Help please! Slow growing plants in coco not drying out

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Oblivi0us

Oblivi0us

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Hi all this is my first time in coco. I’ve done soil successfully many times. Never perfect but never had the look this bad this early. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. Last water was Sunday but they are barely growing especially the one and the coco isn’t drying out much at all. All guides say coco should be watered every day to 2 days with some run off but mine have been like this since transplanting them into 1 gal since sunday and it’s now Saturday 6 days later. Barely let any run out the bottom due to fear of overwatering. Also had the light too close moved it up to 3 ft and don’t see anymore tip burn on new leafs. Or could that be nutrient burn too that I’m seeing?
They are under a 315 cmh hortilux. Temps range from 72-77 degrees consistently and consistent 50-65% humidity.
I am using GH nutes with cal mag and following from a grow guide but they seem to be growing very slowly and the leafs are kind of curling up and seem to be a very light green color.

I use RO water and add my all nutes seperately and then Test and ph my water to 5.5-6 if necesarry. Got the old tri reader out and it says they are still moist in middle . Not sure how accurate the reader is with ph but it says 6.5-7. Which I know past 6.5 in coco isnt ideal. I have included my Nute schedule as well. Any suggestions would be great thanks in advance
 
Smoking Gun

Smoking Gun

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My first instinct would be that your pots are staying too cold and that is causing slow water uptake. I personally find those tri-meters pretty useless, only on rare occasion do they seem to be accurate. Go by the weight if the pot, even if the coco looks wet it may still be dry enough to give the next water. One thing to remember with coco is that not only does it hold a lot of water it also holds a lot of air. This capacity to hold air does allow for more frequent watering.

I was looking st your feed schedule, is that the same schedule you use for plants in soil?
 
Enforcer

Enforcer

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Feed coco at least once a day. That will increase as the plants get bigger. Don’t treat it like soil and worry about overwatering. Even at full saturation coco has enough air to support the roots. Plus, each time you fertigate you are replenishing the coco with fresh, aerated nutrient solution.
 
Oblivi0us

Oblivi0us

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My first instinct would be that your pots are staying too cold.

I was looking st your feed schedule, is that the same schedule you use for plants in soil?
no this is a brand new schedule I’ve never used GH or this guide. And how would I get the pots warmer? Use like a electric warming pad? It stays consistent temp in there. Thank you for your input much appreciated
 
Oblivi0us

Oblivi0us

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Feed coco at least once a day. That will increase as the plants get bigger. Don’t treat it like soil and worry about overwatering. Even at full saturation coco has enough air to support the roots. Plus, each time you fertigate you are replenishing the coco with fresh, aerated nutrient solution.
Awesome I will definitely water more. And I have fabric smart pots in 3 gal was gonna use that for my final size. The general consensus seems to be water it and don’t worry it like soil will definitely do this. Thank you so much everyone for your speedy replies will keep you updated
 
Enforcer

Enforcer

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Awesome I will definitely water more. And I have fabric smart pots in 3 gal was gonna use that for my final size. The general consensus seems to be water it and don’t worry it like soil will definitely do this. Thank you so much everyone for your speedy replies will keep you updated

Happy to help. I grow in coco/perlite and flower in 3 gal fabric pots, veg in 1gal fabric pots. I usually veg around 1.0-1.2EC and feed 3-4 times a day. Flower I feed up to 6x a day. Just enough to get runoff. I’ve never had a problem with overwatering. When I didn’t feed that much per day I would have similar issues as you. In coco, the only real nutrition for the plant is in the feed water. So if you’re not watering, she’s not eating.
 
Oblivi0us

Oblivi0us

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Happy to help. I grow in coco/perlite and flower in 3 gal fabric pots, veg in 1gal fabric pots. I usually veg around 1.0-1.2EC and feed 3-4 times a day. Flower I feed up to 6x a day. Just enough to get runoff. I’ve never had a problem with overwatering. When I didn’t feed that much per day I would have similar issues as you. In coco, the only real nutrition for the plant is in the feed water. So if you’re not watering, she’s not eating.
Wow that’s a lot of feeds lol but makes sense. So I phed my Nute water to a little above 6. Then I tested my my run off water ph and it looked like it was very acidic almost to a low 5. Does that mean I should up the ph more in my water?
 
Oblivi0us

Oblivi0us

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I also lowered my light as suggested. Even though the box says stay 3 ft at all times. I lowered it to a little below 2 ft. Also could someone post what their version of what 10-20% run off looks like after a water?
 
Last edited:
Enforcer

Enforcer

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Wow that’s a lot of feeds lol but makes sense. So I phed my Nute water to a little above 6. Then I tested my my run off water ph and it looked like it was very acidic almost to a low 5. Does that mean I should up the ph more in my water?

I have found a pH of 6.1-6.4 to be the best for me. I don’t recommend you check the runoff pH. It will give you erroneous readings that will have you chasing ghosts. Also, that’s another reason to do multiple daily feedings. As the solution sits in the medium, it becomes more acidic. The more you replenish the solution in the medium, the more consistent you keep the medium pH and EC.
 
Enforcer

Enforcer

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I also lowered my light as suggested. Even though the box says stay 3 ft at all times. I lowered it to a little below 2 ft. Also could someone post what their version of what 10-20% run off looks like after a water?

As the plants get bigger they can handle more light. If you’re running an LED I wouldn’t get closer that that though. As for runoff. I run the drippers until it starts to drip from the bottom of the fabric pot. I call it good there. I don’t shoot for any specific amount. Just get some runoff.
 
Dirtbag

Dirtbag

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When I did coco I did things a bit differently. Before transplanting I'd wet the coco with a very mild nutrient solution about 0.6-0.7 ec and ph 5.7-5.8.
After transplant for the first week I wouldnt water them at all until they felt lightweight. That period of dryback makes the roots grow out looking for food and water.

After about a week when I saw roots poking out the bottom is when I started feeding every other day, and by 2 weeks in veg it was daily. Pretty much exactly how I'm doing things in rockwool now.

A small root system wont grow out very fast into a fully saturated medium. For that first week I like to keep things on the slightly drier side until my roots are established.

But I only did a few grows in coco so I'm no expert. YMMV.
 
Enforcer

Enforcer

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When I did coco I did things a bit differently. Before transplanting I'd wet the coco with a very mild nutrient solution about 0.6-0.7 ec and ph 5.7-5.8.
After transplant for the first week I wouldnt water them at all until they felt lightweight. That period of dryback makes the roots grow out looking for food and water.

After about a week when I saw roots poking out the bottom is when I started feeding every other day, and by 2 weeks in veg it was daily. Pretty much exactly how I'm doing things in rockwool now.

A small root system wont grow out very fast into a fully saturated medium. For that first week I like to keep things on the slightly drier side until my roots are established.

But I only did a few grows in coco so I'm no expert. YMMV.

I agree you can get away with not watering as much for the first week. And if that works for people, awesome. However, I do disagree about the roots not growing well in saturated coco. I put my current grow on the drippers for 3x a day, in 1gal fabric pots of coco/perlite as soon as the germinated seeds broke the surface. I had happy healthy plants with roots poking out everywhere by day 30. Roots will not grow well in saturated soil. They will grow just fine in saturated coco. Especially if they are properly fertigated.
 
Oblivi0us

Oblivi0us

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Ok thanks so much. Yeah my run off 20% in my mind was probably over watering them as I was getting more than just a few drops. More like a few small puddles 🤦‍♂️. I will try to water a little less when I see the top layer get dry.
 
Dirtbag

Dirtbag

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I agree you can get away with not watering as much for the first week. And if that works for people, awesome. However, I do disagree about the roots not growing well in saturated coco. I put my current grow on the drippers for 3x a day, in 1gal fabric pots of coco/perlite as soon as the germinated seeds broke the surface. I had happy healthy plants with roots poking out everywhere by day 30. Roots will not grow well in saturated soil. They will grow just fine in saturated coco. Especially if they are properly fertigated.

Roots dont grow out well into saturated rockwool either. You can really stall your plants transplanting into a saturated block.
But I realize coco is totally different since it holds a lot more air than rockwool does. I dont doubt what you're saying at all. Like I said I only did a few runs in coco.
 
Enforcer

Enforcer

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Roots dont grow out well into saturated rockwool either. You can really stall your plants transplanting into a saturated block.
But I realize coco is totally different since it holds a lot more air than rockwool does. I dont doubt what you're saying at all. Like I said I only did a few runs in coco.

And I’ve never grown in rockwool so I have no basis for comparison. But I’ve tried several ways of starting seeds in coco and putting them on the drippers right away has worked the best. I know I’m watering medium that doesn’t have any roots yet. But the consistent cyclical watering keeps the coco in the “optimal” range and the roots just grow right through it. Since coco has enough oxygen even at full saturation, you can water as many times as you want. The trick is to balance the growth of the plant with the amount of water. As the plant grows, it will dry out the coco faster, requiring more frequent fertigation for longer durations at each event. This is the point where an auto watering setup is worth the time and money to put one together.
 
Enforcer

Enforcer

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To illustrate my point. These are my current run. The first picture is October 15th. They just broke the coco and I started 3x a day fertigations. The second picture is just now, day 39. I up potted from the 1gal to the 3gal fabric pots on November 16th. They have been fertigated 3 x a day, everyday so far. I have only had to increase the time for each event. Especially after up potting. The space they are in measures 4’x4’. I am flipping them soon.
 
Aqua Man

Aqua Man

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Nothing to add bit this useless statement.

I'm a hydro grower and I know coco should not be compared to soil and is often referred to as hydro. I can say from observation on the forum that I feel it should not be compared to hydro either. There are just to many differences that I my self confuse and give info that may not be the best but makes sense to me when applying hydro processes that I feel I have a very strong grasp on.

Short version I feel coco is not even close to hydro... Or dirt for that matter.

It's awesome reading different experiences of knowledgeable growers in the same media and provides me some great learning experiences. After all it's the ability to apply knowledge to different scenarios that makes a good grower since there is no one fix for any problem in my view.
 
Enforcer

Enforcer

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Nothing to add bit this useless statement.

I'm a hydro grower and I know coco should not be compared to soil and is often referred to as hydro. I can say from observation on the forum that I feel it should not be compared to hydro either. There are just to many differences that I my self confuse and give info that may not be the best but makes sense to me when applying hydro processes that I feel I have a very strong grasp on.

Short version I feel coco is not even close to hydro... Or dirt for that matter.

It's awesome reading different experiences of knowledgeable growers in the same media and provides me some great learning experiences. After all it's the ability to apply knowledge to different scenarios that makes a good grower since there is no one fix for any problem in my view.

Exactly man. I think people go straight to hydro with coco due to the cyclical fertigation strategy that allows for the explosive growth. Because you use a lot of water with a DTW coco setup. But soil, hydro, and coco have different approaches with regard to technique that will trip people up if they are not aware of them.
 

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