Can You Grow Anthuriums In LECA?

Anthuriums can be grown in a variety of different soils and substrates, but can you grow anthuriums in LECA?

Anthuriums can grow quite well in LECA as it is suited for epiphytic plants that require a well-draining soil mixture. Although LECA can be expensive, it’s very easy to maintain and lasts for a long time.

If you’re considering using LECA for your anthurium then this guide is for you.

What Is LECA?

LECA stands for Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate and was initially developed way back in 1917.

It has a lot of uses, such as being used for lightweight concrete in the construction industry, but it can also be used as a substrate for houseplants.

In practical terms, LECA is essentially a collection of small balls made from clay. These balls absorb moisture and expand, and can hold water for a long time.

Due to the structure of LECA, it creates lots of small pockets of air when added to a container. It also promotes humidity in the substrate as the balls slowly release moisture over time.

What Type Of Soil Do Anthuriums Prefer?

Anthuriums are epiphytes, which means they naturally grow on other plants’ surfaces.

This affects the type of soil that they need, as they grow lots of aerial roots that are capable of absorbing moisture and nutrients from the air. Soil that drains well is highly suited for anthuriums, as well as soil that contains lots of pockets of humid air from which the roots can absorb nutrients and moisture.

How To Use LECA For An Anthurium

To use LECA, you’ll want to first choose a container that has enough space for your anthurium and also no drainage holes in the bottom.

The key here is to ensure that there is a gap between the end of the roots and the bottom of the container. This gap should ideally be around 20-30% of the total height of the container, and it is used to store water.

LECA balls
Mexca, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The gap will ensure that the roots are above the water line, as you ideally don’t want the roots to be submerged in the water. This can lead to root rot, and we are instead aiming to get the roots to grow on the LECA balls that are above this water.

This 20-30% volume of water increases humidity and allows the LECA balls to absorb water whenever they need to, which makes maintenance easy as you won’t need to water often.

Benefits Of Using LECA For Anthuriums

There are a lot of benefits to using LECA for anthuriums.

Promotes Epiphytal Growth

As I mentioned earlier, anthuriums are epiphytes by nature which means they grow on other plant surfaces in the wild.
LECA balls promote this type of growth by providing solid surfaces for the roots to grow around. If you use a transparent container you can make the most of this by observing the roots growing in their natural way.

Humidity

Anthuriums love humidity, there’s no doubt about that.

LECA is great for increasing humidity for two main reasons:

  • Water evaporation from the bottom – The volume of water in the bottom will slowly evaporate over time, acting almost like a pebble tray would in increasing the humidity above it.
  • Water from the balls – The balls themselves also slowly release water. Most of this goes to the roots, but some will escape and increase the humidity of the air as well.

Easy Maintenance

LECA is really easy to maintain once it has been set up properly.

It doesn’t need to be watered very often as the balls will use up the excess water in the bottom first, so all that’s left to do is make sure that you fertilize every so often. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the roots to make sure they don’t grow into the water at the bottom as well.

Things To Consider

To ensure you have success with using LECA for an anthurium I would take the points below into consideration.

Fertilizer

Supplementing with fertilizer is the key to having success with using LECA for anthuriums.

LECA doesn’t contain a significant amount of nutrients that benefit anthuriums, unlike other potting options such as soil mixed with things like peat or pine bark.

This means it’s crucial to supplement with fertilizer to ensure your anthurium is getting the nutrients that it needs. You’ll need to use a hydroponics fertilizer that mixes with water to achieve this, and I would recommend fertilizing once every few weeks during the warmer months and once per month during the colder months.

Expensive (Initially)

Another important thing to consider is your budget.

LECA is more expensive initially than other options (around 2 to 3x more) such as potting soil, but it does have the benefit of being reusable.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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