We’ve compiled all the essential information on cultivating cannabis in coco coir for the beginner grower into one definitive blog. We break down everything you need to know about coco coir cannabis growing to prepare you for your own future coco coir marijuana grow.
Growing marijuana in coco coir is a fantastic alternative cultivation style. For beginner growers and those more practised in typical hydroponics or soil substrates alike, coco coir cultivation is easy to learn. By the end of this blog, you will be fully prepped for a coco coir cannabis cultivation experiment.
WHAT IS COCO COIR?
Coco coir is the recycled and processed natural fibre from the husk of coconuts, grown mostly in India and Sri Lanka. What was once regarded as waste material, in contrast today constitutes a magnificent growing medium for cannabis plants both indoors and outdoors. With a pH of typically between 6.5-7.0, coco coir is comparable to unfertilised soil. Coco coir is available from most grow shops in 50l sacks. It’s sold just like soil. But usually more readily available in tightly compressed coco bricks.
HOW TO GROW MARIJUANA IN COCO COIR
In the last few years, most soil growers have begun blending coco coir into their own homemade super soils. Even the manufacturers of most common grow shop soils recommend buffering the substrate with coco coir these days. Coco coir drains better and keeps the roots oxygenated more than standard peat-based mediums. So you already have experience cropping in soil. Why not dabble with a soil and coco coir mix before making the switch?
Most coco coir growers like to add approximately 30% perlite to the mix for best results. Although a lot of growers are also mixing clay pebbles in at a similar ratio. With equally great results. So much so, that premixed blends of coco coir and clay pebbles can be found in some online grow stores.
If you have coco coir in brick form, make sure to purchase a high-quality brand. Every brick will be relatively uniform. When you add 4-5l of water and leave it to soak for about 30 minutes, a consistent 9-10l of medium will be produced from each brick. Simply add perlite and mix by hand in a good-sized bucket.
Low-grade coco coir bricks can sometimes be overdried. Occassionaly they can have odd sizes. Worse, some can be really tough to break down into usable growing medium. No matter how much water you add, bunk bricks won’t crumble easily.
Jiffy pellets are made from coco coir. Jiffys have been popular rooting mediums with growers for decades. Cuttings and seedlings once rooted can be transplanted into virtually any other substrate. Alternatively, you can use 1l starter pots filled with coco coir mixed with 30-50% perlite and transplant to larger containers of your preferred substrate later.
HOW TO FEED CANNABIS CULTIVATED IN COCO COIR
Watering and feeding cannabis plants cultivated in coco coir is a relatively simple transition for hydroponics growers and organic growers. Generally, hydroponic fertilisers perform better than most brands’ organic soil nutrients in coco coir. Specifically, coco specific nutrient ranges are worthy of consideration.
Coco coir is more forgiving than most hydroponic mediums, but not quite as an effective buffer as soil. That being said, you absolutely can hand-water cannabis plants in coco coir as one would soil cultivated marijuana. Moreover, the grower can assess when to water by picking the pots up. Light and dry just as is the case with soil. That’s your cue to water.
Coco coir unlike most soils for cannabis cultivation is unfertilsed. This is where hydro growers get to transfer their skill set. A light nutrient solution must be applied just like in a hydro crop from the beginning. The pH of your water will have to be adjusted to ensure you stay at the sweet spot for coco coir, namely a pH value of 6.0. In order to accurately keep the pH and nutrient solution dialled in, you have two options.
The simple option is to purchase high quality nutrients with pH perfect blends. Alternatively you can use standard hydro equipment. A pH meter and bottles of pH-Up and pH-Down will do the job. So you can either let the wonder nutrients work their magic or dial in the old fashioned way.
Without coco specific nutrients you will pretty soon discover, that coco coir doesn’t retain calcium very readily. Dialling in the nutrient solution can be tricky for beginners. More so with a mix and match of hydro nutrients and supplements. Iron is another missing micronutrient in coco coir that growers experience deficiencies with and often never resolve, thus reducing the final harvest. Start with the coco specific nutrients and you won’t have to troubleshoot later. Especially if you are a first-time grower.
ADVANTAGES OF COCO COIR
LESS STRESS MORE SUCCESS
Cultivating cannabis in coco coir is pretty uncomplicated and just like any other grow op; once you have your system dialled in, it’s plain sailing. ‘Nuff said.
Being oxygen-rich and an excellently water-retaining medium makes coco coir a really great habitat for cannabis plants’ roots. In addition, coco coir retains phosphorus very well and combined with the aforementioned attributes roots will positively thrive.
100% ECOFRIENDLY AND REUSEABLE
Coco coir is a natural product and a totally reusable. In fact, by growing ganja with coco coir you are recycling and putting to good use what would have been wasted coconut husk left to rot and pile up like trash.
LIGHT WEIGHT AND COVERT
If you want to keep your growing activities stealthy and delivery costs to a minimum, coco bricks are an elegant solution. A couple of 6 packs of coco coir bricks is feather light in comparison to lugging two 50l bags of soil home from the grow store. Also, should you choose to have coco bricks delivered, they will incur far lower delivery charges and less attention than heavy sacks of soil. Perlite to mix with the coco coir can be discreetly sourced from the local garden centre.
LESS VULNERABLE TO INSECTS AND PLAGUES
Root rot and nasty root invading fungi and insects are far less likely to plague the coco coir grower. Coco coir is nice and sterile and so well aerated, the roots develop almost as quickly as in advanced hydroponic setups.
DISADVANTAGES OF COCO COIR
The only real disadvantage of coco coir is if you happen to mistakenly buy a low-quality brick, that may have been incorrectly processed or somehow contaminated. This is rare and if you stick with reputable high-quality coco coir brands you won’t have to worry about this kind of problem. It really comes down to grower preference which way to cultivate cannabis. If you ask us, you really can’t go wrong with coco coir.