Light Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA)
Definition - What does Light Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA) mean?
Light expanded clay aggregate, also called lightweight expanded clay aggregate, or LECA, is a form of high-temperature burnt clay nodules. LECA is used for a very wide range of purposes, many of them in agricultural and hydroponic systems.
Sometimes referred to as clay pebbles or clay pellets, LECA is considered a soilless growing medium when used alone in hydroponics. It can also be used to amend soil.
MaximumYield explains Light Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA)
Also known as LECA and sometimes called lightweight expanded clay aggregate, light expanded clay aggregate takes the form of small balls or pellets. These are formed from special “plastic” clay that is fired in a rotary kiln. During the kilning processes, gases created released by the heat warm and expand, inflating the balls and forming a honeycomb structure.
Light expanded clay aggregate is strong, durable, and is an excellent solution to many challenges faced by gardeners and indoor growers alike. LECA can be used in heavy soils to prevent compaction and enhance aeration, for instance. They are also be used in hydroponics as a stand-alone growing medium.
When mixed with soil and/or peat, LECA helps enhance drainage. However, they also absorb and retain water, meaning that they can help ensure healthy plant growth during dry periods of the year. These clay balls also retain heat very well, which makes them an excellent option for insulating plant roots during cooler periods of the year.
Other qualities that make LECA a popular option with growers include the fact that this grow medium is completely natural and is not subject to dry-rot or wet-rot, the way many other substrates are. It is also inflammable.