Pioneering Hydroponics

Since 1976

Hydroponic Growing Media: Coco Coir

Coco coir is an organic fibre that derives from the coconut tree, sourced from the dense and tough husks you find inside coconuts. Being incredibly strong, coco coir is a great growing media solution. It’s also resistant to fungi and rot, making it ideal for wet environments.

There are three varieties of processed coco coir:

  • Coco Fibre. These make it easier for oxygen to penetrate the root systems of your plants, however, it eventually breaks down.

  • Coco Chips. Combining the best properties of fibre and peat, coco chips are tiny bits of coir. They can retain water very well but also allow for air pockets.

  • Coco Pith. Similar to peat moss, coco pith or peat, has great density for water retention. This makes it essential to combine it with other media so that your plants don’t drown.

Advantages of Using Coco Coir

  • Room for the root system. With its water retention, ideal aeration, and reliable drainage properties, coco coir provides roots with plenty of space to grow.

  • Environmentally friendly medium. A coconut tree will produce, on average, 150 coconuts every year. Coco coir is made from parts that would otherwise go to waste.

  • Reduced pathogen and pest risk. This grow medium has excellent antifungal properties and it naturally repels certain pests.

  • Neutral pH value. With a range between 6 and 6.7, coco coir is a great medium for plants that need a balanced pH.

Disadvantages of Using Coco Coir

  • Magnesium, calcium, and iron lockout. Coco coir has a high cation exchange rate, which allows it to store and release nutrients as they’re needed. It does, however, tend to hold on to magnesium, calcium, and iron. You may need to use a specific hydroponic nutrient solution to ensure your crops grow healthy.

  • Possibility of high salt content. Before choosing a coco coir brand, you should research how the medium has been produced so that you don’t accidentally provide a high salt content to your plants.

  • Chemical treatment. The husks may be treated with chemical agents at the end of the drying process to eliminate the chance of pathogens growing inside. Make sure that you check how the coco coir was manufactured - any chemical residue can affect your plants, so it’s always preferred to be safe.

Coco tends to hold on to phosphorus very well but only hold on to a bit of calcium and releasing very small amounts of potassium. It’s important to carefully consider what plants you’ll be growing to ensure you choose the appropriate growing media.

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