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Episode 77: “Semi” or “Passive” Hydro with Kay from @inrootedlove



Today’s episode is exciting for me to share with you because the topic was something I was completely confused and bewildered by: this “semi-hydro” craze. Semi Hydro- (which is not a correct term, it’s actually called “passive hydro” standing for “passive hydroponics”) is the growing practice of using LECA balls, which are puffed clay balls that look like cocopuff cereal, to grow your houseplants. You’ve probably seen photos of this, where the plants look like they are buried in coco puffs or a bowl of olives). Plant Friends, I did NOT get this trend. Or how it worked. But I started seeing more and more photos from trusted plant friends who use them, and kept getting more and more questions from you guys about it. Enter Kay, of the instagram account @inrootedlove, who has kept over a hundred houseplants thriving in this passive hydroponic system for a year and a half. Plant Friends… I’m slowly becoming a believer. After my conversation with Kay, I transferred my orchid and the top of a pilea peperomiodes that I accidentally broke off into LECA and I can’t believe how happy the orchid has been so far, and the pilea rooted in under a week. I documented my experiment with setting them up in LECA on the Youtube channel if you are interested in checking it out.

Like last weeks hydroponics episode, this Passive Hydroponic set up could be a really fun way for someone looking for a planty project for the winter, or maybe for the plant parent that just hates potting soil (or maybe has a partner that hates potting soil). Passive Hydro also seems to be a great option for a plant parent that likes to get their inner mad scientist on- because as you’ll learn, you are totally in control of mixing nutrient solutions for the plant. Whatever you plant parent personality is, this was a really interesting conversation and has been a really fun planty experiment for me that I hope inspires you to continue playing around with your indoor jungle!

In this episode we learn:

  • What is “semi hydro” aka “passive Hydroponics”
  • How Kay became the LECA Plant Lady she is today
  • How Semi Hydro works
  • What are LECA balls
  • What materials do you need to have a LECA set up
  • How does a beginner make their first LECA set up
  • How expensive is this hobby?
  • How to fertilize
  • What products Kay uses in her home
  • Pest management for a semi hydro set up


Mentioned in this episode:

Dallas Live Taping: Herbal Mixology with Gardenuity!

Bloom and Grow “Passive or Semi Hydro” Amazon Store:

Maria sets up her orchid and pilea cutting in LECA on Youtube:


Thank you to today's episode sponsors!

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Soltech Solutions makes luxury grow lights that look like high end modern light fixtures with cutting edge grow spectrum for houseplants and dwarf fruiting trees. I have three of their Aspect pendant lights in my apartment and love the launch of the new Highland Track Light System! For 15% off a light of your own, visit and use code Bloom15 at checkout.


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Instagram: @inrootedlove


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