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Switching to leca is so exciting when you’re in the research stage. It’s all promises of no pests, watering schedules, and cheap potting mix.
And then reality hits.
Even if we disregard the massive ballache that is the actual transferring of the plants AND the pita that is mixing the nutrient solution and making sure it’s pH balanced (jokes, I cba to do that).
You need to buy the leca and all the stuff. It’s pricy to get started.
The fact you have to ALSO buy new pots adds insult to injury.
Hydroponic pots aren’t always easy to find, and they’re one of those things that are *a bit* disastrous if you get it wrong.
What pots do you need for growing plants in leca?
The pot needs to meet certain criteria:
- It needs to hold leca
- It needs to allow the leca to absorb the nutrient solution
- You need to be able to flush the leca through
There are a plethora of options out there. Some are pricey, some are basically free. I’m gonna go through my fave pots to use for hydro/semi-hydroponics.
Peanut butter jars
This may seem a bit specific, but there’s something about the size of a large peanut butter jar that’s perfect for leca.
Pros of using old jars for leca
- Cheap and come with peanut butter
- Clear so you can see the roots (and waterline) easily
- You don’t need a cache pot
- You can get whatever size jar you like
Cons of using old jars for leca
- Ever cleaned out a peanut butter jar? It is NOT fun
- They don’t have a hole in them, so flushing is a bit of a pain. If you have the inclination, you can drill a hole a third of the way up
- Reusing things is good!
This is basically the same as peanut butter jars but I thought I’d highlight them in particular because they’re really good for props. Also, you could get a cute little spice rack to display them.
I love this because I have real trouble letting go of spice jars. They’re just so small and cute.
Nursey pot + cache pot
This was my first approach. I like to reuse my nursery pots until they fall apart (which takes freaking YEARS) and they’re perfectly serviceable as a net pot. If you want, you can make some holes in the sides, but I’ve found that having the water level a touch higher than the one-third mark works perfectly well.
White cache pots make frequent appearances at my local thrift shops. The thing that I had to get past was that I like all my pots to match.
Sure, in an ideal world. But house plants aren’t the best hobby in terms of negative environmental impact so I like to do what I can by buying pots no one else wants. Lean into that granny-chic look. Or, you know, paint them.
I also quite like using pasta bowls as cache pots. You can’t get the one third line (unless you used a small pot, in which case you could probs get like three pots in there, but as long as you use plants that don’t mind being a little drier, it’s fine. This marble queen has damp moss pole so she’d be fine.
The reason she looks so droopy is that I had her trailing for a long time so her leaves were shaped a certain way. Now she looks like a kid that’s being carried against its will. Once her aerial roots get into the moss pole she’ll be fine (touchwoodtouchwoodtouchwood)
Pond plant pot + cache pot
If you have your heart set on net pots, but can’t find one big enough, go to the pond plant pot section on Amazon. THEY ARE SO MUCH CHEAPER THAN HOUSE PLANT NET POTS.
Yes, you’ll need a cache pot, but if you have a beautiful plant that loves a bit of air flow, like Monstera Thai Constellation, you can get yourself a cheapo net pot, and splurge a bit on a fancy cache pot.
You often see 50 packs of net pots on Amazon, which SEEMS like a great idea, but they’re quite big enough. I could do with 50 net pots, but in like, five different sizes. I have 50 4-inch pots and I’ve used about seven of them.
Self-watering plant pot
I really like the packs of 6 cheap self watering pots from Amazon – they’re usally cheap white plastic and have a string to wick the water. Here’s one:
I have these ones too:
…But they’re not great for leca because the reservoir is nowhere deep enough, and it’ll leak if you fill it too full.
My favourite self-watering plant pot is one I got from AliExpress eons ago, and I LOVED it but it’s disappeared off the face of the earth.
It’s got an inner net pot and a water indicator AND a little chute you can pour the water down. I love it so much.
Basically this one but cheaper.
So that;s it for today! Leave me a comment if you have any tips about plants pots that are suitable for hydroponic plants.