How to Grow Healthy Pothos Plants in LECA Aggregate?

Growing pothos plants in LECA or lightweight expanded clay aggregates is an easy and efficient method. LECA provides several benefits for pothos plants like improved drainage, aeration of roots, and the ability to re-water frequently.

LECA balls (light expanded clay aggregates) are an alternative to soilless potting mixes for growing various types of plants hydroponically. LECA is made by expanding clay balls at high-temperature which creates billions of tiny pores that hold air and water. These porous aggregates provide a solid anchor for plant roots while allowing for optimal flow of oxygen, water, and nutrients to the roots.

Pothos plants, scientifically known as Epipremnum aureum, are one of the easiest houseplants to grow. They can thrive in LECA with minimum care. The network of underground roots and aerial roots of pothos easily establish in the gaps between LECA balls. Their tolerance to infrequent watering also makes them a good fit for hydroponic growth in LECA aggregates.

In this article, we will discuss how to grow pothos plants in LECA balls step-by-step from preparing the aggregates and planting cuttings to caring for your LECA-grown pothos. We will also address potential issues and how to remedy common problems that may arise. With a proper understanding of the LECA culture method and regular care, your pothos plant in LECA will be climbing happily for years to come.

Choosing the Right Pot and LECA for Pothos Plant

Healthy Pothos Plants in LECA

When selecting the size of your pot and LECA balls for your pothos plant, there are a few factors to consider in order to promote optimal growth. Follow these guidelines to make the right choices:

Pot Size

For a single 4-6 inch pothos cutting, a plastic or terra cotta pot with a diameter of 8-10 inches will suffice. However, as the plant matures, it will likely require repotting into a larger pot, around 12-14 inches in diameter, within a year. When repotting, opt for a pot that is only 2-4 inches larger in diameter than the current one. This will help maintain a manageable rootball size for the plant’s overall health.

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Choose medium to large LECA balls ranging from 5mm to 15mm in diameter. Larger balls provide better root drainage and aeration, while smaller ones tend to clog more easily.

Fill the pot with LECA balls, leaving approximately 1-2 inches of space from the rim. This allows room for adding nutrients and water later on. Submerge your pothos cuttings into the LECA, ensuring that the node or leaf emergence area is fully submerged. Then, firmly compact the LECA around the cutting to provide stability.

For accelerated growth, consider a “semi-hydro” LECA setup. Fill the bottom 2-3 inches of the pot with LECA and the remaining portion with a nutrient solution. This arrangement allows the roots to access both oxygen from the LECA above and moisture/nutrients from the water below.

Remember to replenish the nutrient solution every 1-2 weeks as needed.

Before planting, test the pot’s drainage by watering it and observing how quickly the excess water drains out. Proper drainage is essential to prevent root rot in your LECA-grown pothos.

Make necessary adjustments to the LECA filling or pot size to ensure optimal drainage. With the right pot and LECA setup, your pothos will thrive in its new hydroponic home!

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Planting Pothos in LECA

To grow your pothos plant in LECA, you’ll first need to acquire cuttings from an existing pothos plant. Take cuttings that are at least 4-6 inches long and have 2-3 nodes. The nodes are the points where leaves emerge from the stem.

Before planting the cuttings in LECA, consider prepping and treating them first to promote root growth:

Remove Leaves:

Trim off the lower 1-2 leaves from each cutting to reduce moisture loss. Leave the top set of leaves to photosynthesize.

Wound Ends:

Use pruning shears to trim the bottom end of each cutting at an angle. This creates a larger surface area to absorb water and nutrients.

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Rooting Hormone:

Dip the bottom ends of the cuttings in rooting hormone or liquid rooting concentrate for 30 seconds. rooting hormone contains auxin which stimulates the growth of adventitious roots.

Now you’re ready to plant the cuttings in your LECA-filled pot. Gently insert each cutting down into the LECA balls so the base and lower nodes are submerged:

Place the cuttings:

evenly space the cuttings around the pot, about 3-4 inches apart. The ends of longer cuttings can be secured under LECAballs using twist ties weights.

Firm LECA:

Gently tamp down the LECA around each cutting to provide stability. Lift and tamp the LECA again after 24 hours as the cuttings may have settled.

Mist cuttings:

Lightly mist the top of the cuttings and surrounding LECA to increase humidity. Keep the LECA medium moist but not saturated for the first week after planting.

Within 2-4 weeks, you should start to see roots emerging from the nodes on the cuttings. The roots will grow into the gaps between LECA balls and fill the pot over time.

Continue misting the cuttings daily for the first month to maintain high humidity and reduce transpiration as the new roots develop.

Once the cuttings have rooted, shift to watering them based on the moisture needs of the mature pothos plant. Follow the same feeding and care guidelines as you would for a soil-grown pothos, adjusting as needed for the LECA medium.

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Caring for Pothos Plant in LECA

Once your pothos cuttings have rooted in the LECA medium, the main aspects of care involve watering, fertilizing, and monitoring for signs of stress. Proper care will ensure your pothos thrives in its LECA environment for many years.

Watering pothos in LECA

Since LECA has so many pores to hold air, you’ll need to water your pothos more frequently than in soil. Check the LECA balls daily and water them when they feel mostly dry to the touch.

When watering, thoroughly saturate the entire LECA medium until water drains from the bottom of the pot. You can use a watering can with a narrow spout or simply place the pot in a container of water. Allow the pot to sit in the water for 10-15 minutes to ensure full saturation.

Drain any excess water that collects in the saucer or catch tray under the pot. For faster-draining LECA mixtures, you may need to water every other day. But larger LECA balls can go 3-4 days between waterings.

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Fertilizing pothos in LECA

Fertilize your pothos in LECA every 2 weeks during the active growing season (spring to fall). Use a liquid fertilizer specifically formulated for hydroponics or use a general 20-20-20 fertilizer at 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 the recommended strength on the label.

Flushing LEC

Every 3-4 months and whenever you re-pot your pothos, flush the LECA medium by running several cycles of plain water through the pot. This removes any buildup of minerals left by the fertilizer.

Signs of Issues

Monitor your pothos planted in LECA for symptoms of over- or underwatering like yellowing or drooping leaves. Root rot despite good drainage can indicate the LECA is retaining excess moisture. In this case, changing to larger LECA balls or adding perlite to the mix may help. With proper watering, fertilizing, and monitoring, your pothos planted in LECA should thrive for many years to come!

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Growing pothos plants in LECA provides an easy and low-maintenance alternative to the soil for this highly adaptable houseplant. The porous LECA aggregates allow for optimal aeration of roots while retaining enough moisture for the pothos’ needs.

With proper preparation of the LECA medium, correct pot size, and usage of rooting hormone, pothos cuttings quickly establish new roots in the LECA balls. Caring for your LECA-grown pothos mainly involves frequent but thorough watering and occasional fertilizer applications tailored for hydroponic plants.

While pothos plants are naturally tolerant of infrequent watering, growing them in LECA requires a shift to more regular moisture to replace what is absorbed by the porous aggregates. With an understanding of this cultural difference and the simple care techniques discussed here, your pothos grown in LECA will thrive with lush foliage and cascading stems for many years.

The lightweight and low-maintenance nature of LECA makes it an ideal medium for a novice or busy plant parents looking to grow easy-care houseplants like pothos in a slightly unconventional but effective hydroponic setup. With proper aftercare, your pothos plant in LECA can become a statement piece that brings years of joy through its vibrant green foliage and aerial roots.

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Diana Cox

I'm Diana from I love to spend my free time in my garden. It's a place where I can be creative, feel calm and learn new things about life. I started gardening when I was in elementary school and it became a passion of mine. Now I love to share my love of gardening with others by teaching classes and giving advice.

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