Reading a Nutrient Label

Every nutrient container you use for your indoor garden should have a label containing valuable information about the product. Once you use a few different nutrient containers you will soon notice the similarities between them. Most have the brand and name of the product displayed prominently on the front label. As an example, let’s focus on the Canna Coco A  container below. This is a common nutrient used by Mainely Hydro specialists for plants of all stages, grown specifically in a coco/perlite mix. Note that Canna Coco A is always used together with Canna Coco B, as it is a two part nutrient solution.

Below the product’s name you will notice a series of three numbers separated by dashes; this represents the nutrients’ n-p-k balance or nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium balance. Nitrogen mainly promotes plant growth, while phosphorus focuses on flower growth and production. Potassium, or potash, is critical for overall plant health and growth.


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Take a closer look at the Canna Coco A nutrient label above. Notice under the product’s name, “Coco”, a series of three numbers is present, 4 – 0 – 1. From this label you now know Canna Coco A is most abundant in nitrogen, lacks phosphorus, and has some potassium. To be exact there is 4% nitrogen, 0% phosphorus, and 1% potassium in your Canna Coco A by weight.


While all three elements are important to your plant’s health, you’ll notice other ingredients in your nutrients beside n, p, or k. These other trace elements are just as vital for your plant’s health and growth.


Many, if not all gardening nutrients, supply standard mixing directions. Most directions are given in mL/L, so remember 1 gallon is approximately 3.8 liters. Additionally, always start with clean, fresh water, preferably low in PPM.


Check your home water supply’s initial PPM reading before mixing nutrients. It is possible that you have various elements and heavy metals in your water supply. If your initial water PPM reading is high, ideally you should utilize a different water supply. A reverse osmosis filter can get you where you want to be, or water collected by a dehumidifier can also produce a near zero PPM reading and makes for an easy alternate water supply. Although most nutrient directions are given in mL or L and not ppm, it is important to check ppm levels throughout mixing to avoid nutrient burn.


Never hesitate to look at your nutrient container and use its label’s information to your advantage. Or try to check the nutrient company’s website. For more information specific to Canna’s Coco A & B products and their functions, check out this video by Canna USA.


Mainely Hydro Canna-Dictionary

PPM: Parts per million, is the unit of measure for the concentration of particles (nutrients or additives) in water or soil. It is determined by testing the electrical conductivity of the solution.


Posted on: July 20, 2016, by :