Monstera deliciosa plants have become incredibly fashionable in recent years and with good reason. Their showy, graceful foliage makes them a real showstopper addition to any home or office space. If you’re an avid plant lover caring for a Monstera plant of your own, you may have heard about using LECA balls as a growing medium.
LECA, which stands for lightweight expanded clay aggregate, is becoming a favored choice among plant enthusiasts.
In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of using LECA for Monstera plants as well as provide some tips on how to utilize it properly. I’ll also cover where you can purchase LECA and how to maintain your Monstera plant for optimum growth.
Whether you’ve been tending plants for years or are just getting started, this guide will offer you helpful insights into caring for your Monstera plant by using LECA as its growing medium. So let’s get started!
Benefits of Using LECA for Monstera Plants
Using LECA balls as a growing medium for Monstera deliciosa plants offers numerous benefits over traditional soil. LECA promotes optimum plant health by providing:
LECA balls are made of expanded clay that forms large air pockets. This creates a highly porous structure that allows for excellent drainage of excess water. Proper drainage is crucial for Monstera plants to avoid root rot due to overwatering.
The air pockets within LECA balls allow Monstera roots to receive ample oxygen. Roots require oxygen to perform metabolic functions and remove toxins. Using LECA establishes optimal conditions for healthy root development and nutrient uptake.
Since LECA is inert, it does not break down or decompose over time like soil does. As a result, LECA requires little to no fertilizing and lasts for years with proper care. This reduces the time and effort needed to maintain your Monstera plant.
LECA has a pH of around 7, which is considered neutral. This matches the pH preferred by Monstera plants. Soil pH can fluctuate but LECA remains stable, promoting consistent root function and nutrient availability.
LECA balls retain just the right amount of moisture to keep roots hydrated without becoming saturated. This helps you avoid over- and underwatering issues that are common with soil. Monstera roots receive a steady supply of water within the wettable pore space of LECA.
In summary, LECA offers numerous benefits for Monstera plants that soil cannot match. Its superior drainage, aeration, and pH/moisture control establish ideal growing conditions for healthy and vigorous Monstera growth.
By switching to LECA, you can give your Monstera plant a nutrient-rich environment that promotes large, showy leaves and magnificent vines. Combined with an appropriate fertilizer regime tailored for Monstera, using LECA balls as a growing medium will help your plant thrive for years to come.
How to Use LECA for Monstera Plants?
Growing your Monstera deliciosa plant in LECA balls is simple once you understand a few key steps. Here are the basics on how to properly use LECA as a growing medium for your Monstera:
Step 1: Acquire premium LECA balls
Begin your journey by investing in top-quality LECA balls designed specifically for hydroponics. Ensure they are meticulously cleaned and ready for immediate use. For optimal results, opt for 2-4mm LECA balls, perfectly suited for Monstera plants.
Step 2: Free the roots from soil
Handle your Monstera’s root ball with care, gently removing as much soil as possible. Employ brushing or rinsing techniques to eliminate any remaining dirt without causing harm to the delicate roots.
Step 3: Embrace the LECA-filled pot
Select your preferred pot and generously fill it with LECA balls, leaving approximately 2-4 inches of space at the top. Gently place the root ball on the bed of LECA and gradually add more balls until they reach the base of the leaves. Ensure a firm press to secure the LECA around the roots, promoting stability and support.
Step 4: Nourish with liquid fertilizer
Prepare a diluted, all-purpose liquid fertilizer and pour it into the LECA until the balls are visibly moistened. As water evaporates, your Monstera will absorb essential nutrients through its roots, facilitating healthy growth.
Step 5: Water wisely based on moisture levels
Regularly monitor the moisture level of the LECA balls. Once the surface becomes dry approximately 2-3 inches below, it’s time for a thorough watering session. Allow excess liquid to drain from the pot and exercise restraint, watering only when necessary.
Step 6: Renew with fresh LECA
Over time, some LECA balls may embed in the roots or sink to the pot’s bottom. To maintain an optimal growth environment, periodically remove aged LECA from the pot and replace it with fresh balls, rejuvenating the medium.
Step 7: Prune or stake the vines
Monstera plants grown in LECA often exhibit rapid vining tendencies. Keep their growth in check by pruning or staking the vines as needed. This practice ensures the plant maintains a shape that suits your space and light exposure, maximizing its growth potential.
Step 8: Regular fertilization for abundant growth
Once a month, indulge your Monstera with a thorough root system flush. Water generously with liquid fertilizer to replenish vital nutrients and stimulate vigorous new leaf growth.
In summary, using LECA for Monstera plants is all about providing the right elements for healthy root development – aeration, drainage, and nutrient availability.
By following these basic steps and maintaining your LECA medium over time, you can give your Monstera plant the optimum growing conditions it needs to thrive. With some trial and error, growing your Monstera in LECA can become second nature and yield stunning results!
Tips for Maintaining Monstera Plants in LECA
Once you’ve transitioned your Monstera deliciosa plant to a LECA growing medium, there are some key tips to help maintain it for optimal growth and health. Following these guidelines will keep your Monstera thriving in its LECA home for many years:
Water thoroughly and infrequently
The nature of LECA means you’ll water your Monstera less often than in soil. However, when you do water, soak the entire LECA ball mass to fully rehydrate the medium. Allow the LECA to dry somewhat between waterings.
Inspect roots regularly
Check the root system every few months by removing the plant from its pot. Trim away any dead or diseased roots and loosen any circling or pot-bound roots. This inspection also allows you to monitor the health of your Monstera in LECA.
Fluff LECA balls periodically
Use your hands to fluff up the LECA every few months, breaking up any clumps and loosening the medium around the roots. This improves aeration and drainage for optimal root function.
Replace old LECA as needed
Over time, some LECA balls at the bottom of the pot can become waterlogged or mineral-encrusted. Replace about 30% of the LECA each year with fresh balls to maintain optimum drainage and aeration.
Provide a balanced liquid fertilizer formulated for foliage plants every 4 weeks during the growing season. Monstera plants in LECA typically require more nutrients compared to soil.
Flush roots regularly
Once every 3 months, thoroughly flush the LECA ball mass with water to remove any buildup of mineral deposits. This helps maintain optimum conditions for root health and function.
Prune or stake vines as needed
Monstera plants in LECA often vine rapidly. Prune offending vines as needed and stake others to keep the plant at a manageable size and shape that works for you.
Monitor for pest infestations
Check the plant weekly for signs of pests like spider mites, aphids and scale insects. The open structure of LECA can make your Monstera slightly more susceptible, so stay vigilant and treat issues promptly.
In summary, the key to maintaining your Monstera deliciosa plant’s health in LECA comes down to ensuring the growing medium retains its drainage, aeration and ability to hydrate roots properly over time.
By fluffing and replacing LECA balls as needed, fertilizing appropriately and monitoring for issues, you can provide your Monstera with the long-term care it deserves in its new LECA home. With a little know-how and TLC, growing your plant in LECA can become routine and yield stunning results for years to come.
In summary, LECA is an excellent alternative to conventional soil for Monstera deliciosa plants. It provides several benefits like improved drainage, more aeration, and better retention of nutrients.
Using LECA can also help to prevent overwatering and root rot, which are common challenges for Monstera plants. Additionally, LECA is a reusable and sustainable choice for plant keeping.
It’s important to note that while LECA can be a good option, it may not be suitable for all types of plants, so it’s always best to do your research before using it for your plants.
Overall, if you’re looking for a way to boost your Monstera plant’s health and growth, utilizing LECA is definitely worth considering. With the proper care and attention, your Monstera will thrive in its new LECA home.