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Coco Coir vs. Soil

Coco Coir vs. Soil: Which is Better for Cannabis Growing?

Are you unsure of which grow medium to use for cultivating cannabis? Perhaps you’re torn between coco coir vs. soil for your latest crop? 

Whether you’re just starting with marijuana growing or a veteran cultivator, choosing the suitable growing medium takes some thought. Select a method that suits your skill-set and growing space, so your weed plants thrive.

You’ve heard about cultivating in soil, but what about coco coir? We’ve set these two growing mediums against each other to help you decide which one is best for you. Keep reading as we discuss growing cannabis in coco vs. soil.

Growing weed in coco coir: Pros and cons

cannabis plant grown in coco

Coco soil for plants is a highly effective growing medium that gives the experience of growing in soil, but with added benefits. You have more control over the pH and can enjoy faster plant development with fewer pests.

The composition of this substrate differs from soil, so you should provide adequate nutrients for coco coir. Made from ground-up coconut husks, it’s a renewable and environmentally-friendly option. 

The grow medium comes in 3 forms: peat, fiber, and chips. The substrate is airy while also offering your plants optimal water retention. Be sure to provide your crops with adequate nutrients to avoid issues like a calcium deficiency in weed

If you purchase coco coir bricks instead of bagged ones, rehydrate them before sowing your seeds. When testing the pH levels, the best range is 5.5–6.5.

Pros of growing cannabis in coco coir

  • Improves soil structures overall, promoting faster and healthier root development
  • It’s a renewable resource, which is good for the environment
  • Repels insects and bugs while reducing hazardous pathogens
  • Soilless medium which gives the feeling of growing in soil (plants kept in pots and watered with nutrient water)
  • Gives benefits of hydroponics by providing nutrients for cannabis and promoting faster growth
  • Can easily be mixed and used with other substrates
  • Despite being biodegradable, this medium still decomposes slower than other substrates

Cons of growing cannabis in coco coir

  • Can have extremely high salt content
  • Can be hard to find locally
  • Must be rehydrated before you can grow cannabis plants
  • Supplementation is required 
  • Coco might be treated with chemical agents to prevent pathogens. Always read the label as chemical residue can affect the growth of your cannabis plants

Growing cannabis in soil: Pros and cons

cannabis plant grown in soil

When considering between coco coir vs. soil, the latter offers simplicity. According to growers, soil-grown cannabis has an enhanced terpene profile which boosts flavor.

One of the most significant benefits of growing cannabis in soil is that some bags of earth already have nutrients. Exercise caution with these because too much supplementation can burn your crops.

As soil holds water well, you won’t need to hydrate your cannabis plants as often as with coco coir. The only risk here is that giving your crops too much fluid is easy as the medium is dense. Drenching the earth could lead to root rot and stunted growth. 

Growing in soil is excellent for beginners as it’s the cheapest and easiest medium overall. When testing pH in soil, the best range for cannabis is between 6.0 to 7.0. 

Pros of growing cannabis in soil

  • Better flavor due to enhanced terpene profile.
  • More affordable
  • Simpler growing medium for beginners as you don’t need to be an expert to keep your cannabis plants healthy
  • Excellent drainage and contains basic nutrients
  • Readily available and is an excellent base for outdoor planting of cannabis

Cons of growing cannabis in soil

  • Slower and longer growth cycle
  • Larger space is required
  • Smaller yield and more prone to pests
  • Overwatering can lead to gnats and fungus
  • Contains a wide range of organic and mineral substances, which may not benefit cannabis plants

Coco coir vs. soil: Similarities and differences in growing

what is the difference between growing weed in soil and coco

Since deciding between coco vs. soil depends on the needs of the cannabis plants you want to grow. It’s vital to understand the two mediums and their properties. 

Coco coir is lighter than soil, meaning it has more air between the particles. It’s excellent for cannabis plants because more space and air in the medium makes it easier for the roots to spread and grow.

Regarding nutrients, soil is superior as it doesn’t require fertilizer as often as coco coir. Assess the quality when trying to choose the best soil for your cannabis.

Coco holds H2O better than soil and typically offers better drainage. However, the liquid retention properties vary between the different types. If you’re growing cannabis in coco coir, water the plants less often. 

Slow soil drainage causes mineral salt buildup, so flush your soil when the pH levels are off to prevent a nutrient lockout.

Unlike most media, coco coir is naturally anti-fungal, making it ideal for cultivating cannabis seeds for beginners. Some marijuana growers start their plants in this substrate before transferring them to soil.

Similarities between coco coir and soil

  • Both mediums can be used indoors or outdoors
  • You need to fertilize and water both 
  • Coco coir and soil are both eco-friendly options
  • Blend the mediums to give you better control, a lighter medium, and enough space for roots to grow while insulating them from changing temperatures
  • Blend the mediums to give you better control, a lighter medium, and enough space for roots to grow while insulating them from changing temperatures

Differences between coco coir and soil

  • Moisture retention – it’s hard to overwater coco coir, while soil can easily become waterlogged
  • Coco coir requires a nutrient-enriched water solution rather than plain water
  • Soil already has nutrients added, while coco coir is a sterile substrate
  • Coco coir comes in bricks and bags
  • Soil is a dense medium, while coco coir provides more air to the root zone
  • Coco coir is made from coconut husks, while soil consists of organic matter and is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay in different proportions

Coco vs. soil—which is better and what to choose for growing weed?

cannabis in hands

When comparing coco coir vs. soil, there are many aspects to consider. If you’re aiming for high-yielding and faster-growing weed harvests, then coco coir is ideal. Beginners and those that want to experience a more traditional form of gardening may prefer soil. 

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of each, why not start a cannabis crop? Browse through our wide selection at the i49 seed store. 

AUTHORED BY: Douglas Kester Mr. Kester came to i49 with a wealth of experience. He’s worked in the cannabis industry for more than ten years. As a growing expert at i49, Doudlas finds it hard to choose a favorite strain. Instead, he regards each one as unique and full of potential. Douglas finds it rewarding to experiment with specific cultivars and cross-breed to discover a new one. He strongly believes in sharing the benefits of marijuana with as many people as possible to avoid any misconceptions about the herb. Mr. Kester creatively produces information based on what he’s learned and his experience obtained by implementing what he knows. i49 is proud to have Douglas as part of the team.

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