Coco Coir for Cannabis: Visual Step-by-Step Guide
Are you struggling to select an effective medium for your next gardening project? Try a coco grow. It provides the experience of traditional cultivation and the perks of soilless setups.
Coco coir is getting increasingly popular, but there’s still a scarcity of information about it online. We’re about to change that with a complete guide on this versatile and productive medium.
What is coco coir?
Coco for cannabis is a growing medium made of ground-up coconut husks. As a byproduct of the Cocos nucifera production industry, it’s an environmentally-friendly solution and part of many potting mixes.
You can add coco to your soil for better root development and aeration. An alternative is to use it in isolation and provide nutrients through water.
The latter technique is less common than classic soil and hydro approaches but can produce thriving marijuana plants.
Reasons to use coco coir for growing cannabis
Growing cannabis in soil is the go-to for most cultivators. Why should you consider dropping tradition and turning to this option?
Growing in coco coir appears superior to soil in the fields of:
- Water retention: Coco is fibrous and absorbs moisture well. Plenty of water reaches crops and promotes development.
- Root aeration: Besides moisture, the medium needs to contain adequate oxygen. Coco isn’t densely-packed like soil, leaving plenty of room for air pockets.
- Drainage: The loose nature of coco soil also allows water to pass through, reducing the risk of root rot.
- pH maintenance: Coco typically offers pH levels of 5.6–6.2. Since weed flourishes at around 5.0–7.0, maintaining the right acidity becomes effortless.
- Pest resistance: Coco doesn’t create a friendly environment for marijuana pests, so the risk of infestation is much lower.
- Beneficial microorganisms: Coco coir houses beneficial microorganisms like rhizobacteria. They help break down organic matter and feed the root system.
Why isn’t everybody producing coco weed? This medium comes with two minor drawbacks.
Does coco coir have any cons?
Coco growers treat their medium to deal with the downsides before planting their crops. They typically encounter the following two issues:
- Nutrient availability: Coco coir contains some phosphorus and potassium, but not enough to meet budding plants’ needs. Feeding from day one is a must.
- Salt contents: High amounts of sodium and potassium make coco coir unwelcoming to roots. Treating it with CalMag washes away salt and prevents nutrient lockout.
Types of coco coir
Want to use coco for growing? The first step is to purchase it. Gardening stores and online retailers stock this medium in several forms, each with a unique set of benefits and drawbacks.
- Coco coir pith is a spongy substance similar to peat moss. It has excellent absorption properties but doesn’t drain well. Cultivators usually combine it with perlite.
- Coco coir fiber is a stringy substance with excellent aeration rates. While it drains well, it isn’t quite absorbent. Growers might mix it with peat moss.
- Coco coir chips are large chunks from the coconut husk. They rank high in water absorption and drainage, but their size makes them tricky to fit in pots.
Most cultivators opt for coco coir mixes. These blends consist of two to three coco types or one with soil or perlite. Many stores sell ready-made mixes to get you started; advanced ganja gardeners may make their own to suit specific strains.
Bagged vs. brick coco coir
Coco coir for cannabis arrives in either compressed bricks or loose bags. The choice depends on your budget, available time, and willingness to perform extra steps before sowing.
Coco coir bricks are usually more affordable but require rehydration before germination. This process is straightforward and consists of the following steps:
- Line a bucket with fabric and place your brick inside.
- Fill the bucket with water and let it sit for ten minutes.
- Use your hands to break apart hard chunks.
- Pull out the fabric and drain the water.
- If adding perlite, mix it in by hand.
- Fill pots and leave them in a breezy spot for a day.
Once rehydrated, flush excess salt from your coco coir and buffer it to supply beneficial nutrients.
If you don’t mind spending more for convenience, loose coco coir is a pre-made mix formulated for marijuana. It’s available for use right out of the bag.
How to grow cannabis in coco coir step-by-step
Growing cannabis in coco coir is similar to using any other setup. Temperature, humidity, disease susceptibilities, and training preferences remain strain-specific. You should pay extra attention to watering and feeding, though.
Let’s break down the process of coco cultivation into five steps:
- Step 1: Place your coco coir brick in a large container.
- Step 2: Add approximately 4 quarts of water to rehydrate your coconut brick.
- Step 3: Prepare your medium by flushing, and buffering it with beneficial elements, for example, perlite.
- Step 4: Check the pH values and sow your seeds. Learn how to germinate cannabis seeds correctly to prevent duds and ensure healthy roots from the start. This process takes several days, coinciding with potting soil preparation.
- Step 5: The subsequent life phases can partially happen in the original pot. The cannabis seedling stage requires two waterings a day. Up the CalMag when you see vegging plants with leaves. While watering in these early stages, look for 20% runoff.
- Step 6: Transplant to a new pot when the plant has at least three nodes. Each watering should have 10–30% runoff. Start training your crop when it’s about half of your desired size. Flip the lights to trigger flowering after 60 days if growing indoors.
- Step 7: Harvest your coco coir cannabis when about 70% of the trichomes are amber, and the pistils darken and curl inward.
Coco coir growing tips
Let’s end with some specific tips for growing in coco.
Proper watering is essential with this medium, especially if you’re growing weed from outdoor cannabis seeds. Hot areas with high airflow require frequent showers, but overwatering reduces aeration. How much should you water?
As a rule of thumb, squeeze a pinch of coco in your hand after each watering. If it drips, let the pot dry before providing more. If your fingers don’t get moist, supply additional hydration.
Growers working with indoor cannabis seeds should get ready for size challenges. When other factors are optimal, coco crops get taller than their soil counterparts and require low-stress training. They might also need more spacious containers.
Speaking of size, transplanting cannabis is unavoidable with coco. The roots stretch quickly, so you might have to switch pots two times during vegging.
Nutrients may intimidate newbies growing with coco coir. Soil already contains some minerals, but this medium is a blank slate. Start feeding immediately and regularly inspect your plants for symptoms of a nutrient lockout or deficiency.
Finally, investigate each crop to determine when to harvest cannabis. Yields are often higher in coco, and the numerous bud sites need time to mature.
FAQs about coco coir
Are you looking for some more insight? Let’s finish with a few common community questions about coco for weed.
How to sterilize coco coir?
Growing weed in coco means you can reuse your medium. If you do, sterilize it between seasons to remove any pathogens that might’ve gathered. The easiest way is to place coco coir in an oven at 180°F for 30 minutes. This process kills eggs, larvae, and fungi.
Can pests live in coco coir?
Coco coir is hostile to most pests, except for fungus gnats. Treat your medium with insect-parasitic nematodes to fight these bugs before sowing. Watch your crops for signs of trouble, and always sterilize between seasons to remove any larvae.
How to reuse coco coir?
Cannabis coco coir is sturdy enough for two or three growing seasons. Follow these steps to reuse your medium:
- Break up the coir and remove any lingering roots.
- Wash and sterilize to remove excess nutrients and larvae.
- Buffer with new nutrients.
- Let it dry for a day before filling clean pots.
Coco coir vs. soil for cannabis: Which is better?
When comparing these two substrates, we can’t say that one is necessarily better than the other. Both bring unique advantages and disadvantages to your cultivation journey.
Coco coir has superior drainage and promotes better root development, while soil makes nutrient management easier.
Go loco for coco
Growing cannabis in coco is perfect for cultivators with experience in nutrient management. Fewer bugs, better aeration, and faster growth await once you replace your soil with this alternative.
Now that you have the theory, why not put it to practice? Head over to our shop to buy outdoor seeds and see coco coir work its magic in your garden.