Best plants for LECA: top 13 most popular house plants in the US

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, using LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) for house plants may be new to you.

As you explore the possibilities of growing plants in LECA, you’ll discover that it can change your plant care routine forever. Due to its surprising qualities, LECA is a unique solution for those struggling with overwatering and other challenges.

Let’s explore the most popular plant choices for LECA indoor gardening admired by American LECA enthusiasts. As we unveil the best plants for LECA that, much to our collective delight, thrive in this innovative growing medium, you will see how unlimited your options are, from unforgettable leaf patterns to gorgeous flowering plants.

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Growing plants in LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate)

When it comes to gardening, LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) is a remarkable growing medium.

Made from porous clay balls, LECA provides several advantages due to which plants thrive:

  • Standout ability to retain and distribute water.
  • Prevention of overwatering and water wastage.
  • Superior moisture retention.
  • Increased and consistent aeration properties.

These clay balls are hardened in extreme heat, ensuring their durability and longevity. Unlike traditional soil, LECA does not break down over time and can be reused indefinitely.

Now, let’s go straight to our top-13 to see which of the LECA-loving plants we love the most.

Sansevieria (snake plant)

Sansevieria is the top choice for LECA gardens in the USA. With its unique qualities and popularity, it’s the perfect plant in LECA or a semi-hydroponic system.

The pointed foliage with shades of green, yellow, and grey adds natural beauty to any space.

This plant is not just visually appealing but also is a champion at purifying indoor air by removing toxins (though let’s be honest, most of our plants do this, too).

Its resilient nature and undemanding maintenance make it ideal for busy individuals or beginner gardeners.

LECA’s lightweight and well-draining properties suit the needs of its roots, helping healthy root rot-free growth. Its non-compaction characteristics ensure crucial for the health of snake plants drainage.

Sansevieria is adaptable to various light conditions, from low to bright indirect sunlight.

Its ability to tolerate low water requirements and infrequent watering makes it an excellent choice for spaces with limited sunlight or irregular care schedules.

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Pothos (devil’s ivy)

Pothos, commonly known as devil’s ivy, is highly recommended for LECA gardens: it’s versatile and easy to care after. With its trailing vines and heart-shaped leaves, devil’s ivy adds an elegant touch to any space.

It adapts well to lighting conditions from low to bright indirect light.

Growing devil’s ivy in LECA provides numerous benefits. LECA’s lightweight and well-draining properties create an optimal environment for the plant’s roots, preventing overwatering and root rot.

It also helps roots to develop healthily by ensuring proper aeration and preventing soil compaction.

Pothos is an excellent choice for those seeking a low-maintenance plant. It can tolerate occasional neglect and doesn’t require frequent watering.

Allowing the top half inch of soil to dry between waterings is usually sufficient to keep the plant healthy.

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ZZ Plant (Zanzibar Gem)

The ZZ Plant, also known as Zanzibar Gem, is also very popular due to its unique appearance and low-maintenance nature, making it one of the best plants for LECA.

The ZZ Plant features glossy, dark green leaves that grow upright, adding elegance to any setting. Unlike soil, growing it in LECA clay balls with excellent drainage prevents root rot and allows for easy plant management.

It can thrive in various lighting conditions, including low-light environments, so it’s suitable for interiors with limited natural light.

Additionally, the ZZ Plant is one of the best plants for those who seek durable and resilient ones, withstanding neglect and resisting pests and diseases.

Watering the ZZ Plant infrequently and its ability to tolerate drought conditions contribute to its ease of care. Its ability to store water in its rhizomes enables it to survive dry periods.

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Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is an excellent choice for LECA. With its elegant white flowers and lush green leaves, it adds a touch of beauty and serenity to your interior.

LECA offers excellent drainage for the Peace Lily, a plant that dislikes waterlogging and is somewhat easy to go into the root rot stage.

This is very easy to avoid while growing plants, as one of the peace lily’s notable characteristics is its ability to indicate when it needs watering: it’s time to water plants when they start to droop slightly.

Peace Lilies thrive in medium to low light conditions and are suitable for areas with limited natural light. Their tolerance for shade makes them ideal for brightening up corners or rooms with less sunlight.

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Heartleaf Philodendron

The Heartleaf Philodendron, one of the best house plants in LECA gardens, has heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines that make it visually appealing.

Maintaining the Heartleaf Philodendron is relatively easy. It requires regular watering, allowing the top inch of potting soil to dry out between waterings.

Placing these plants in LECA helps to achieve an excellent level of drainage and aeration needed for the root system, preventing waterlogged roots and reducing the risk of root rot.

Philodendron is not by any means a high-maintenance plant, it can thrive in both bright indirect light and lower light settings and is forgiving when it comes to occasional neglect.

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Monstera Deliosa (Swiss cheese plant)

The so-called Swiss cheese plant, scientifically known as Monstera Deliciosa, is one of the most striking sought-after indoor plants in LECA gardening.

With its large, fenestrated leaves that resemble Swiss cheese, it adds some tropical touch to any room.

On top of being beautiful, it filters out harmful toxins from the air, like formaldehyde and xylene.

Monstera Deliciosa is one of the best tropical plants to be grown in clay balls. LECA’s lightweight and porous nature ensures good aeration for the thick roots, allowing efficient respiration without soil rot.

It also provides stability to the plant’s growth, preventing waterlogging or compaction. Consistent watering of the plant is important, but keep the LECA balls only slightly moist.

Light requirements are not high for Monstera: it thrives in both bright indirect light and lower light conditions.

This versatility makes it suitable for various areas, including moderate shadow, as long as it receives adequate indirect sunlight.

Placing it near a well-lit window or in a room with sufficient natural light is, however, best for optimal growth.

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Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera, a well-known succulent with numerous health and skincare benefits, is also an excellent choice for LECA gardening.

With its fleshy, green leaves and soothing gel-filled interior, Aloe Vera adds both visual appeal and practicality to indoor spaces.

LECA’s exceptional drainage properties ensure that Aloe Vera’s roots stay well-aerated and free from waterlogging, eliminating the root rot risks. This feature is especially beneficial for those who are forgetful about watering.

Aloe Vera’s succulent leaves store water, making it a drought-tolerant plant that can withstand periods of dryness.

It’s a humble plant that thrives in a wide range of light conditions. Placing it in a sunny spot near a window will help it receive the optimal amount of light, but lower light levels, won’t harm either.

The maintenance simplicity of Aloe Vera is further enhanced by using LECA as a growing medium. LECA requires minimal fertilization and minimizes the need for repotting, also reducing the risk of pests and diseases.

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Fiddle-Leaf Fig (Ficus)

The Fiddle-Leaf Fig, or the Ficus plant, is known for its large, violin-shaped leaves that add elegance and tropical flavor to any space. When grown in LECA, the plant can thrive even when moisture levels fluctuate.

Clay balls retain just the right amount of moisture, providing a balanced environment for the Ficus plant’s roots. This helps manage root rot, a common issue in traditional potting soil gardening.

LECA requires less frequent watering compared to traditional soil, which frees the hand of those with busy schedules or limited time for plant care.

The Fiddle-Leaf Fig’s plant roots prefer slightly drier conditions, and LECA helps to avoid too much moisture.

In addition to its low-maintenance nature, The Ficus plant grown in clay balls is less susceptible to common soil-borne pests and diseases. This reduces the need for chemical treatments or pesticides.

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Anthurium (Flamingo Flower)

Anthurium, also known as flamingo flower, is called sofor its vibrant red colors, glossy heart-shaped leaves, and beautiful uniquely structured vibrant flowers.

This humble requirement-wise plant is sensitive to overwatering, needing well-drained soil for its root system, and the draining of LECA is exactly what makes those not enjoying water roots healthy.

All the rest it needs is bright indirect sunlight and occasional fertilization.

Being able to tolerate lower light levels, and contributing to the air quality of the room, anthurium is well-suited for various light conditions from bright to limited light.

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Syngonium (Arrowhead Plant)

With vibrant foliage of arrow-shaped leaves giving this plant the name it goes by, Syngonium, or arrowhead plant, is a popular and elegant-looking choice to be grown in LECA. The plant’s unique leaf patterns range from solid green to variegated green, white, or pink mixes. Such versatility in colors and patterns makes each leaf a work of art.

It’s an excellent choice for hanging baskets or cascading planters. You can also train it to climb a moss pole or trellis for added visual interestingness.

In terms of lighting, it thrives in bright, indirect light. Place it near a window with filtered sunlight or provide artificial grow lights to maintain its vibrant foliage.

Avoid direct sunlight, as it can damage the leaves.

Syngonium prefers consistent moisture, and it’s very easy to water roots like this appropriately in LECA clay balls. Allow them to partially dry out between waterings to avoid too much moisture, but mist the leaves or place a tray of water nearby to keep humidity high.

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One of the main attractions of Bromeliads is their wide range of colors and foliage patterns, which creates an exotic view in any LECA garden. Whether you prefer bold and vibrant hues or more subtle and delicate tones, there’s a Bromeliad variety to suit your taste.

Bromeliads also thrive in LECA due to their excellent drainage properties. LECA balls ensure a well-aerated environment for the Bromeliad’s thick roots, keeping them healthy.

Clay balls ensure optimal moisture levels without waterlogging, creating an ideal environment for these plants to flourish.

Bromeliads can be grown in pots or mounted on different surfaces, and they are notably low-maintenance plants – perfect for beginners and busy people.

They need minimal watering and are not demanding to light conditions, including low light environments. This makes them a flexible choice for spaces with limited sunlight or irregular care schedules.

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Hoya (Wax Plant)

Hoya gets its other name from its thick, waxy leaves that have a glossy appearance. These leaves not only add a touch of elegance to any space but also contribute to the plant’s overall resilience and humble maintenance requirements.

Hoya’s stunning and fragrant blooms look, depending on the plant’s variety, like clusters of star-shaped flowers in a range of colors from white and pink to red and purple.

These blooms not only add beauty to your LECA garden but also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, enhancing the overall ecosystem.

Hoya thrives in various light conditions, including bright indirect sunlight or partially shaded areas.

LECA’s drainage capabilities and lightweight nature with proper airflow contribute to the overall well-being of the Hoya plant.

Hoya is a low-maintenance plant that requires infrequent watering, which is well-suited for individuals with busy schedules or those who tend to forget to water their plants. It stores water in its leaves and can tolerate periods of drought, and therefore is a resilient and forgiving choice for LECA gardens.

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Boston Fern

Our top wouldn’t be complete without at least one fern plant, and the most popular fern for LECA happens to be the gorgeous Boston fern.

Its delicate and feathery fronds create a beautiful cascading effect, adding a soft and refreshing touch to any kind of indoors.

The Boston fern thrives in moderate to bright indirect light, making it adaptable to different indoor environments. It can be placed in rooms with windows that provide filtered sunlight or in shaded areas of outdoor gardens.

Like other ferns and most plants on our list, the Boston fern helps purify the air by removing harmful toxins and increasing humidity levels, and does it very effectively, which makes it an excellent indoor plant, especially in areas with dry air or limited ventilation.

Caring for the Boston fern in LECA is relatively simple: it requires regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist, but not overly saturated.

LECA balls maintain proper moisture levels and prevent waterlogging, ensuring the fern’s roots get adequate hydration, while excellent drainage prevents waterlogging and ensures the roots are always healthy.

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How easy is it to propagate plants on our list?

Not only are the most popular LECA-grown plants known for their beauty and aesthetic appeal, but many of them are also relatively easy to propagate through leaves or roots.

Among them, Pothos, Snake plant, ZZ Plant, Heartleaf Philodendron, and Boston fern.

Propagating plants like these is an easy skill to obtain regardless of your previous experience – just do a small research for your particular plant.

Once you go through with it, it’s going to develop into an abundance. It’s always rewarding to watch your plants multiply and fill your garden with lush and ample greenery.

Proper watering of plants in LECA

Proper watering is essential for effective LECA plant care.

On top of giving the plant liquid, watering helps to appropriately deliver to the plant essential nutrients from the hydroponic fertilizer you add.

The plant’s needs define the optimal watering goals, but there are a few common things to pay attention to:

Monitor moisture levels. LECA’s porous structure retains moisture while ensuring proper drainage. Check moisture by inserting your finger into the medium. If it feels slightly damp, the plant is adequately watered.

Watering frequency. Frequency depends on plant type, size, and environment. Generally, water when the top layer of LECA is dry. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. It’s better to slightly underwater than overwater.

Watering technique. Opt for a bottom-up approach with LECA. Place the pot in a tray or saucer filled with water, allowing the LECA to soak it up through drainage holes. Remove excess water from the tray once absorbed.

Root rot in LECA

Root rot, though rare, can still occur in plants grown in LECA due to excessive moisture or poor drainage. It is crucial to maintain proper watering practices from the above, allowing the LECA to dry out slightly between waterings.

Avoid overwatering and ensure adequate airflow around the roots to prevent stagnant moisture. Regularly inspect the roots for any signs of rot and take prompt action if detected.

More plants to consider

Discover more captivating plants beyond our top 13 choices. This list features popular additions to your indoor garden, offering a delightful variety of colors, textures, and forms.

  • A string of pearls (Bead plant)
  • Chinese Money Plant (Pilea, Pancake plant)
  • Nerve Plant (Fittonia)
  • Bird’s nest fern
  • African violet
  • Croton
  • Spider plant
  • Purple waffle plant
  • Euphorbia plant
  • Rex begonia (Painted-leaf begonia)
  • Peacock plant (Calathea makoyana)
  • Maranta (Prayer plant)
  • Areca palm (Butterfly palm)
  • Tradescantia (Wandering jew, spiderwort)
  • Ponytail palm
  • Polka Dot Plant (Freckle face plant)

Your botanical collection with be enhanced by these unique beauties, expanding your green oasis and creating a more vibrant and diverse space.


What plants cannot grow in LECA?

Certain plants may not do well in LECA due to their specific needs – plants that prefer acidic soil, those that require consistently moist environments, and those with extremely delicate or sensitive roots.

Can any plant grow in LECA?

No, LECA has specific properties that may not be suitable for certain plants. Plants with deep taproots or prefer constantly moist or waterlogged conditions, such as cacti and succulents, may suffer in LECA.

Plants that require dense, nutrient-rich soil for optimal growth, such as certain orchid varieties, may as well not thrive in LECA either.

Do spider plants do good in LECA?

Yes, the spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum) thrives in LECA due to its adaptability and moderate water needs. Spider plants are fine with slight drying between waterings, which aligns well with the moisture-retention properties of LECA.

Spider plants also find the drainage capabilities of LECA perfect.

To boot, they can easily produce offsets, which makes a spider plant ideal for propagation in LECA.


The world of LECA gardening offers an array of exceptional plant choices that thrive in this unique growing medium. From the resilient snake plant to the delicate Boston fern, they encompass a variety of colors, textures, and care requirements, catering to different preferences and skill levels.

Exploring LECA gardening opens up a world of possibilities for your indoor plants worthy of embracing. With its unique properties, LECA provides a versatile and effective growing medium for your garden.

With the best plants for LECA at your fingertips, nothing but your imagination limits you in the creation of your dream green sanctuary.

Vanessa Sharon

I am the founder of the Deep Nature Gardens website! I, along with the experts, want to provide you with our avid readers, with accurate and compelling knowledge about gardens, plants and design techniques.