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What is Leca?

You’ve probably seen Leca without knowing it – most commonly in plant pots. It’s those little brown balls that resemble tiny potatoes. Leca is a wholly natural product made from clay, which boasts thermal insulation properties and has a plethora of horticultural/agricultural uses.

What is Leca?

Image: http://www.leca.ae/WhatisLeca

An acronym for Light Expanded Clay Aggregate, Leca is an environmentally-friendly product derived from a base clay. To manufacture Leca, clay is extruded into a kiln in pellets, heated, expanded and burned at extremely high temperatures. During the firing process, any organic materials are burned off, leaving a lightweight yet strong product which is impervious to dry rot, wet rot and insects – hence its popularity in plant applications.

It can be purchased in the standard brown/terracotta pellet form or as a Leca Lightweight Soil, which is premixed.

 

What is Leca used for?

While it’s commonly used in building insulation due to its thermal conductivity, sound blocking and fire resistant properties, Leca is a valuable component in horticulture.

For a start, it’s commonly used in hydroponics (the method of cultivating plants not in soil but in nutrient-rich solutions). The product doesn’t break down in water and can resist chemicals, thus it’s ideal for such applications, promoting growth.

Leca can be blended with soil to improve drainage, boost oxygen and improve growing conditions, or to reduce weight when using heavy soils. Its insulating properties make Leca the perfect medium for protecting roots from cold conditions, plus it can retain liquids and so water plants during periods of low rainfall.

The premixed Leca Lightweight Soil contains fertilisers and is a popular choice for green roofs – it doesn’t put undue weight on the structure, won’t rot away and retains the water so you won’t need to worry (too often) about trying to feed the grass and/or plants.

It is manufactured in several sizes and so can suit a variety of needs – from 0.1mm in diameter to ‘boulders’ ranging from 100-500mm. The smaller sizes can be mixed with cement to create a lighter concrete-like substance that is used to make fake rocks for gardens or as props.

Leca Sizes

Image: http://www.leca.ae/WhatisLeca

 

Benefits of Leca

While Leca is lightweight, it’s incredibly strong. Plus, where the expansion process creates cavities in the individual pellets, Leca is also incompressible. It won’t decompose and you won’t have to worry about watering the soil as often as normal, provided the product has been given a good soaking beforehand.

As it allows increased levels of oxygen into the soil, Leca can lead to faster growth and can be used on structures that cannot take heavy loads – providing a green solution where soil is not an option. What’s more, Leca’s characteristics means that it won’t change over time and so can be stored for a long while – meaning you won’t need to panic about it moulding in the shed.

The soil and Leca combination, which isn’t packed as tightly as pure soil, leaves lots of room for roots to grow and expand, without tainting the plants with any unnatural substrates.

No matter your requirement - tidying your garden, agriculture, or construction – Leca is worthy of consideration. To find out more and discuss your questions, contact us on 01458 441 122 or send us an enquiry.

More about Leca

Related products: Leca 4mm-10mm | Leca 8mm-16mm | Intensive Lightweight Mix


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