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I really wanted to believe that all plants could thrive in LECA. I have heard that it cuts down on pests and some plants grow really big in leca for some people. So I decided to would try a few plants in it and see how it goes. Here are my fails in the LECA experiment.
Monstera Adansonii Wide Form
My Monstera Adansonii wide form wasn’t doing so well in it’s original soil, so I decided to transition it to LECA. I didn’t put it in water first, instead I just plopped it right into leca. Also, I placed it in the IKEA Greenhouse for heat and humidity. In the beginning, it seemed to do well and the roots grew like crazy. Unfortunately, the plant never was able to even put out a leaf in leca. Looking back on it now, maybe I should have tried fertilizing it. I didn’t want to lose it so I quickly put it back into dirt.
I decided to put one of my larger Clarinerviums into LECA. In order to aid with the transition, I put the plant into water first. It sat on my workbench in the basement under a grow light in water and seemed to do okay. It did not really grow any water roots but the soil roots didn’t rot either. So after about 3 weeks in water, I transferred the plant to leca. I put the plant into my propagating grow tent and it seemed to do well at first and even grew a new leaf at one point.
Unfortunately, the plant started to decline and eventually all of it’s leaves died back. The plant was put into sphagnum moss, then transitioned back to dirt and placed it back in the grow tent. It seems to be dead at this time since it has not put out any new growth at all. I do have 1 big plant left and 4 smaller ones to try and grow bigger.
A couple of my Clarinervium seedlings were placed in Leca and they didn’t do well either. The seedlings are now back in dirt. One had a crispy leaf but it is growing a new leaf, the other one is in the large grow tent and it has some green growing out already. So it wasn’t a total loss, just an experiment.
Philodendron Splash Gordon
This plant wasn’t really doing much in soil so I decided to transfer it into leca and put it in the grow tent. It didn’t do well right away and did not even grow any new roots or leaves. After I left it in leca for a while and nothing happened, I decided to put it back in soil with a moss pole. The plant is now in the IKEA grow tent and I am hoping it will start to grow better in this environment.
At first, philodendron splendid seemed to thrive in LECA in the grow tent but it soon started to decline. The plant was looking beautiful in some pictures I took of it, but now it is struggling. The leaves just want to stay small and sickly. I was planning to put into a terra cotta pot but decided to go with a plastic cup instead so I could put some LECA in the bottom.
This plant also struggled to survive in LECA but verrucosum is a surviver. It hasn’t died but it looks very sickly and the leaves have stayed small on what is left. I have cut up most of the stem and placed the cuttings in a propagation box.
You may ask, should I not transition my plant to LECA?
I do not want to discourage you from trying LECA for these and other plants. Your growing conditions may be very different from mine. You also may have more time to spend with your plants to monitor them closely. Please transition at your own risk, closely monitor and make sure you have multiples of the plant you want to transition to LECA. What doesn’t work for me may work for you and may work very well.