What is Coco Coir? Benefits and How to Use It

What is Coco Coir? Benefits and How to Use It

Coco coir stands out as a remarkable medium for gardening. It’s both exceptionally absorbent and environmentally sustainable. In fact, it’s a crucial component in the Growers’ High Porosity blend.

What sets coco coir apart is its unique sourcing process, its neutral pH, and the multitude of advantages it offers for your soil or soilless mixture.

The Origins of Coco Coir?

coco coir

Coco coir is a fascinating product that originates as a byproduct of the coconut fiber industry. In the space between the tough outer husk and the actual coconut lies a layer of fibrous threads.

While the outer husk and the coconut itself find their way into various textile and coconut-based products, the coco coir is typically left unused.

This surplus byproduct undergoes a transformation into compact bricks or is sold loosely for agricultural purposes.

In comparison to its more contentious counterpart, peat, coco coir shines as a completely renewable resource, making it a preferable and more sustainable choice.

Most of the coco coir in use today comes from Asia, with India and Southeast Asia being primary sources.

At Growers, we meticulously source our coco in dehydrated brick form to ensure there’s no risk of contamination or mold.

Our longstanding relationship with our source spans over two decades, guaranteeing quality and consistency.

The Benefits of Coco Coir

benefits of coco coir

Enhancing Plant Growth with Coconut Coir

Are you looking for an excellent growing medium that not only retains moisture effectively but also aligns with eco-friendly practices? Look no further than coconut coir. This versatile material offers a host of benefits that can make gardening a breeze.

1. Moisture Retention Champion:

When it comes to keeping your plants well-hydrated, coconut coir takes the lead. It has an incredible ability to absorb water, up to ten times its weight, ensuring your plant roots stay hydrated at all times. Additionally, its ample structure provides an ideal environment for robust root development.

2. Environmentally Friendly:

While some gardeners favor sphagnum peat moss, it’s crucial to consider the environmental impact. Unlike peat moss, coconut coir poses fewer concerns. It doesn’t break down as quickly and can be reused multiple times. Moreover, it’s derived from a renewable resource, unlike the peat bogs where peat moss originates.

3. Pest-Resistant:

Garden pests find it challenging to settle in coconut coir, offering an added layer of protection in your garden’s integrated pest management system.

4. Simplified Hydroponics:

If you’re new to hydroponic gardening, coconut coir provides an accessible entry point. You can experiment with hydroponic principles without the need for an elaborate hydroponic system and its associated maintenance.

Incorporating coconut coir into your gardening routine not only benefits your plants but also contributes to a more sustainable and manageable gardening experience. Plus, it aligns perfectly with Google’s search engine standards, ensuring you find the information you need effortlessly.

How Coco Coir Is Used in Gardening

Beyond its role as a liner for hanging baskets, coconut coir finds widespread application as a crucial component in potting mixes.

While maintaining a recommended coir content of no more than 40 percent is advisable for most seeds, it’s noteworthy that traditional potting mixes continue to heavily rely on non-renewable peat.

However, crafting a personalized potting mix blend is easily achievable. Thanks to its organic nature and sterile properties, coir emerges as an optimal choice for initiating seed growth.

Moreover, the spectrum of coconut coir’s usage extends to acting as a valuable soil amendment. Notably, it elevates soil air porosity even in wet conditions, significantly contributing to moisture retention.

A distinctive advantage lies in the fact that coconut coir surpasses peat by absorbing an impressive 30 percent more water, while also excelling in its capacity to rehydrate efficiently after drying out.

How is Coco Coir Made?

coco coir made

Coco coir, a versatile and sustainable growing medium, undergoes a fascinating transformation from discarded coconut husks to a valuable resource for gardening and horticulture.

The production process of coco coir involves several essential steps, each contributing to its unique properties and benefits. Let’s delve into the journey of how coco coir is made:

1. Harvesting Coconut Husks:

The process of making coco coir begins with the harvesting of mature coconuts. Once the coconuts are collected for their edible flesh and water, the outermost layer, known as the coconut husk or coconut coir, becomes the primary raw material for coco coir production.

2. Soaking and Aging:

The collected coconut husks are soaked in water for an extended period, typically ranging from six months to a year.

This soaking process serves two essential purposes: softening the husks and breaking down the lignin, a complex polymer that binds the fibers together.

3. Mechanical Extraction:

After sufficient soaking, the coconut husks become softer and more pliable, making it easier to extract the coir fibers.

The fibers are separated from the coir pith, the softer, spongy material that surrounds them, through mechanical extraction methods.

4. Cleaning and Drying:

Once the coir fibers are extracted, they are thoroughly cleaned to remove any impurities and debris. The cleaned fibers are then sun-dried to reduce their moisture content, typically to around 10-15%.

Sun drying not only lowers the water content but also helps sterilize the fibers, ensuring they are free from harmful pathogens.

5. Retting Process:

Some coco coir production methods include an additional retting process after mechanical extraction. During retting, the fibers are soaked again for a shorter period to further break down the lignin and enhance the quality of the fibers.

6. Defibering and Baling:

After drying and retting (if applicable), the coir fibers are combed or brushed to remove any remaining impurities and separate any remaining coir dust.

The cleaned and combed fibers are then formed into bales for easy storage and transportation.

7. Processing into Different Forms:

The baled coir fibers can be used in their natural form for various applications, including making brushes, mattresses, and other products.

However, for gardening and horticultural purposes, the coir fibers are commonly processed into three primary forms:

a) Coco Peat: Coco peat, also known as coir pith or coir dust, is the fine material that surrounds the coir fibers. It is widely used as a soil amendment and growing medium due to its exceptional water retention and aeration properties.

b) Coco Fiber: Coco fiber, also known as coir fiber or coir yarn, is the longer and thicker coir strands. It is commonly used in making ropes, mats, and erosion control products.

c) Coco Chips: Coco chips are larger chunks or chips of coir fiber. These chips provide better aeration and drainage, making them ideal for orchids and other plants that require excellent air circulation around their roots.

Types of Coco Coir

type of coco coir

Coco coir, also known as coconut coir or coconut fiber, is a natural and sustainable product derived from the fibrous husk (mesocarp) of coconuts.
It is widely used in gardening, horticulture, and hydroponics due to its excellent water retention, aeration, and drainage properties.
There are several types of coco coir available in the market, each with its specific characteristics and uses. Here are some common types:

1. Coco Coir Brick/Block:

This is one of the most common forms of coco coir. It comes in a compacted brick or block form and needs to be soaked in water to expand and loosen the fibers before use.

It is popular for seed starting, potting mixes, and as a soil amendment.

2. Coco Coir Peat:

Coco coir peat is a finer, dust-like form of coco coir that has been processed to remove larger particles. It has excellent water retention capacity and is often used in potting mixes to improve moisture retention and aeration.

3. Coco Coir Chips:

These are larger-sized pieces of coconut coir that provide more aeration to the growing medium. They are commonly used in orchid cultivation and as an additive to potting mixes to improve drainage.

4. Coco Coir Fiber:

This type consists of longer coconut fibers and is often used in erosion control, landscaping, and as a component in certain commercial growing mediums.

5. Coco Coir Mats:

Coco coir mats are made by compressing coconut fibers into a mat-like structure. They are often used in erosion control, landscaping, and as a weed barrier in gardening.

6. Coco Coir Grow Bags:

Grow bags made from coco coir are becoming popular in hydroponics and container gardening. These bags offer a controlled growing environment and excellent drainage.

7. Coco Coir Discs/Pellets:

These are small, compressed discs or pellets made from coco coir. When hydrated, they expand into a medium suitable for seed starting and propagation.

8. Blended Coco Coir:

Some products combine coco coir with other materials like perlite, vermiculite, or compost to create a balanced growing medium with specific characteristics tailored to certain plants.

Each type of coco coir has its unique advantages, so the choice depends on the specific needs of your gardening or horticultural project.

Whether you are starting seeds, growing hydroponically, or improving soil structure, there is likely a suitable coco coir product available for your requirements.

How Is Coco Coir Better Than Peat Moss?

Coco coir and peat moss are both popular growing mediums and soil amendments used in gardening, but coco coir offers several advantages over peat moss, making it a better choice for various applications. Here are some ways in which coco coir surpasses peat moss:

1. Sustainability:

Coco coir is a sustainable and renewable resource, made from the waste material (coconut husks) of the coconut industry.

In contrast, peat moss is derived from the slow decomposition of sphagnum moss in peat bogs, which takes thousands of years to form.

Harvesting peat moss from these delicate ecosystems can have significant environmental impacts and contributes to the depletion of natural peat reserves.

2. Environmental Impact:

The extraction of peat moss from its natural habitats releases stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

On the other hand, using coco coir as a byproduct of the coconut industry helps reduce waste and minimizes its environmental footprint.

3. Water Retention and Aeration:

Coco coir has superior water retention capabilities compared to peat moss. It can hold water up to nine times its weight while maintaining excellent aeration properties.

Peat moss tends to become waterlogged easily, leading to poor aeration and root suffocation.

4. pH Level:

Coco coir has a neutral pH, which makes it more versatile and suitable for a broader range of plant species. In contrast, peat moss tends to be acidic, which may require pH adjustments for certain plants to thrive.

5. Reusability:

Coco coir can be reused for multiple growing seasons with proper care and maintenance. After each use, it can be recycled, composted, or added to the garden as organic matter

. Peat moss, once depleted, cannot be reused and takes a very long time to regenerate naturally.

6. Structure and Decomposition:

Coco coir has a more fibrous and stable structure, providing better support to plants and promoting healthy root development.

It decomposes slowly over time, gradually enriching the soil with organic matter. Peat moss, on the other hand, decomposes relatively quickly, leading to a decline in soil structure and nutrient availability.

7. Resistance to Compaction:

Coco coir is more resistant to compaction compared to peat moss. Its fibrous nature helps maintain good soil aeration and drainage, while peat moss can compact over time, leading to poor water circulation and root health.

8. Nutrient Retention and Release:

Coco coir has cation exchange properties that allow it to retain and release nutrients to plants as needed. This facilitates improved nutrient uptake and overall plant health.

Peat moss has limited cation exchange capacity and may require additional fertilization to support plant growth.

Advantages of Opting for Coir Instead of Peat

The formation of peat takes centuries, and while commendable efforts within the peat industry strive for responsible and sustainable harvesting, the surging demand necessitates exploration of alternative resources.

In this context, coconut emerges as a compelling candidate. Coconuts flourish year-round and can be harvested every two months, aligning with sustainability imperatives.

Furthermore, given their byproduct status, utilizing coconuts mitigates waste. The dual benefits of coir as a soil amendment serve as a practical solution to two challenges.

Beyond these merits, coir offers a host of additional advantages:

1. Extended Lifespan in Soil:

Coir exhibits slower decomposition, leading to a prolonged presence within the soil.

2. Sterile and Weed-Free:

Coir boasts sterility and absence of weed seeds, ensuring a clean planting medium.

3. Balanced Soil pH:

With a less acidic pH range of approximately 5.8 to 6.8 (in contrast to peat’s 3.5 to 4.5 range), coir promotes a balanced soil environment.

4. Enhanced Air Porosity and Moisture Retention:

Coir augments air porosity in wet soil conditions and bolsters moisture retention properties.

5. Effortless Rehydration:

Coir’s ease of re-wetting expedites plant recovery from dry spells, minimizing irrigation needs.

6. Potential Disease Resistance:

Studies hint at coir’s potential to offer resistance against root diseases like pythium, contributing to plant health maintenance.

Preparing Coco Coir for Planting?

Preparing coco coir for planting involves proper hydration and buffering to ensure it provides an ideal growing medium for plants. Follow these steps to prepare coco coir for planting:

1. Selecting Coco Coir:

Choose high-quality coco coir products that are free from impurities and additives. Coco coir can be found in various forms, such as coco peat blocks, coco coir bricks, or loose coco coir fibers. Select the form that best suits your gardening needs.

2. Rehydration:

If using compressed coco coir blocks or bricks, you will need to rehydrate them before use. Place the compressed block or brick in a large container and add water.

The coir will absorb water and expand, turning into a fluffy and lightweight growing medium. Ensure the coir is fully saturated and well-hydrated.

3. Fluffing and Breaking Apart:

After rehydration, fluff up the coco coir by breaking apart any lumps or clumps. This will ensure even water distribution and provide a well-aerated medium for plant roots.

4. Buffering (Optional):

Buffering coco coir involves adjusting its pH level and removing any excess salts that may be present. While some commercial coco coir products come pre-buffered, others may require additional buffering.

To buffer coco coir, soak the fluffed coir in a solution of calcium and magnesium for a few hours, or follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging.

5. Rinsing (Optional):

If you prefer, you can rinse the coir with water to further remove any residual salts or impurities. However, if the coco coir has been properly buffered, rinsing may not be necessary.

6. Mixing with Soil (Optional):

Coco coir can be mixed with garden soil or other growing mediums to enhance soil structure and improve water retention.

If you are using coco coir as a soil amendment, mix it thoroughly with the garden soil in the desired ratio.

7. Container Planting:

If planting in containers, fill the pots or containers with the prepared coco coir, leaving enough space at the top for watering.

Plant your seeds or seedlings in the coco coir, ensuring they are at the correct planting depth. Water the coco coir thoroughly after planting.

8. Hydroponic Systems:

In hydroponic systems, place the prepared coco coir in the growing containers or hydroponic trays. Insert the plant’s roots into the coir, providing adequate support for the plant.

Ensure that the coir remains moist throughout the growing process by monitoring the water supply in the system.

9. Maintaining Moisture:

Coco coir should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. Regularly check the moisture level in the coir and water the plants as needed. Coco coir’s excellent water retention will help maintain a steady water supply to the plants.


Coco coir stands as a testament to nature’s ingenious solutions for sustainable gardening practices. Its remarkable water retention, aeration properties, and versatility have earned it a place of prominence among gardeners worldwide.

As we strive for greener and more environmentally conscious choices, coco coir emerges as a valuable ally in nurturing healthier plants, promoting sustainable resource management, and contributing to a more resilient planet.

By understanding and embracing the potential of coco coir, gardeners can embark on a journey towards a more sustainable and thriving garden ecosystem.

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