snake plant in leca

How I Transferred a Snake Plant in LECA from Soil: Step-by-Step Guide

Transferring a snake plant in LECA from the soil is fairly easy and good for beginners. Snake plants, also known as Sansevierias, are resilient. Transferring them to LECA may seem unconventional due to their preference for a dry environment. However, they thrive well in clay balls as long as you properly follow the steps necessary for transitioning them.

Here’s a 3-year-old snake plant I have in my apartment. It grew three new baby plants, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me to transition these babies to LECA.

snake plant

Snake Plant in Leca Overview

Benefits of Leca for Snake Plants

LECA, short for lightweight expanded clay aggregate, offers various benefits for growing snake plants. These include:

  • Improved drainage: LECA’s porous nature provides better drainage, reducing the risk of root rot, which is a common issue with snake plants.
  • Aerated roots: The spaces between LECA pellets ensure sufficient oxygen supply to the roots, promoting healthier growth.
  • Pest resistance: Since LECA is an inorganic medium, it is less likely to attract pests compared to traditional soil.
  • Low maintenance: Watering frequency is reduced as LECA retains moisture, making it a convenient choice for busy or forgetful plant owners.

Snake plants thrive in well-draining and oxygen-rich environments, making LECA an ideal medium for their growth and maintenance.

Leca vs Traditional Soil

While both LECA and traditional soil can be used for growing snake plants, they have some distinct differences:

AspectLECATraditional Soil
DrainageExcellentVaries
AerationGreatVaries
Pest ResistanceHighLower
MaintenanceLowModerate to high

Overall, the choice between LECA and traditional soil for your snake plant will depend on your preferences and your plant’s specific needs. LECA offers some advantages over soil-based substrates, but monitoring your snake plant’s growth and adjusting your care practices as needed is essential.

How to Transfer Snake Plant in Leca

Step 1: Prepare the LECA Balls

rinsing leca

Before you start planting, rinse the LECA balls thoroughly to remove impurities. Then soak them in water for a couple of hours to help remove any remaining dust and also to ensure they are fully hydrated. Once soaked, drain the excess water properly. This will help maintain the right balance of moisture for your snake plants.

Step 2: Clean the Roots of the Snake Plant

snake plant roots

Take out the snake plant from the pot. Loosen the dirt gently, and be careful not to damage the roots.

cleaning the roots of snake plant

Once you have removed the majority of the soil around the roots, rinse them under running water. Gently massage the roots to remove all the dirt attached. Don’t miss the crevices, and use a soft-bristled brush if necessary.

snake plant roots

Step 3: Put LECA balls in the Pot

snake plant in leca

Put the rinsed LECA balls inside the pot. I like using clear glass pots so I can observe the root growth in LECA. Once you fill the pot halfway, position the snake plant in the center. Fill the remaining gap while holding the snake plant in LECA.

Step 4: Fill the Pot with Nutrient Water

baby snake plant in leca

Once the snake plant in LECA is positioned properly and the pot is filled with clay balls, it’s time to fill it with nutrient water. Based on my experience, it is best to fill the pot with nutrient water all the way to the top at the beginning. This will help the roots transition into water roots and prevent mold growth in the root system. After several weeks, you can ease down in watering the pot and just fill a quarter of the pot.

Ideal Environmental Factors

  • Watering: Snake plants have low water requirements. As I mentioned above, it is ideal to fill the pot full at the beginning to encourage the roots to transition into water roots. After several weeks, the full water reservoir will deplete, and you should put minimal water there forward.
  • Nutrients: Nutrients are essential for a healthy snake plant. Add a diluted liquid hydroponic fertilizer to the water every three to four weeks to provide the necessary nutrients for your plant. Follow the recommended dosing instructions on the fertilizer label.
  • Sunlight: Snake plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Place your plant near a window, where it can get sufficient sunlight without directly exposure to harsh rays. Too much direct sunlight may lead to leaf scorching.
  • Temperature: Maintain a consistent room temperature between 70-90°F (21-32°C) for optimal snake plant growth. Snake plants can also tolerate cooler temperatures, but avoid exposing them to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) as it may cause leaf damage.
  • Humidity: Snake plant in LECA can thrive in low to moderate humidity levels. If the humidity level is too high, it may lead to fungal problems. Ensure proper air circulation around your plant to prevent excess humidity build-up.

By attending to these ideal environmental factors, you’ll be well on your way to successfully growing your snake plant in Leca.

Maintaining Your Snake Plant in Leca

Watering and Fertilizing

After the transition period, water your snake plant twice a week, ensuring the clay balls remain moist but not overly saturated. This helps avoid root rot. Provide fertilizer according to your chosen brand’s instructions to keep your plant growing strong. It is ideal to use a hydroponic fertilizer. However, if you can’t find this kind of fertilizer, you can also use any water-soluble one. For example, the picture below is the liquid fertilizer I use for my LECA plants. I use it at least once a week.

Fertilizer for leca

Cleaning and Pest Control

To maintain a clean and pest-free environment for your snake plant, flush the pot with fresh water every two weeks. This helps to remove any salt buildup from the nutrients in the LECA. By doing so, you decrease the chances of attracting pests and ensure the clay balls continue to sustain your plant effectively.

Key Points:

  • Water twice a week
  • Provide fertilizer
  • Flush pot every two weeks to remove salt build-up and deter pests

Pruning and Repotting

Monitor your snake plant’s growth and prune any damaged or yellowing leaves as needed to promote healthy growth. Repot your snake plant when it has outgrown its current pot. To do this, gently remove it from the pot, remove any damaged or rotting roots, and place the plant in a new pot with fresh Leca. Be sure to maintain consistent watering and fertilizing practices to help your snake plant thrive in its new environment.

Things to Remember:

  • Prune damaged or yellowing leaves
  • Repot when necessary, using fresh Leca
  • Maintain proper watering and fertilizing routines after repotting

Possible LECA Problems for Snake Plants

The following are the possible problems you might encounter after transitioning a snake plant in LECA:

  • Rotting roots – After filling the pot with nutrient water, you might notice that some smaller parts of the root separate from the main root system. This is natural as the whole root system is transitioning into water roots. However, if you don’t flush the pot under running water every two weeks, the separated roots will rot and might affect the other roots.
  • Moulds or fungi formation – Snake plants are very susceptible to fungi growth. I had this problem when I just filled the pot with nutrient water halfway at the beginning. When the roots have not fully transitioned into water roots, they are more susceptible to mould growth. That’s why I recommend filling up the pot full with nutrient water at the beginning, so roots can properly develop into water roots.
  • Algae growth – A combination of too much fertilizer and direct sunlight results in algae formation. If you notice green buildup around the LECA balls inside the pot, it means that you didn’t follow the correct dilution of the fertilizer used. The only way you can get rid of algae is by replanting by using new clay balls.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to propagate snake plant in LECA?

To propagate your snake plant in LECA, start by selecting a healthy leaf from the mother plant. Trim a leaf with a clean, sharp knife or scissors. Allow the cut end of the leaf to callous for 1-2 days. Prepare a container by filling it with LECA and adding water until the LECA is moist but not soaking wet. Insert the calloused end of the leaf into the LECA, ensuring it’s upright and supported. Place the container in a warm, bright location, avoiding direct sunlight. Monitor the water level in the container and keep the LECA consistently moist. Root development can take several weeks, so be patient. Once roots have formed, you can pot the new plant in LECA in the same manner as a mature snake plant.

Best care tips for snake plants?

Proper care for your snake plant in LECA is essential for its health and growth. Give your plant bright, indirect sunlight, and avoid placing it in direct sun to prevent leaf scorching. Keep the room temperature between 70-90°F (21-32°C) for optimal growth. Maintain consistent moisture in the LECA by checking the water level regularly and adding water as needed. Don’t let the LECA become soggy or allow the plant to sit in standing water to prevent root rot. As LECA is a soilless medium, ensure your snake plant receives nutrients by adding a balanced liquid fertilizer to the water according to the frequency recommended in the package.

When to propagate a snake plant in LECA?

The ideal time to propagate your snake plant in LECA is during its active growth phase, which happens in late spring and summer. Propagating during this period increases the chances of successful root development and allows the new plant to grow more vigorously. However, snake plants are resilient, and you may achieve success with propagation outside this period with proper care. Just remember to provide the right conditions, such as consistent moisture in the LECA and a warm temperature, to encourage rooting and growth.

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