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Am I overwatering in coco?

I’ve been experiencing some drooping in my plant’s leaves for most of it’s life, which looks like it might be from over watering it, but I thought you couldn’t do that in coco.

I’m growing one M16 autoflower from Flash Seeds in a 70/30 coco/perlite medium in a 5 gallon fabric pot. Leaf temps are 82F and RH: 60%. Currently I am at day 49 from seed and about 2 weeks into flower. The plant has always had droopy leaves but always seemed to be healthy. I slowly raised the concentration of the nutrients from 1/4 to 1/2 to full strength (~700ppm higher than tap) by around day 30 nd had not noticed any issues other than the leave droop. Thinking this was overwatering by submerged roots due to not having the rocks in the tray like I have in the picture, I decided let the coco dry out a little more than usual while I made time to go to the hardware store to buy some lava rocks.  The next day, coincidently my humidifier had gone out and when I checked on my plant It was really hot, bone dry, and turning yellow. Recalling that drying out coco can cause salt crystallization that can hinder absorption of nutrients and noticing the yellowing coming from the bottom leaves I figured It was a nutrient deficiency exacerbated by heat stress and that I needed to flush it. After flushing it has returned most of it’s color and look much better but the leaves still remain droopy.

I am feeding at half strength now to avoid any problems and I don’t want to foliar feed since I am too far into flower. But now I have the plant elevated so there should not be any root submersion but this does not fix the problem; still droopy. This would imply that the medium is being over watered (once a day ~1/2 gal or until a little drainage). So should I try to let my pot get dryer again, but just make sure I don’t run into any issues like humidity variance or nutrient crystallization? Any critiques or comments would be appreciated as I am a first time grower and do not have much experience.


16 responses to “Am I overwatering in coco?”

  1. GassedUpWeedEater Avatar

    question is this the first time you’ve grown this strain? is it possible this could just be a physical trait of the plant because they do look healthy even maybe a tad hungry after the flush?

    1. GlycolysispayoffHaze Avatar

      Yeah, first time growing anything really. It’s always seemed a little light colored on top but I figured that was from the all the new growth. The leaves do seem darker as you go down the plant. You think I should increase the feed from half strength to something stronger?

  2. GrowCannAdvocate Avatar

    Looks kinda like overwatering, but could be strain specific or other nutrient issue. I’d ease up on the watering, let the coco dry out some. Maybe 24-48 hours. Overwatering in coco has more to do with frequency than amount of water. I use a coco/pearlite mix exclusively and prefer to water to about 10-15% runoff. I don’t water again until the coco, or the plant tells me to. I’ll wait until the top of the coco has just begun to lighten, but if I brush the light stuff off the top, I can still see dark, damp coco just beneath the surface. Make sure you have good drainage too. I use fabric pots or radicle bags. These let plenty of water through while providing great air to the root zone. Try to get to know your coco. I heard somewhere about the 1 to 5 weight test and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. 1 is totally saturated coco in your pot. Get to know this weight. 5 is totally dry and your plant is probably dead. 2 thru 4 are splitting those two weights equally. At a 1, my plant is freshly watered and should be happy. A 2 could probably go some more time before you water, but not too long. 3 it’s time to water if you haven’t already and a 4 is in desperate need of attention. I’ve found when I up-pot, she won’t use as much of the water in the pot for a while, until the roots stretch out to find water, so I usually water the outer edges initially to encourage the roots to seek out the moisture.

    1. GlycolysispayoffHaze Avatar

      I think that it is most likely an overwatering issue. I’ll try lengthening my wait time between watering and follow a similar evaluation method. This is what I was trying to do initially but hit that nutrient lock issue. I never rinsed out the coco from the bag and I’ve heard this can leave behind salts before any nutrients are even added. Perhaps there was just enough build up to cause an issue then. I think I will add in a flush or two throughout a grow to prevent any possibly of overabundance so I can let the pot dry out without worrying about potential lockout issues.

      Are there any issues with watering less (where there would not be any runoff) but more frequently?

      1. GrowCannAdvocate Avatar

        Short answer is yes, I always water to runoff, so I don’t get salt buildup. (I use GH Flora 3 part.). I never flush until the end of flower, but if you’re getting nutrient lockout, a flush would show immediate signs of improvement. Letting coco dry out just a tad will also let the roots breathe, this could also be an issue here, as droopy leaves can indicate a aeration problem. My coco is always light a fluffy, even when wet. If it gets too compact, that means it”s broken down too much and it’s time to throw in my outdoor compost bin. I also wash and buffer my coco before I use it, so that I don’t get all that dust in there. That too can cause dust to collect around the roots and not allow them to breathe.

  3. Coach Steve Avatar

    Drooping leaves means loss of turgor pressure. When a plants cell loses water, it falls under its own weight. Plants are more turgid when water is moving through the plant which coincides with stomata opening for co2 uptake.
    You say you’re watering once a day at about 10% of media volume and leaves say 82° with 60% RH… water potential and osmotic pressure should not be an issue under these conditions. Your plant shows no signs of overwatering by the way.

    This points to possibly high salinity in your media. What brand of coco are you using? Higher salinity will hinder water movement through the plant.
    The other thing I see from the pictures is yellowing, twisty “new” leaves. You didn’t mention anything about pH and I suspect it is too high, but maybe this was already corrected with the flush and by now the plant looks greener..? Potassium helps regulate water pressure/retention in the plant and could be lacking. That isn’t common in coco though since coco releases potassium and sodium as it breaks down. But what nutrients are you using?

    Consider increasing your water volume by 50% or more to ensure full saturation and washing of salts. Increasing light intensity and lowering RH will change the atmospheric pressure and encourage transpiration. A pH of 5.8 will help with calcium and magnesium availability in coco.

    Looks good overall, some plants are a little high maintenance. Some more info on pH, the coco, and your nutrients would be helpful.

    1. GlycolysispayoffHaze Avatar

      Here is a picture of her last night before lights out when she was looking extra droopy.

      Come morning time she was a bit more perky. I figured this was in indication of overwatering since the severity lessened as the media dried, but obviously there could be more at play here. Do you think a droop this severe yet inconsistent is due to salinity of the medium? (note this picture was taken after the flush). The ppm of the runoff was almost 4000 when I first checked it right before the flush but reduced it down to just above tap water before returning to nutrient feeding. the persisting issue after the flush makes me think otherwise. The brand is Hydro Crunch and admittedly I probably should have rinsed it off beforehand. PH of feed ranges from 5.7-6.1. Runoff was reading 5.9. I’m using the general Hydroponics flora series and CalMag according to the GH autoflower feed chart currently at half strength.

      The newer leaves have always been yellower than the lower leaves, is this a sign of nutrient deficiency? I’ll try increasing the volumes when feeding. I’m already maxing out my lighting potential currently but I can afford to drop the humidity a little bit. I was running into heat issues at any humidity lower than 63% RH with my previous fan arrangement, but this might be possible now (note, any decrease in humidity will be associated with a tethered increase in temperature in this system). I am using a passive organic CO2 source in the tent so higher temperature ranges shouldn’t be much of an issue. (unfortunately I cannot get an accurate reading of the current CO2 levels). I’m trying to optimize for the VPD on this chart

      Let me know what you think!

    2. SunnyinBectopia Avatar

      Mic drop bitches 👆🏼

  4. GassedUpWeedEater Avatar

    So if this was taken after the flush this sounds like a tall tale sign of O2 starved roots maybe your coco is too compacted? did you use perlite at all in the mix? also how are you watering cause watering too fast in a tight medium with “drown” the roots causing this same issue…

    1. GassedUpWeedEater Avatar

      if it was due to the salinity in your medium the flush would have shown immediate improvements tho…


      on the soil that is. test that run off.. looks like that might lead you in the right direction. could be wrong tho

      1. GlycolysispayoffHaze Avatar

        pH of runoff was always fine, and I addressed the EC with the flush.

  5. NeusiKesho Avatar

    I feed my plants in coco 4 times a day. Double that once I build an automated drip system. Don’t let that coco dry out at all. You don’t want those problems. It’s not soil.

    Did you buffer the coco with calmag before planting? Is it new coco or has it been used? If there is too much peat (from coco breaking down) it will hold too much water and choke the roots.

    Also, once your coco is saturated, it doesn’t take much each feeding to get runoff. (as long as it doesn’t have too much peat)

  6. NeusiKesho Avatar

    Personally, I’d just pump it full of sea kelp for a few weeks.

  7. Hersh Avatar

    You should use plant risers instead of the lava rocks!!

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