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Rainbow Ceramsite (Unicorn Leca)

$9.00 NZD

Yes, ceramsite and leca are essentially the same. And no 'unicorn leca' is absolutely NOT the official name for ceramsite, it's just what I called it the first time I saw rainbow ceramsite and the name stuck. All those pretty colours! If you swipe through the photos you'll see the colour change from dry to wet (colours will also vary a little depending on your device's display settings).

What is ceramsite?


Ceramsite is made of fired clay. It's natural, soil-free, very long-lasting and reusable. Both leca and ceramsite reduce the risk of root rot and of soil-loving bad bugs like root mealy and fungus gnats setting up home in your plants. 


How much is in a pack?


Ceramsite comes in 1/2 litre or 1 litre bags (the 1 litre pack weighs around 1.6kgs). You can use a potting soil calculator (linked below) to work out how many litres of ceramsite you need for your container. Keep in mind calculators tell you the total volume right to the top, but when using any substrate you'll normally want to leave a little room between the substrate and the very top of the pot so you don't spill water everywhere when you water.

What can you use ceramsite for?

Both leca and ceramsite are popular plant substrates for
 semi-hydroponics, often used in self-watering and wick-watering pots, or in containers with a water reservoir at the bottom. Leca and ceramsite can also be used as an additive mixed in with your potting mix, as a top-layer on pots to reduce pests or reduce water loss, or a bottom drainage layer. 

Another popular use is to make a pebble tray for humidity, adding a layer of ceramsite (for smaller saucers), or leca (more popular for larger saucers) in a saucer or tray, then adding water 3/4 of the way up the clay balls. You sit pots on top, but maintain the water level below the bottom of the pot, so rather than the plant absorbing the water, the water evaporates naturally over time, increasing ambient humidity around your plants.

How much ceramsite do I need for my pot?

Use this Potting Soil Calculator to work out how much you need. If your pot is wider across the top than the bottom, change the shape on the calculator to 'flower pot' or if your pot is round with the same width across the top as the bottom, use the 'round' shape option at the top of the calculator.

How big is ceramsite? 

Ceramsite, like leca, comes in a variety of sizes. Typically though, standard leca is larger and ceramsite tends to be smaller. This rainbow ceramsite varies from around 5mm to 7mm round. Ideal for propagation for all types of plants, and although it can be used for most mature plants that are a good match for growing in semi-hydro, ceramsite being smaller makes it more popular for established plants with smaller or finer more delicate roots. Especially succulents and cacti, String of and Chain of everythings :)

Where do the pretty colours come from?


The colours are determined both by the original colour of the clay and the firing process in the kiln, resulting in shades of terracotta, orange and yellow through to greens, blues and tawny-pinks. Sold separately or combined into 'rainbow ceramsite'. Below are some of the many pretty pastels you'll find in your pack of rainbow ceramsite, shown both dry (top) and wet (bottom) to show you the colour change.

How do you prep ceramsite?

The same as leca, give new ceramsite a good rinse before first use. You may want to give it a soak in nutrient solution also before first use. I use the drip-soak method for ceramsite, which is a bit different from leca. Have a read here on how to prep ceramsite before first use > The drip-soak method gets the clay silt out and lets the water in (described in detail in that guide linked above) to increase the wicking ability. 

More tips for using ceramsite for indoor plants

The same as leca, ceramsite can be used by itself, added to your potting mix, or used as a drainage layer or a top layer under or over your potting mix. The most popular use is by itself to grow plants semi-hydroponically.

My favourite use is in a container that doesn't have drainage, maintaining the water reservoir at the bottom of the container below the roots (your plant may end up sending water roots down into the reservoir over time, but make sure to keep the water level below the soil roots).

The ceramsite will wick up small amounts of water to keep a balance of water and oxygen for roots. You can also use ceramsite in self-watering pots or for wick-watering. I find it doesn't wick up as much water as leca so I like to use ceramsite with a reservoir instead of a wick, but it works both ways. Remember to prep your ceramsite before first use using the drip-soak method (linked above). 

I'll email you the how to prep ceramsite before first use guide after you order :)



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 is FREE for all orders over $80. Orders under $80: Auckland Standard $5, signature required $7, or rural $9. Rest of the North Island and the South Island: Standard $7, signature required $9, or rural $11. Plants, fragile and overweight/oversize parcels have separate rates. 


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Orders ship every week-day, Monday to Friday. Orders placed before 7pm Monday to Thursday leave the next morning. Zoom zoom! Fri, Sat & Sun orders leave Monday (or the next working day).



Normal delivery is 1 to 3 working days. Rural and some regions can take a day or 2 longer, depending on where you're based (orders ship from Auckland). 

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"I can’t recommend love that leaf highly enough. I’ve bought a couple of times so far and on both occasions Anna has been more helpful than I could possibly wish for. 5 stars! Don’t hesitate to order from Love That Leaf. Excellent service and super fast delivery." Rob Gordon

Why choose to buy from Love That Leaf?


When you buy from me you're supporting a small, local, family business. Love That Leaf is a registered NZ business, based in Auckland. 


You'll get your planty goodies super fast. Everything showing in stock on the website is right here in NZ, in stock, ready to ship. I ship daily, Monday to Friday. Orders normally leave the courier the same or next working day. Zoom zoom!


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