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LECA as regular potting meduim?

This is a discussion on LECA as regular potting meduim? within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Has anyone used LECA as a regular potting medium?? I currently use a bark mix ...

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    Default LECA as regular potting meduim?

    Has anyone used LECA as a regular potting medium??

    I currently use a bark mix and am tired of having fungus/insect problems that comes with it but am not ready to take the plunge and switch to a semi-hydro system. Is it possible to exchange the bark mix with LECA and continue to grow/water as normal?

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    Well, hi and welcome if I haven't said so before. I had the same situation as you and I went clay balls and coconut husk chunks or mounting with coconut husk chunks. Works great, you'll just have to water a little more frequently or be sure to have a humidity tray under your plants. I use clay pots too because of my moisture problems, fungus loves it here.

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    Yes, I have had good success growing cattleyas in LECA. I just have to water a little more often. I do not recommend it for phals in that my success has not been that great with them . Like you I am not sold on semi-hydro have heard and have friends who tried it and ended up loosing their plants. I know some growers swear by it but I am not ready to take the risk. Another reason I don't want to try it is the mess it would cause if the pot was knocked over especially in the house---not good for the carpeting. LOL

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    I use a homemade mix made of LECA and medium bark. My catts are very happy in it. I usually water 3-4 times a week. I also use clay pots. For my phals I use the same mix with some added moss. These are in plastic pots to conserve the moisture. They are also doing great.

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    Thanks all for your input! I am thinking repotting in LECA is a good baby-step as I am worried to lose some of my orchids if they don't take to s/h, the ones I am having the most trouble with are (of course!) my favorites and don't want to risk killing them.

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    You will have to water very very frequently as the pellets dry very fast. I have some vandaeceous in pure LECA and I have to water them twice a day during summers and everyday during the other months.

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    The trick to s/h is to use very little water, I've found. What I do is put several holes all around the container an inch or so from the bottom. I put a centimetre of water, depending on the container's height, maybe less or none at all, and leave it untill the condensation disappears, then I give it another 5 -7 days for the roots to dry out completely. This is my thread I posted recently, the phal is the the only one I have in s/h right now; http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...hid-shelf.html

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    I decided to put 2 orchids in LECA as a regular medium with proper drainage at the bottom. My only concern, how do I know when the LECA is dry and I should water? It's hard to tell by looking at the pellets alone. One is an Den and the other a Phap. They have different watering needs so I figured it would make things interesting.

    I also braved up and decided to put a sad looking phal in s/h. He doesn't have the best root system so I figured it wouldn't be a huge loss if he doesn't take to the new system. Wish him luck!

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    I have a Catt hybrid planted this in nothing but LECA. So far the plant likes it. I like it because I really love to water. Potted this way, I don't have to worry about overwatering. I agree that it's probably not a good idea to try this with the moisture lovers unless you are mixing in other media as was mentioned above.
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    Quote Originally Posted by V-W View Post
    Has anyone used LECA as a regular potting medium??

    I currently use a bark mix and am tired of having fungus/insect problems that comes with it but am not ready to take the plunge and switch to a semi-hydro system. Is it possible to exchange the bark mix with LECA and continue to grow/water as normal?
    Hi V-W,
    First off, please note that I am growing outdoors under shade -cloth.
    After many trials of various potting media I have resorted to using only a mix LECA and charcoal. This has worked very well for me. I have to water often especially in the warmer month (hotter?).
    On the other hand when it rains steadily for 3 or more days I do not get the problem of fungus and rot because the LECA drains well and dries out quickly. I have tried the coconut chunks, and they deteriorate rather quickly which makes for repotting more frequently, and with the amount of plants that I have this is not an option. BTW, i should add, I do have some Gramm. growing in wire baskets with a few large pieces of Coconut husks. They do well because they are hanging, and water drains straight through.
    With all the other advice given here, you should weigh what are your conditions, and then decide what to try.
    Good Luck.

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