Interested in growing cannabis with coco coir? A lot of cannabis growers have started adding coco coir to their garden, but there isn’t a lot of information about exactly how to use coco coir for cannabis. It can be confusing since coco coir usually comes in dehydrated bricks with no instructions.
Coco coir is made of fibrous coconut husks. These husks have proven to create a great growing medium for cannabis. Recently coco coir has started replacing peat moss in popular potting mixes. Coco coir is a versatile growing medium that has benefits for many different types of growers. Coco coir can be used by itself as a growing medium, or it can be mixed with soil to help fix compaction and loosen the soil. One of the most suitable ways to use coco coir for cannabis (in my opinion) is to mix pure coco coir with about 30% of an airy amendment like perlite, and provide nutrients through the water. This creates an amazing environment for cannabis roots to thrive.
Compared to growing in soil, you will get bigger plants from smaller pots if you switch to coco coir. This soilless mix can be treated like soil in many ways, but it’s really a semi-hydro technique that gives the roots better access to air and nutrients for faster growth. Better root development always leads to bigger, healthier, more productive plants.
Coco coir usually comes in dry bricks, so the bricks have to be re-hydrated before you can grow plants in the coir (explained below, it’s actually really easy). However, if you don’t mind spending a little bit more, there are premade mixes with coco coir that are formulated specifically for plants like cannabis.
Why Use Coco Coir for Growing Cannabis?
- Coco coir is a soilless growing medium which gives the experience of growing in soil. Plants are kept in regular pots, and growers simply water their plants with nutrient water. Coco coir can be treated basically the same as soil for growing cannabis.
- Great for Plant Roots – Coco coir is effective at holding onto moisture and nutrients for roots, but also has a lighter texture that lets it hold onto more oxygen. This helps prevent over and underwatering. Coco coir tends to promote healthy and fast root development compared to other potting mixes.
- Unlike peat, coco coir is sustainable for the environment. It also doesn’t have to be replaced every grow. Instead of breaking down like peat, coco coir is slow to break down and can be used more than once.
- Coco coir does not make a good home for many garden pests that affect soil growers. Cannabis growing in coco coir are much less likely to be attacked by pests or bugs.
- Hydro is effective at making plants grow faster because it provides exactly the right amount of nutrients to the roots, in the most easily accessible form. Plant roots don’t have to go out and search for nutrients, saving the plant precious energy. But growing directly in water can be complicated. Coco coir gives many of the benefits of hydro with a soil experience. This results in a quicker harvest and bigger yields for you as the grower, without having to manage a water reservoir.
- Because coco coir drains really well, it’s almost impossible to overwater your plants under normal conditions. Even saturated, coco coir retains about a 70:30 moisture to aeration ratio so that the roots never sit in stale, anaerobic water. As long as you never let the coco dry out completely, you’ll get good results whether you hand water to runoff every few days, or use a drip system to deliver smaller amounts of fresh water and nutrients every few hours.
- Coco coir is fairly inert and doesn’t hold onto nutrients for long. If you have a deficiency, you can correct by supplementing during the next watering cycle, and the coco coir will make those nutrients immediately available to your plant’s hungry roots. On the other hand, if you overfeed, a quick and thorough flush will remove practically every trace of nutrients from the coco so that you can start over.
- Not only does coco coir reduce waste at its source, it reduces waste for the grower. After harvest, give your coco a quick flush and it’ll be ready to go back in the pot and nourish a new plant. If you’d prefer fresh coco coir for each cannabis grow, mix the old coco into your outdoor garden to improve the quality of the soil. There’s never a good reason to throw coco coir in the bin.
- The best reason to switch to coco coir is that you’ll get much bigger yields than if you were growing in soil. The overall harvest may not be quite as big as going full hydro, but they’re pretty close, and coco is much easier to deal with. It’s a great compromise that will make your plants grow faster, get bigger and yield up to 25% more. It also makes coir a great stepping stone to hydro if you eventually want to give it a go.
Eco-friendly, versatile, easy and more productive? With those benefits, we can’t think of a single reason not to use coco coir. Available in pellets, bricks, sheets and ready-to-use bags, coco coir can be found almost anywhere you can purchase potting soil, and in a pinch, you can even find it in the reptile section of your local pet store.