What is LECA? + How to Use Clay Pebbles for Houseplants

So what is LECA, and exactly how to use clay pebbles for houseplants?! I’m so glad you asked!

I discovered these cute little clay pebbles about a year ago and have become a huge fan! LECA clay pebbles are now a staple houseplant supply!

How to use clay pebbles for houseplants-what is LECA

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What is LECA?

LECA is an acronym that stands for lightweight expanded clay aggregate.

These little pebbles or balls of clay can be used as a growing medium in place of soil.

These clay pebbles for houseplants are commonly used in hydroponic gardening but can be used for much more!

How to use clay pebbles for houseplants:

  • Use for drainage
  • Can be used instead of soil
  • Propagate plants using clay pebbles to keep stable
  • Use to add Humidity to houseplants
  • Use as a soil cover
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Use Clay Pebbles for Drainage

Using clay pebbles is a great way to improve plant drainage!

When transplanting houseplants, add about one-two inches of clay pebbles to the bottom of the pot before adding your potting mix.

Adding something clay pebbles, broken terra cotta, or gravel allows oxygen to get to the roots while adding aeration and drainage, eliminating the risk of root rot. 

These clay balls can be added to your potting mix to help soil drainage while helping the soil retain water for extended periods.

Adding clay pebbles is an excellent option for those plants that tend to dry out quickly and for those plant mamas or daddies who forget to water as often as they should.

how to use clay pebbles for houseplants

Use Clay Pebbles Instead of Soil.

Clay pebbles can be used as a growing medium instead of soil to grow indoor plants.

Keep in mind that, unlike potting soil, clay pebbles do not contain nutrients.

Since these clay pebbles don’t contain nutrients, nutrients must be added to the plant’s water manually. And in this case, the nutrient will be absorbed through the clay balls. Pretty cool, right?

Related: The Best Fertilizer for Houseplants

Growing Houseplants in Clay Pebbles:

Growing plants in leca instead of soil are very straightforward if you follow these simple tips.

  1. Rinse the balls thoroughly, and then Soak the clay balls for 12-14 hours to absorb water.  

  2. Find a glass pot, vase, or jar. Your container doesn’t have to be glass; it’s just better so that you can see the plant’s roots.

  3. Select propagated cutting.

  4. Fill the glass container halfway with clay balls and add the plant cutting in the center. Hold the cutting as you add more pebbles to keep the plant in place.

  5. Add distilled water to the very top of the container.

  6. Place your plant in a good light source (Indirect light is always best)
propagating plants in water

Propagate houseplants using clay pebbles

I learned how to propagate houseplants way back in the day from my Grandma, who had the greenest green thumb of anyone I’ve ever known.

She would gift cuttings from her plants to family and friends, a beautiful tradition I intend on keeping alive.

That said, I have been propagating my houseplants for years. Propagating your indoor plants is rewarding, and you get FREE PLANTS out of the deal, so what could be better than that?!

Propagating Plants is Easy!

  1. Pick a clear glass container.
  2. Take a cutting from a healthy houseplant
  3. Fill your container halfway with clay pebbles
  4. Add plant cutting
  5. Fill the container the rest of the way with clay balls
  6. Add distilled water to the top
  7. Add more water a few hours later
  8. Watch for roots in just a few days or weeks, depending on the plant

Related article: How to grow healthy houseplants

Add Humidity to Plants using Clay Pebbles

You can increase humidity for plants that prefer a higher level of humidity using these cute little pebbles.

Place clay pebbles in the plant’s saucer and fill with water. It’s that easy!

The clay balls are highly absorbent, increasing the plant’s humidity. Additionally, Using the clay pebbles keeps the plant from sitting in a saucer full of water, preventing root rot.

Be sure to clean the clay pebbles for houseplants often and refill them with water frequently to keep the desired humidity level up.

Plants that love extra humidity: (To name a few)

  • All ferns
  • Prayer Plants
  • Spider plants
  • Monstera
  • Fiddle Fig Plants
  • ZZ Plants
  • Peace Lily

Use Clay Pebbles as a Soil Topper

Adding a soil topper to your indoor plants is always a great idea!

Add a fresh layer of sandgraveldecorative moss or clay pebbles to the top layer to control the moisture level on the top layer of the houseplant, which deters gnats from laying eggs. 

Covering the top layer of the soil gives the houseplants a nice added/decorative touch too!

Related article: How to get rid of fungus gnats forever!

How to Use Clay Pebbles for Houseplants

Ok! Now that you’ve got the low down on these little clay pebbles for houseplants, what do you think?

Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time- Happy planting!

XO, Christine

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  1. Hi Christine,
    Should I soak them first?
    I plan on using them for a humidity tray under my plants.
    Thank you!

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