For the past year or so, semi-hydroponics has been a hot issue in the houseplant world. Without using any soil at all, your houseplants may be grown successfully using a method known as semi-hydroponics. Leca is perhaps one of the most well-known methods for accomplishing this goal.
It is much simpler to water your plants when you grow them in Leca as opposed to soil, and there is a much reduced risk of pests and rot in the roots when you do this. Although Leca is a fantastic medium for cultivating your houseplants, it does have a few drawbacks that may be avoided by substituting Smart Gravel in its place.
We’re going to compare Smart Gravel with Leca in this plant care guide. We’ll talk about the following topics:
- What does “Smart Gravel” stand for?
- Smart Gravel versus Leca
- The benefits that Leca has in comparison to Smart Gravel
- The benefits that Smart Gravel has over Leca are as follows:
Let’s get started and explore how Smart Gravel can help you save time and care for your plants.
Table of Contents
What exactly is Smart Gravel?
Smart Gravel is a recycled plastic-based growth medium. They are round pebbles made of hard plastic that are about the same size as the clay pebbles made by Leca. These balls are made of plastic, so they do not collect any moisture, they do not spoil, and they are simple to clean.
Because Smart Gravel does not retain any moisture, you may be wondering how this may benefit your plants. The fact that the plastic balls are so effective at enhancing drainage is the primary advantage that they provide.
Because the balls do not take in moisture and do not get more compact over time, they are excellent at allowing water to seep to the base of the container. This helps to prevent root rot and other problems that might arise from overwatering.
The fact that Smart Gravel is produced from recycled plastic garbage is one of the aspects of this product that I appreciate the most. Not only is it beneficial for you and your plants, but you are also contributing to the elimination of unnecessary plastic waste.
This product, known as Smart Gravel, is beneficial to the environment, to the health of your plants, and to the efficient utilization of your time. Now that we have a better understanding of what Smart Gravel is, let’s look at how it stacks up against Leca!
Leca versus Smart Gravel
You probably already know that I enjoy working with Leca because you’ve read various articles on my website in the past. When compared to utilizing soil, Leca makes it much simpler to water your plants. Because I have a little preference for Leca, Smart Gravel will have to work extra hard to win my support in this competition. And it was enough to convince me!
To get a better idea of how Leca and Smart Gravel compare, I transplanted some of my plants that were already established in Leca into the latter. The plants have been growing in Smart Gravel for some time now, and I’ve seen a few distinct variations in Leca as a result of this.
In my opinion, the following are the benefits that Leca offers over Smart Gravel:
- Whole-pot watering
- It’s a little less expensive.
And in comparison to Leca, these are the benefits that Smart Gravel offers:
- Houseplant convenience
- Plastic ball cleaning
- Lower plastic pollution
Let’s have a look at these benefits to determine whether Smart Gravel is a decent alternative for (semi) hydroponics for you!
The benefits that Leca has in comparison to Smart Gravel
The clay balls in Leca do an excellent job of absorbing moisture, which is one of my favorite features.
Leca balls help you water plants evenly by distributing moisture evenly throughout the container. You may grow plants of varying sizes in the same container, provided that the moisture is evenly distributed over the entire container. You won’t have to worry about whether or not each plant is receiving the appropriate amount of moisture.
Because it does not absorb any moisture, smart gravel allows the water to seep to the base of the container. Because of this, plants with extensive root systems will be able to obtain the moisture they need from the soil’s deeper layers. However, if you plant various sized plants in the same container, the roots of the smaller plants may not be able to reach the soil at the bottom of the container, which may result in them not receiving enough water.
Leca is a little less expensive.
While Smart Gravel is a relatively recent innovation, Leca has been in business for a very long time. Due to its lengthy history, Leca has become more affordable. Smart Gravel does not yet have this benefit and is slightly more costly.
On the other hand, the benefits of using Smart Gravel could be enough to persuade you that purchasing it is money well spent.
The benefits that Smart Gravel has over Leca are as follows:
Leca is more difficult to work with than Smart Gravel.
If you’ve read any of my prior articles about using Leca with houseplants, you’ll know that the clay balls must be washed before usage. You must wash them since the bags contain a lot of clay dust.
You do not want any of this clay dust in your pots or in the watering system for your hydroponics to grow. This cleaning process might take anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes of your time, depending on how much Leca you are using at one time.
The only thing that makes up Smart Gravel is a collection of solid plastic balls. You won’t need to remove any dust from it before applying it to your plants since there won’t be any. When you buy a fresh bag of With Smart Gravel, you can immediately start using it in your pots without having to clean it first because there is no need to do so.
When I need to repot a plant, this is one of the features that I like the most since it helps me save a great deal of time.
Smart Gravel is simple to clean.
Leca and Smart Gravel can be reused. You won’t run into any difficulties if you want to recycle it after you’ve finished using it for one of your plants and want to use it for another.
It is necessary to cleanse your growing medium in order to prepare it for future usage. After usage, there will be old roots and other organic stuff on the stones.
The process of washing Leca is not very challenging, although it does require extra time. Clay pebbles have a rough surface that may cling to a wide variety of items, such as gnarled roots. These roots will frequently develop into the clay balls, making it difficult to remove them in an effective manner.
Because it is so simple to clean, using Smart Gravel makes this process a lot less difficult. Because the plastic balls have flat surfaces, it is simple to clean them, and there is little chance that any roots would quickly cling to them. This method allows you to reuse your growing medium for another plant far more quickly. It is a very efficient use of time.
With Smart Gravel, you can cut down on plastic pollution.
If you’re someone who, like me, is very careful about how much plastic they use, using Smart Gravel is a fantastic way to contribute to the fight against plastic pollution.
According to Arqlite, the company that manufactures Smart Gravel, the removal of one bag of Smart Gravel from the surrounding environment is comparable to the removal of 7,200 energy bar wrappers. That is a significant amount of plastic!
You may benefit your plants by using an easy-to-use growth medium, help yourself by saving a lot of time, and clear up the plastic pollution all at the same time. Reducing the amount of pollution caused by plastic won’t make your plant grow any better, but it will help you contribute to the solution of a significant issue.
Both Smart Gravel and Leca are excellent growth mediums that may be used to cultivate plants without the need for soil. Smart Gravel, as we learned, is preferable for those of you who grow plants of comparable proportions in a pot and are willing to invest a little more to save a lot of time.
It’s advisable to use Smart Gravel rather than Leca in pots or watering systems if you don’t want to spend a lot of time making the growing medium. If you actively want to help limit the amount of plastic pollution while still taking care of your houseplants, it is also a better fit for you to utilize this product.
It is now up to you to choose a growth medium for your (semi) hydroponics arrangement. There is no incorrect choice; they are both excellent! Personally, I plan to use both of them.
I like how simple it is to utilize Smart Gravel for my bigger plants, while the incredible water retention capabilities that Leca has make it ideal for my smaller and more variable-sized plants.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my article. I really hope that this information is of use to you in maintaining the health and beauty of your plants.