Diatomite and LECA.

Mortalis

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Seems I have been starting threads with questions about soil mix lately.. Maybe because I am looking to get my trees from just "living" to thriving. Looking for just the right mix for my growing style. Well I have asked about Lava, pumice, and coconut husk. Well next is diatomite and LECA.

First Diatomite I have some and just because I am curious I placed a single ficus benjamina fresh from my hydro garden into 100% diatomite as an experiment. It seems the diatomite gets very dry quickly on the surface but holds on to a bit of moisture inside. Its been in for two weeks so far so good its water roots have begun to dry up and its growing soil roots to replace them already. If you have had experience with it I would like to know how your trees have been in it.

Second is LECA I grow my hydro trees in 100% LECA. It seems like it would have properties similar to lava when used as part of a soil mix any word on its use?
 

irene_b

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Mort are you a member of the Dallas Bonsai Club? Or any Bonsai club?
A member who posts here Thomas J might be the one you want to meet and see his trees and show you what he uses.. Myself I have not heard of LECA.
Irene
 

Ross

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local lava source?

Mortalis,

I wish I could help, but I have never personally grown under lights, and the only people I know who have were growing something they shouldn't have been. One of them used pure lava rock I know for sure. My question for you is, where do you get your lava? Do you buy the large bags and crush it up or do you know somewhere to get a smaller size? The only places I have seen that sell small lava rocks only sell in bulk and I don't think I need that much.

Thanks,
Ross
 

Mortalis

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No I am not anywhere near dallas. But I have recently found out their is a society within an hour drive of me I plan to start attending.

I buy my lava at www.repotme.com. Leca is a high fired light weight clay ball available in several sizes.
 

rockm

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It might help to know what you are near...Texas is chock full of bonsai folks who have built up alot of knowledge about what works down there, what soil ingredients are better (and more available) than others. There are clubs from Abilene to Corpus...

http://www.absbonsai.org/USAClubs.html#TX

Frankly you are probably re-inventing an expensive wheel with LECA (and I've tried this stuff. It's not worth the trouble...)and shipping it. Also, if I'm reading the website correctly, it's $18 for eight scoops? Jeez Louise...
 
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Mortalis

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Well it is kinda expensive I really only was wondering about it since I have it on hand. I use it for my hydroponic trees and tomatoes and it works great in that capacity. I have a ficus burt davi that I have in 100% leca I am now hand watering and it has started to grow soil roots and is so far doing fine.

So anyone use diatomite before?
 

DaveV

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Mort, It sounds very similar to Higromite. Higromite comes from California and is also used in hydroponics. I am considering using this since I don't have access to pumice - though it is different then pumice.
 

Mortalis

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Well a little update on my experiments with Leca and diatomite.

Leca still seems to be a viable tough more expensive aggregate it dries a little fast alone but added to an organic preforms similarly to other aggregates. If you have some you use for other things its worth a go but it has no advantages over lava rock as far as I can tell.

Diatomite seems that it dries much to quickly. It seems to desiccate fine roots when it becomes totally dry I have decided not to use it.
 
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Very interesting, Mortalis. Thanks for providing that.

I believe diatomite is similar to isolite, which is a ceramic product made from extruded diatomaceous earth
 

rockm

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Both of these ingredients are woefully inadequate for bonsai soil. It's been "proven" again and again and again by more than a few people :rolleyes:.

To get a bearing on what is appropriate for bonsai soil in your area (And bonsai soil is mostly all local--depending on what's available, affordable and applicable) all you have to do is ask at the local club. If there's not a club in your immediate vicinity, an email to the closest one will probably yield an answer.

If you've got no idea where the closest club is:
www.absbonsai.org/USAClubs.html
 

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