Canna Coco Professional Plus
WHY CHOOSE CANNA COCO PROFESSIONAL PLUS?
- Highest quality of coir currently on the market
- Easy to use.
- Easily transportable 50L bag
- Pre-washed and buffered – Twice!
- Naturally occurring beneficial fungi
- Carries RHP horticultural stamp
- The original brand of coco coir
Growing in coco has steadily become the most popular method of hydroponic growing throughout the UK. With the exceptional physical characteristics Coco coir has, it almost makes it a no-brainer as the ‘go-to’ choice of media. In terms of consistency, quality and performance, it really doesn’t get much better than Canna. With production and manufacturing processes that far out-strip any of their rivals, Canna have successfully held the coir crown since it all began.
Canna Coco Professional plus is arguably the finest coir product currently available on the market. Growing with coco coir has quickly become commonplace throughout the hydroponic market, likely due to the exceptional physical properties that the coir possesses, it is now the single most popular type of media on the market. Whilst feeling (and looking) very much like traditional peat based potting mixes, coco coir has significant differences to peat that offer the gardener a wealth of advantages.
Whether you are hand watering or using drip irrigation or flood and drain systems, Canna Coco Professional Plus makes the ideal choice for your substrate. Although it does contain ‘background’ nutrients, particularly from the calcium buffering process, for all intents and purposes it is an inert substrate. This means you get all the control over the nutrient inputs as you would in a more typical hydroponic media like rockwool, but retain the benefits associated with it being an entirely natural product.
WHAT IT IS
Coir is the outer husk of a coconut shell refined and processed for agricultural use. Not the bits you see in the supermarket, that is just the nut. It is the larger fibrous casing of this nut that is removed a long time before it hits the supermarket shelf. Coconuts are used for all sorts of products, not just for eating! Face cream, beauty products, industrial oils and all manner of things are created from the humble nut.
Agricultural coir starts its life as the waste product from the textile industry. After most of the fibre from the husk has been used to make ropes, carpets, brushes or other products, the waste fibres are then processed to a point where they are perfectly suitable for cultivation. This is a very long process to be done correctly. You can’t just sweep it all up and stick it in a plant pot! The quality control over the entire production process is critical to achieving a high quality growing media, something that Canna do very well.
Always make sure you choose a brand of coco that you can trust. While almost every type of coco looks the same, the physical properties that they each contain can be vastly different. These differences all come down to how it is treated throughout the different stages of its production process.
AGING THE COIR
Firstly, correctly soaking and selecting correctly aged fibres so they have the perfect texture and Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). This not only ensures that the once hard and brittle fibres are now more soft and pliable (much more suitable for root growth) but also that the fibres have the optimal CEC. Too young and the fibres will have a very high CEC and will interfere with nutrient exchange, too low a CEC and the nutrients will not correctly exchange as they would usually be expected to.
WASH OUT THE SALTS
Secondly, the washing process to rid the fibres of excess salts (such as potassium or sodium). Most coco is sourced from Indonesia and grows around coastlines where the whole environment is particularly salty. Simply from growing in this environment there is a lot of residual sodium that needs not be gotten rid of.
BUFFER FOR CALCIUM
The buffering process then ensures there is no interference with Calcium exchange when you begin to use your nutrient with it. By its very nature, coco wants to absorb calcium and it will naturally exchange the calcium it takes with potassium. Before it is used the coco needs to be pre-charged with high amounts of calcium to make sure that this effect does not interfere with correct nutrient uptake.
ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH!
The washing and buffering process is performed twice to provide you with a coir that has the lowest EC level and highest calcium buffering capacity you can find on the market. The RHP stamp demands that the media must have an EC of less than 0.6. Canna far exceeds this requirement with a bag typically having an EC of less than 0.1. Being twice buffered for calcium also means that the Calcium to potassium ratios are typically three times better than that of their market competitors.
STERILE, YET ACTIVE!
The sterilisation process (ensuring the media is free from pests and diseases) is a crucial aspect to obtain the RHP stamp. Canna achieves this in a different way to most Coir producers. Most producers take the quick and easy option of steaming their coir to rid it of any life. This also kills off a crucial beneficial fungus the coir possesses: Trichoderma. By ensuring the entire production process is sterile throughout, the RHP stamp can be achieved as well as a high quality and biologically active media – something that takes a lot of time and effort.
HOW COCO WORKS
Growing with coco coir provides the ideal anchor for which your plants can grow on. Having a much higher air content and higher water holding capacity than peat mixes, coir offers a much greater buffer on which your plants can thrive. Having a higher capacity for oxygen means a much more efficient root system, and the ideal environment for introducing beneficial bacteria.
Although it does have a useable Cation Exchange Capacity, it does not have the sort of long term storage capabilities for nutrients the way that peat does. So, unlike peat, it is more akin to an inert substrate, meaning that it is not preloaded with nutrients. This means you are in control of how your plants feed and allows you to tailor your nutrient solution to match the exact requirements of the plant, throughout its life cycle.
Coco coir sits nicely between the two methods of traditional peat based growing and hydroponic growing. It gives you the control and efficiency that you can usually associate with growing hydroponically and at the same time can be quite forgiving in the way peat mixes can. It makes a very good entry to growing hydroponically, and often becomes the sole choice of many a grower.
HOW TO USE
As with any fibrous substrate that you buy in a bag, make sure you fluff it up when you are filling up your pots. During transport on pallets, the coco coir can become slightly compacted, which is not something that you want for your roots! Break it apart with your hands as you fill your pots so it becomes light and airy once again. Do not be tempted to press and compact the coco down again after you have filled the pots. When you are potting up, gently tap and knock the pots so the coco settles correctly, rather than compacting it and ruining its structure.
Canna Coco Pofessional Plus is ideal to be used in pots as a standalone media whether you are hand-watering or using hydroponic methods such as drip-irrigation. It is most suitable to be used in a run-to-waste environment, getting rid of any excess/waste nutrient or water after each irrigation. This ensures that any waste elements from the CEC process during each watering are expelled, and do not build up to interfere with the nutrient management.
However, with regular tank changes to mitigate against any build up in unwanted elements, coir can still be used very successfully in a re-circulating system. Usually a coir mix will be used in these cases. The typical difference you will notice in systems that are flooded or that remain constantly in water (such as AutoPots), is that it may be advantageous to amend the coir with perlite or clay pebbles, to avoid encountering any problems with over-watering, particularly for younger plants.
AMENDING CANNA COCO PRO PLUS
A lot of modern hydroponic growers like to amend their media to enhance its performance. Amendments based on beneficial bacteria are entirely suitable for Coir, its natural fibres make a great housing for micro populations. When it comes to amending with nutrients it can be a bit different. Coco does not have the storage properties like that of peat; it does not hold onto nutrients the way its soil cousin does. Also, you need to bear in mind the exchange that happens inside the coir, particularly with calcium, and make sure what you are adding does not create a conflict.
COIR AS AN AMENDMENT
Canna Coco Professional Plus is ideal to use as an amendment to improve the structure of an outdoor soil bed. However, try not to exceed 20-30% of coir as part the total volume as the coir’s cation exchange capacity can become dominant and you may need to begin using more coir specific nutrients to counter balance this. Particularly with areas where the soil is very clay based, the addition of Canna Coco Pro Plus make transform a compacted soil into a fantastically well aerated one.
HOW TO FEED
Canna Coco Professional Plus contains (almost) no nutrient, so you will need to use fertiliser with every watering right from the beginning. Do not be tempted to ‘flush’ Canna Coco Pro Plus before planting into it. This is unnecessary and will compromise the calcium buffering levels. Always refer to the grow guide for dilution rates, but more importantly, respond to your plants needs as it is growing. How often to irrigate will depend on how quickly it is drinking the water. As a general guideline, once the pot weight has reduced by 50% after irrigating, it is time to water again.
Always make sure that you use the correct type of nutrients when you are using Canna Coco Professional Plus. Once again this is down to the CEC capacity of the coco, specifically with calcium and potassium. Make sure you use a specific coco nutrient, ideally Canna Coco A&B. Canna Coco A&B has been specifically formulated to work in harmony with the coir, to make sure you get the best results possible, every time.
Canna Coco A&B have been designed to work with Canna Coco Pro Plus so that no separate grow and boom versions are needed. This is achieved through making use of the Calcium buffering process inherent in the coco. Coco A&B has higher levels of calcium in than regular nutrients. As you increase the EC into the flowering period, the elevated levels of calcium exchange themselves for potassium within the solution surrounding the coco fibres. So essentially you create your own flowering nutrient ‘inside’ the coco itself.
TIPS ON USING CANNA COCO PROFESSIONAL PLUS
Always ensure you choose to use the media alongside a high-quality Coir specific nutrient for optimal performance. Canna Coco A&B has been specifically designed for use with Canna Coco, along the entire additive range.
Never compact the coir too much when you are potting up your plants. Try to shake and tap the pots to make sure the coir settles out and levels properly. Compacting the media will reduce the overall availability of oxygen, and result in less than optimal growth.
When potting up, dust the roots of the young plant with a healthy dose of mycorrhizal fungi. Inoculating with Trichoderma fungi is not necessary as it is already naturally present within the coco fibres themselves.
Weigh your pots between irrigations to ensure that you are watering them at the correct times. Overwatering your plants can be more damaging than underwatering.
To measure the EC of your Coco, it is ideal to perform a 1:1.5 extraction rather than just checking the run-off. While the run-off is a good indicator, sometimes you can get misleading results. When in doubt follow the instructions on Canna's website to find the exact contents of your substrate.