We understand how difficult it can be to know what specific products are well suited for cannabis cultivation. We offer this guide to help you understand what grow equipment you need and what specific products will work best for growing marijuana.
The majority of these are the actual products that we chose to purchase and use ourselves. In a few cases, we recommend products that we would buy if we needed them. We do not accept advertising and will not recommend any product that we would not buy for ourselves.
We give priority to your interests and try to find the best values. There are some places where you need to spend money, but we also know where you can save. Our goal is to recommend products that will work properly and are cost effective.
Fertilizers & Supplements
Base nutrients are the foundation of plant nutrition. You want stable nutrients that are well balanced and do not require regular flushing. There are several good nutrient lines, but always check their recommended feeding schedules. Avoid lines that call for high EC and/or regular flushing. We use and recommend the General Hydroponics Flora Trio. They are good well balanced nutrients that are perfectly suited to growing cannabis in coco.
This is an absolute requirement for both buffering coco and mixing with nutrient solutions. You should use the Cal/Mag supplement from the same nutrient supplier as your base nutrients. If your nutrient supplier does not offer a Cal/Mag supplement then they are not expecting their products to be used in coco.
Silicon offers significant benefits to cannabis plants. It is not included in base nutrients and it is not present naturally in coco. We highly recommend using a Silicon Supplement. It is unlikely to create adverse reactions with other nutrients, so you do not need to get it from the same supplier as your Base Nutrients. It will significantly raise the pH of your nutrient solution. Be careful when handling as it is very alkaline.
During the flowering stage, cannabis plants benefit from much higher levels of potassium (K) and phosphorous (P) and lower levels of nitrogen (N). The Base Nutrients on their own cannot create solutions with high enough ratios of P and K to N. Bloom Boosters work with the base nutrients and raise the levels of P and K. Use of Bloom Boosters encourages flowering, promotes the production of essential oils, and improves yield and quality.
Humic acids are soluble components of soil organic matter, which play an important role in plant nutrition. They have been shown to significantly improve nutrient absorption during fertigation. Coco does not provide any soluble organic matter. To get the benefits, humic acid must be added as a supplement.
SM-90 is a wonderful product! Its primary role is as a surficant or “wetting agent”. Wetting agents reduce the surface tension of the water. In coco, this is important to promote the lateral movement of water in the media.
SM-90 also promotes root development, inhibits root disease, increases the rate of transpiration, and can be used as a foliar spray to fight white powdery mildew, aphids, and spider mites. I highly recommend that you add it to all nutrient solutions.
SM-90 is not available everywhere and is not currently available on Amazon. Your best bet would be to visit your local hydroponics supply store.
Flushing agents dramatically reduce the amount of water needed to flush. They can also help break nutrient lock out with a simple rinse instead of a full flush. When you run into nutrient problems during the grow, a flushing agent will make the solution quicker and easier for you and the plants.
This is an absolute necessity! You need to have a way to adjust the pH of your nutrient solution. Regardless of the nutrient supplier that you use, we recommend that you use the General Hydroponics products “pH Up” and “pH Down”. They allow significant pH adjustment with very low doses and have minor impact on the EC of the nutrient solution.
The General Hydroponics pH Control Kit comes with both pH adjustment products and also a color test kit for measuring pH. This is all you need to start managing the pH of your nutrient solution. We recommend using a pH meter (see below) instead of the color test but having the color test is great for periodic verification.
Measuring Electrical Conductivity (EC) is absolutely critical to managing your fertigation strategy and nutrient solution strength. The technology involved in measuring EC is rather simple which means that you do not need to invest in an expensive meter.
This is the meter that I (Dr. Coco) use and I have verified its accuracy against other meters. I like it because it measures EC in microsiemens (values in the hundreds and thousands). It also displays PPM with the PPM500 conversion.
Measuring pH is more sensitive than measuring EC. The technology involved is more sophisticated, so plan to invest a little more in your pH meter than your EC meter. You can get an inexpensive EC meter, but should avoid inexpensive pH meters, which are unreliable and short-lived. While you should avoid the least expensive models, you don’t have to buy the most expensive unit either. We use and recommend this Apera Instruments pH meter. It is easy to use, reliable and accurate. It also comes with small jars of calibration fluid, rather than powder.
All pH meters require maintenance and calibration. Many meters come with powder to mix and use to calibrate the meter. These powders are useless unless you have laboratory grade instruments to measure the amount of water to dissolve them into. It is far better to purchase calibration fluid that is premixed at an actual laboratory.
I (Dr. Coco) honestly believe that there is no better way to measure and mix nutrients than with using small oral syringes. I assign one syringe to each nutrient product and I Velcro the syringes directly to the bottles. These syringes measure in milliliters and teaspoons and it is easy to measure fractions of a milliliter. This set comes with 15 syringes and is a must buy.
PAR meters are able to be used for any light source technology, which may be useful if you have a monochromatic light such as red and blue LED fixtures (blurple) which LUX meters do not reliably work with. PAR meters can be used to assess how high your light source should be from your plants.
I (Dr. Coco) use this propagation kit to grow my sprouts and seedlings. It includes a light and 7” dome which is perfect for the earliest stages of growth. The dome maintains high relative humidity and I can set it up almost anywhere in the house. I keep plants in the dome until they are well established in their second (1/2 gallon) containers. I arrange additional CFL lights around the outside of the dome as the plants get bigger. They out-grow the dome during the third week from seed.
This is not a requirement, but a germination heat mat provides the best environment to germinate seeds. Using heat will lead to faster germination and more vigorous early growth. If you do not use a heat mat, you can find other sources of heat to help germinate your seeds. Some growers place their germinating seeds on a cable TV box or other appliance that runs warm.
Rapid Rooters are my (Dr. Coco) preferred germination media. I sprout seeds in paper towels and transfer them to Rapid Rooters within 36 hours as the seeds start growing their tails. I have found that this provides a better experience for the seedling as I can ensure the root goes down and the seed doesn’t become logged in the hole. After a day or two the roots have taken hold in the Rapid Rooters and I place them in the first (tiny) fabric pot with coco.
This is an alternative to Rapid Rooters. Jiffy Pellets are simply compressed peat that expand into little plugs when rehydrated. Peat provides a good buffered medium for young plants and will not cause issues later as you transplant into coco. The little trays that come with this kit are actually really convenient mini humidity domes!
Plant Care & Training Gear
There are certain treatments that should be applied with a pressure sprayer. If you run into problems with mildew or insects, this can be used to apply SM-90 or Neem oil. During the early seedling stage you can use it to apply a Cal/Mag foliar treatment, which can help plants cope if the coco is still taking a large cut of Ca from the nutrient solution. I (Dr. Coco) use and recommend this simple pressure sprayer
When you are training or working around your plants you may accidentally injure them. Stem splits and tears often occur during low stress training (LST) or supercropping. Many growers use a sticky tape such as electrical tape to wrap around these injuries. While it is important to wrap up the injury, you should never put sticky tape on a plant, because it will lead to further injury!
Grafting Tape is the professional horticultural solution for this problem. Grafting Tape is more like kitchen plastic wrap, in that it sticks to itself and creates an air tight seal, but it does not stick to the plant. It also expands to accommodate plant growth.
This is the Grafting Tape that I (Dr. Coco) use on my plants. Every grower should buy a roll! It is the correct product to help heal injure plants and it is quite inexpensive.
Soft ties are another plant training absolute “must have”. This roll of soft ties can be cut to any length and have practically unlimited applications for plant training and elsewhere in your grow space, like securing cables. The ties can be bent in any shape and will hold plants in position. They are the best option for securing your plant while training and for supporting the weight of fattening colas.
These aren’t as good as the Soft Ties above, but I find plenty of purposes for these as well as the soft ties. These twist ties are flimsier than the soft ties, but they are useful for securing colas over longer distances and for some early training applications where the soft ties are too thick.
I (Dr. Coco) think that bamboo poles offer the best solution for plant training support structure. There are other options, like Plant Yoyos or Tomato cages, but bamboo offers the best flexibility and support. These four-foot bamboo poles are tall enough for any plant in an 8’ tall grow space. They can easily be cut down to shorter sizes with a PVC pipe cutter (below).
A PVC pipe cutter may seem like an odd recommendation, but it comes in very handy for several things during a grow. Obviously it can cut PVC, which is great to build a bracing frame within your grow tent. It is included here because it is the best option for cutting the bamboo poles. It can easily cut them even after they are in place and have plants tied on. Later, when your plants are ready to harvest, the PVC pipe cutter will easily cut through the main stalk of your plant and allow you to harvest the whole plant at once.
The Equipment Guide continues in the following sections:
About Our Product Recommendations
At Coco for Cannabis, our mission is to help growers maximize the success of their cannabis crops by providing scientifically accurate information and sharing proven growing practices. We offer this guide as a resource to growers.
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