Hydroponics coco coir is now almost as popular as rockwool, peat-based mixes (such as Pro-Mix), and soil. Marijuana growers like how you can cleanse and re-use coco coir, and you can dispose of it outdoors in an environmentally responsible way. They like the fact that coco coir, even when fully saturated, still has porosity room for a large amount of oxygen and aeration. This makes it less likely your marijuana roots suffer from oxygen-deprivation and overwatering effects.
What’s more, properly-processed coco coir retains anti-fungal and anti-pathogen benefits that suppress pythium root rot and other harmful root zone organisms that can wreck your marijuana roots.
Coir also has on-board nutritional properties (such as phosphorus and potassium) that build stronger roots and create a root zone that’s ideal for root growth and function. Coco coir drains well, re-hydrates easily, and it dries out on top, so you have fewer problems with fungus gnats.
Because coir doesn’t hold or store nutrient salts and organic nutrients as much as soil or other root zone media, it helps prevent overfertilization and nutrients lockout that happens when too many fertilizer elements stagnate in your root zone material.
Of course there are important facts to know about coir marijuana growing. In my experience using several brands of coco coir, only one or two brands appear to be manufactured properly. Hydroponics coir is a blend of various types of components derived from coconut’s exterior materials. It seems that only a handful of manufacturers know how to do the blend in a way that works well for marijuana growing. Unless the manufacturer carefully controls coir-sourcing, storage, blending, manufacturing, and shipping process from start to finish, the coir may be toxified, infected with harmful microbes or pests, too light or dense, heavily-salted, or otherwise unsuitable for your marijuana roots.
Your best bet for getting the right coco coir product for you is to contact hydroponics coco coir manufacturers and ask them about their blend of coir components, their manufacturing, processing, and sourcing standards, their product’s drainage, water/oxygen-holding capacities, and how their products will work in the type of gardening you do. And take a look at the coco coir marijuana growing tips later in this article.
Hydroponics Nutrients For Coco Coir: Do They Work For You?
But even when hydroponic coco coir is properly manufactured, the material still has big problems marijuana growers deal with. That’s because coir has natural tendencies to lock up calcium, magnesium, and iron, but at the same time coir has a tendency to oversupply potassium and phosphorus.
Growers using coir, even with reverse osmosis water and coir-specific fertilizers, are often frustrated by coir-related nutrients deficiencies and excesses that create serious problems for their marijuana plants.
Hydroponics nutrients companies have struggled to create coir-specific fertilizers that actually work well. Most major hydroponics companies have released coir-specific fertilizers or “coir-safe” products that marijuana growers are dissatisfied with for reasons relating to the way those products handle magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium in coir.
I got good, new information about coco coir for marijuana at the Spannabis marijuana event in Spain, when I met a top executive from the hydroponics company Advanced Nutrients. Company co-founder Michael Straumietis told me his scientists are putting the finishing touches on coir-specific hydroponics nutrients.
He said his scientists compiled a list of all the problems marijuana growers are having with coir and coir fertilizers, then set out to design a new generation of coco fertilizers that beneficially handle how coco interacts with iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium in marijuana growing.
The company plans on releasing a full menu of coir-specific base nutrients, Straumietis told me. If I remember correctly, he listed these as: Jungle Juice Coco three-part, Jungle Juice Coco two-part, pH Perfect Coco three-part, pH Perfect Sensi Coco Grow and Bloom, and pH Perfect Coco Connoisseur.
Straumietis said he anticipates retail availability of these “new generation” coco coir fertilizers as soon as the company’s process of scientific review, and its quality control and manufacturing sectors, can get the new coco-specific fertilizers to growers. He says this could happen within a few weeks or a few months. I told him to hurry it up because I am currently using Canna Coco fertilizer and Canna Coco Coir and having good enough results. But I’ve also had a few problems with Canna Coco nutrients, and I am always looking for ways to upgrade my hydroponics nutrients and techniques, so I am willing to give his stuff a try when it comes out.
And when I talked to a Canna rep, he acknowledged that many marijuana growers have problems using coco coir, and said I should use a Cal-Mag formula. Which I had already been using, but it really didn’t eliminate the problems I was seeing. In fact, I think Cal-Mag may have overloaded calcium or magnesium, which in turn affected absorption of other nutrients. It didn’t fix anything!
I often grow Sativa strains like Kali Mist that are sensitive to nutrient element irregularities, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Advanced Nutrients or anyone else can do to help those of us who recognize the benefits of coco coir, and I told Straumietis to please get his coir fertilizers to my hydroponics store right away so I can improve my marijuana crops. Now check this out…tips to help you get more from coir:
- Only buy coco coir from companies that can assure you of safe, professional practices in sourcing, washing, storing, treating, and shipping their coir materials.
- Ask hydroponics stores and coir products manufacturers about the specific blends of various coir components, the drainage characteristics, and the usefulness of different brands and types of coir products before you buy.
- Watch your leaves. If they are anything other than super-healthy, lime green, and in great shape, and if your grow room environment and marijuana growing techniques are correct, it’s likely your marijuana plants are experiencing coir-related nutrients problems.
- Ask other growers, and hydroponics retailers, about their experiences with coir fertilizers and coco coir brands. What do they like or not like, and why?
- Pre-wash your coir with pH-adjusted reverse osmosis water before using, and especially be careful to follow any coir manufacturer protocols for pre-treatment and/or pre-washing of coir.
- Periodically during bloom phase use an enzyme product like SensiZym to break down root zone debris, increase nutritional availability, and to prep your coir for re-use.
- Put a layer of coarse perlite or hydroton at the bottom of your coir pots or beds to assist in drainage and oxygenation.
- Consider creating customized coir blends to suit your marijuana growing environment. This means blending coir with perlite, hydroton, and other amendments so you make the coir have the drainage and other properties that are best for your marijuana garden.
- Monitor your nutrients run-off and otherwise ensure that your coir cannabis plants’ root zone is in the 5.5-6.3 pH range.
- Use drip irrigation and closely monitor how wet your coir is.
Coco coir is an environmentally-responsible marijuana root zone material that offers advantages over other materials used in marijuana gardening. However, marijuana growers are aware now that coir and/or inferior coir fertilizers may well be causing problems with potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus elements that affect yield and THC. I personally am waiting to test the new pH Perfect coir products, and will keep you posted. Looking forward to having bigger buds and more fun with coco coir…and less work using it!