emulsion fertilizer.
The silver dragon has now grown 2 pups and they look very healthy. It used to send up pups when it was in soil but they would always die off or rot before they grew into anything. Maybe it is because with leca they have more oxygen at their roots.
The plant now has grown another leaf and it looks extremely healthy. I plan to keep it in Leca for the time being unless it starts to decline again.
With another declining plant, my Alocasia Maharani, I just used a regular old plastic cup that you can buy from Target or the grocery store. I also made 4 holes an inch from the bottom for the reservoir of water.
The Maharani did not really do much in the beginning. I did keep the plant misted and kept a close eye on it. I didn’t see any root growth right away and then one day there was a tiny root. Then a couple of days later, I saw a much bigger white root appear and then a leaf appeared.
So that makes a total of 2 Alocasias that have made a comeback due to the transition to Leca. At this point in time, I do recommend giving Leca a try for your Alocasia plants.
Will leca work for your environment?
Please note that I do grow my plants in a high humidity, high temp grow tent. My results might not be the same as yours but then again you never know until you try. I have listed the grow lights and humidifiers that I use so you can provide these things for your Alocasia. These items should help you get more growth if you are not able to invest in a grow tent setup.
I love the following humidifier, it is top fill and the mist goes nice and high so it gets to all of my plants. If I could trade all of other ones that I have bought, I would definitely trade them with this one.
I have these grow lights in one of my grow tents and also in my milsbo Ikea greenhouse cabinet. These lights are light and very bright.
Next time we will look at growing Alocasias from bulbs
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