What benefit is there to adding LECA to a bark mix?
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What benefit is there to adding LECA to a bark mix?
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Old 09-19-2021, 07:21 PM
K-Sci's Avatar
K-Sci K-Sci is offline
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What benefit is there to adding LECA to a bark mix?

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What benefit is there to adding LECA to a bark mix? Male

In addition to the benefits noted already, I'm thinking that LECA might wick water out of the small spaces in broken down decaying media to where other media that isn't broken down can absorb it.


---------- Post added at 06:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:05 PM ----------

Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
When using clay pots: a bottom layer of sphagnum and the rest is LECA or pieces of vulcanic rock. The sphagnum layer represents only 20 to 30% of the total height of the medium.
rbarata, I like this idea because it seems to solve a couple problems seen with bark alone and with LECA alone. It draws on the water-holding capacity of sphagnum to keep the LECA moist, but without resorting to standing water as with S/A.

One question. When the sphagnum at the bottom begins to decay and compact, how to you repot the plant with rocks attached to the roots?

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Last edited by K-Sci; 09-19-2021 at 07:25 PM..
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Old 09-19-2021, 07:34 PM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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What benefit is there to adding LECA to a bark mix? Male

The roots grow into the medium searching for the humidity at the bottom. That's the principle of it.

The repot happens only when the plant outgrows the pot. Like Cattleyas, rupiculous don't like to get their roots messed up (in fact, I think they are much more picky about it than Catts) so any pieces of rock/LECA attached to the roots stay there. The less you touch it, the better.
Sometimes it's easier, if not better, to put the whole pot inside a larger one filling the gap with more LECA (and sphagnum at the bottom). Note that clay pots absorb moist so any humidity inside the larger pot will be absorbed by the smaller one.
Because clay absorbs water, that's why plants in clay pots must be watered more frequently. If you don't want to water so frequently (or in case of plants that need a more moisty medium) use plastic pots.
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Old 09-22-2021, 04:21 AM
YetAnotherOrchidNut YetAnotherOrchidNut is offline

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What benefit is there to adding LECA to a bark mix?

Originally Posted by Shadeflower View Post
why are we talking about cactusses again?
This is Orchidboard not cactusboard.

Orchids are not grown in stones and soil. That's cactusses

We are talking about lecca and orchids. Lets be on the same page at least.
Well, most orchids of interest to folks like us are epiphytes, usually tropical epiphytes, and about 10% of the cactus world are also tropical epiphytes. Tropical epiphytism is such a feature of Cacti that a major Cactus family is named after that mode of growth: Epiphylum. Also many orchids can or are considered to be "succulent like" in terms of how you treat them (cold flowering phals especially, and imo Den Phals as well.). So there is a stronger connection than you are making out.

My experience is that everything you know about raising a good orchid will allow you to grow Epiphylum Oxypetalum well also Eg, Queen of the night, 1 foot wide flower than lasts only one 12 hour evening[1] usually on or very close to the full moon. My wife bought one last year and gave it to me to care for, so I treated it like an orchid (besides fertilizer), and it flowered first season. Which is supposedly rare. My bet is that most orchid growers would have the same experience.

I used pretty much the same mix for my Oxypetalum that I would use for my warm growing Phals: mixture of spahg, perlite, charcoal, leca, and bark, and tiny amount of peat. I also feed it orchid fertilizer (weakly weekly), and then give it a boost of cactus fertilizer every month as well. Seems to be a very happy plant.

You can see it here with one of my Den Phals

Maybe get yourself an Epiphylum and see how it goes, you might find Cactus can be as fun as orchids. :-) The Oxypetalum grows quite large, but there are many different choices in the Epiphylum category and some of them are quite compact and attractive.

[1] Be careful, some suspect that the Oxypetalum flowering mode evolved in conjunction with the mating habits of Werewolves. The flowers typically only open on a full moon, and it is believed the werewolves use the very powerful and beautiful scent as a perfume. Thus growing Oxypetalum may attract the attention of rutting werewolves. :-)

---------- Post added at 10:21 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:10 AM ----------

Originally Posted by K-Sci View Post
I though cactus were grown in sand and rock.
Nope. About 10% of cacti are tropical epiphytes just like our beloved orchids and are generally very similar to care for besides having slightly different nutrient expectations.
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Last edited by YetAnotherOrchidNut; 09-22-2021 at 06:58 AM..
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leca, mix, orchids, question, wicking

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