How to Convert Plants from Soil to LECA in a Semi Hydroponic System?

Converting Plants to LECA in Semi Hydroponics

Semi-Hydroponic System for House Plants

How to Grow Houseplants in Semi Hydroponics: Convert Plants from Soil to LECA

Have you been planning to start indoor gardening or have an existing houseplant that you want to improve by providing the right care? Or have you been trying to grow your orchids for a while now but still having difficulties? If you answered yes to my questions, then this article has the solution to your worries, and converting your houseplants to semi-hydroponics is the best solution to your problems. Keep on reading to learn more about the basics of semi-hydroponics.

LECA in a Semi Hydroponic System
LECA in a Semi Hydroponic System

What is Semi-Hydroponics for Indoor Plants?

Semi hydroponic or hydroculture is a method to grow plants using an inorganic material such as LECA or clay aggregate, which is lightweight, strong, permeable, and porous inform, rather than using soil, bark, or peat moss.

The main objective of the semi-hydroponics method is to alleviate the burden of regularly watering your plants, keep it hydrated, and prevent overwatering, and have trouble-free gardening. It is possible through the wicking or capillary action wherein a nutrient solution is stored in a reservoir to provide the needed minerals and water directly to the plant roots.

How to Set Up a Semi-Hydroponic System for House Plants?

Semi-Hydroponic System for House Plants
Semi-Hydroponic System for House Plants

There are many available pots on the market that you can use for semi-hydroponics, but if you like do-it-yourself projects, making your pot is easier and cheaper. You can use recycled materials or old containers to create your semi-hydro pots.

To create your pot, you will need 2 plastic containers, one plastic bowl, which is smaller, and another plastic bowl that is a bit bigger and where the smaller bowl will fit. Poke a couple of holes on the smaller bowl, which will serve as the inner pot, and place it inside the bigger bowl, serving as the outer pot and water reservoir.

What’s You’ll Need for Semi-Hydro Setup?

  • Net Pot – serve as an inner pot that has holes or slits (Buy it from Shopee)
  • Catch Pot – serve as an outer pot where the nutrients and water is held in a reservoir
  • Inorganic Medium – LECA or clay aggregate (Buy it from Shopee)
  • pH Testing Kit – for a balanced nutrient solution
  • Semi-Hydro specialized nutrients- fertilizer design for LECA (Buy it from Shopee)
  • Vitamin solution for Plants

How to Convert Plants from Soil to LECA?

How to Convert Plants from Soil to LECA
How to Convert Plants from Soil to LECA

If you want to convert your plants to LECA, you can start with less developed plants and newly propagated plants since larger and mature plants are harder to convert to LECA.

  • Prepare your LECA by rinsing with lukewarm water and soak for at least 6 hours before using it. If you are going to reuse LECA, sterilize it with isopropyl alcohol before reusing it.
  • Prepare your plant and carefully take it out from the pot and remove the entire medium from the roots. Rinse it off with water to remove the remaining medium around the root system. Check and trim off the rotten roots using clean scissors, and spray the roots with a hydrogen peroxide solution.
  • After the root system is fully dry, you can re-pot your plant. Place your LECA in the inner pot and fill ¼ of it. Put your plant and its roots on the center and fill it with LECA. Avoid compressing LECA around the root system. Afterward, place your inner pot inside the outer pot.

Providing Nutrients & Watering

Once you have converted from soil to LECA, it will be easier to take care of your plants, and watering it will be hassle-free. But to make sure that your plants grow healthy, you should provide the recommended nutrients and water and maintain your LECA clean.

  • Provide the recommended vitamin solution for your plants in the first two weeks from repotting it and give the required needs and environment for each plant species.
  • LECA consists of baked clay balls and doesn’t contain any nutrients; therefore, you need to supply your plants with the recommended nutrient solution.
  • Step 6: Once you have prepared a nutrient solution, you can start watering your plants. Fill the reservoir with enough water until it touches LECA, but avoid overwatering it and drown the root system to avoid root rot.
  • Step 7: Maintain the water level on your reservoir to control the pH of the solution.
  • Step 8: Flushing every 2 weeks is recommended if you are using LECA as a medium. Take out your inner pot and place it under running water to rinse off the excess salt build-up from the nutrient solution. Clean your outer pot thoroughly before refilling your reservoir with a new nutrient solution, and then put back your inner pot.

References

  • How to Convert Plants to LECA: A Semi Hydroponic System, Maria Louise Design
  • Grant, What Is Semi-Hydroponics – Growing Semi-Hydroponics At Home, Gardening Know-How
  • Gravel, (2019), What is Semi Hydroponics, Gigi Belle Plants

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