What is Coco Coir?
Not to be mistaken with cocoa, coco coir is made from coconut– to be exact, the outer shell, empty husk that remains after the factory of other coconut products.
Coco coir is the type of soilless growing medium/ growing substrate that is getting more and more popular to growers. There are many alternative names for coco coir, which are coco peat, coir pith, coconut husk, coconut fiber, etc. They are considered interchangeable names and are used differently in each country. However, coco coir and coco peat are the most common words.
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Types of Coco Coir
Coco Pith or Coco Peat
Coco pith, or peat, looks similar to peat moss but is a rich, brown color. This product is dense, so they retain water really well. This means that the water holding capability should depend on the ratio of them in the mix.
Coco fibers are stringy bundles that allow oxygen to easily penetrate a plant’s root system. By itself, the fiber is not very absorbent and will break down over time, which decreases how much air gets to the roots of your plants. With the present of these fibers, the coco coir mix will have its aeration increased. And the breakdown time of it is enough for several uses.
Coco chips are small chunks of coir that combine the best properties of the peat and fiber. Coco chips retain water well, but also allow for air pockets, too.
If you are an experienced grower, you can develop your own ratio from these, but that is the option when you really know what you are doing, and what you need.
7 Best Coco Coir Products – Coco Coir Global
Best coco coir Loose Coco Coir Bag (50L or customized)
Bagged coco peat is our best-of-it’s-kind product in terms of quantity and production. The product comes in forms of treated or untreated, with or without coco peat, coco fiber, or can be mixed with coconut chips to create different substrates with different growing intentions. Coco peat can meet all the needs of customers such as cultivation, livestock, and fertilizer production.
– Lightweight, easy to carry and use
– Convenient to transport with large quantities
Best coco coir Pre-filled Coco Coir Bag
The prefilled coco coir grow bag, also known as plant bag, offers a “smart” solution for growing plants both in and outdoors as the bag itself is already a container. The product is provided to be:
– Convenient to use
– Specialized for soft fruit, ginger, cannabis, etc.
Best coco coir Coco Coir Grow Bag
Grow bag, also known as coco coir slab, comes in the form of long compressed coco coir slab of brick, hence the name, usually widely used in greenhouses. Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, cannabis, strawberries etc. adore this product.
– Specialized for greenhouse crops
– Recommended to use alongside grow bags.
Best coco coir Compressed Coco Coir Open Top Bag
The same finished Compressed Coco Coir product with Grow Bag product (OMRI Listed certified), only different in cube form. Cubes are customizable.
Raw materials are 100% natural from coconut husks. Easy to manage by just being an open-and-use product. Widely used for several plants such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cannabis, and gingers.
– Lightweight, easy to carry and use
– Easy to transport with large quantities
Best coco coir Coco Coir Propagation Cube
The same finished Compressed Coco Coir product with Grow Bag product (OMRI Listed certified), only different in cube form. Cubes are customizable. Packed with plastic bags (or biodegradable bags if required).
Raw materials are 100% natural from coconut husks. Ready to use form. Widely used for starting seeds and propagating cuttings. Especially suitable for greenhouse crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, etc.
- Specialized for greenhouse crops
- Recommended to use alongside grow bags
Best coco coir Coco Coir Block/Brick 5kg
The same finished Compressed Coco Coir product with Grow Bag product (OMRI Listed certified), only different in block form.
Raw materials are 100% natural from coconut husks. Hydrate the block with fresh water when used. Used for most kinds of plants both outdoors and indoors.
- Economical and versatile for different uses
- Suitable for both commercial and individual growers
Best coco coir Bulk Coco Coir Bag 1800L/2000L (Loose)
The same finished Loose (Uncompressed) Coco Coir product with 50L Bag product (OMRI Listed certified), only different in packaging. Volume is up to 2000 liters or customizable. Raw materials are 100% natural from coconut husks. Ready to use form. Especially suited for large-scale cultivation.
- Economical and convenient to use
- Easy to transport by forklifts
How is Coco Coir Made?
The decisive factor for the product quality of Coco Coir Global is based on the coconut husks. After being collected according to certain standards, coconut husks are soaked in fresh water to make the processing easier. They are then fed through a grinder or cutter to produce a mixture of coir pith, fiber, and chips. The raw material is then processed, removing impurities, and dried either by sunlight or a drying machine to reduce moisture content. The moisture content of the raw material will vary depending on the type of product, whether loose or pressed. The mixture ratio or shape of the product can also be adjusted to meet the needs of users and various plant types.
Pros and Cons of Coco Coir
Pros of coconut coir:
Coco coir has varied uses in a variety of field, but just as a growing medium, they:
- Were considered a leftover waste product of the coconut industry that used to be thrown away before becoming widely used in garden soil which make them organic, renewable and environmentally friendly
- Have a relatively neutral pH of 5.5-6.8, which is ready to use for most crops without having to change much
- Have high air-filled porosity and desirable aeration, which are crucial factors for the healthy root of the plant.
- Naturally resist pests and diseases
- Contains about 30% more moisture and nutrients than other types of growing media and can hold water and nutrients well until the plants fully absorb them. With such an incredible advantage, growers are able to save not only water but also effort and costs.
Cons of coconut coir:
With ups come downs, of course there is some drawback to this seemingly wonderful material, and they:
- Can involve heavy chemical treatment in its production process, which is difficult to determine as a buyer since many products do not list the source of the coir.
- Quickly soaked in water, can potentially become waterlogged if under heavy rain or being overwatered.
- It does not contain significant amounts of nutrients, so depending on the type of plant, additional fertilizer may be required.
Benefits of Coco Coir
Applications of Coconut Coir
Coco is diversified in terms of application. Just in terms of growing crop, it can help in:
– Nurseries: Coco coir is an excellent growing substrate for nurseries due to its ease of use and the characteristics mentioned above. Pour the coco coir mixture into seed starting trays, and monitor and adjust watering and fertilizing (if necessary) cycles for healthy growth.
– Hydroponic gardening: Coconut fiber is an ideal growing medium for hydroponic gardening, particularly for plants that require high levels of moisture. It can be used in combination with nutrient solutions to provide a sterile, moisture-retentive growing medium.
– Soil amendment: Coconut fiber can be used as a soil amendment to improve soil structure, water retention, and nutrient absorption. It can be added to garden soil to improve drainage and prevent soil compaction.
– Compost mix: Coconut fiber can be used as a component of compost mix to improve moisture retention and aeration. It can be mixed with soil and other compost mix components to create a well-draining and nutrient-rich growing medium.
– Making organic fertilizer: Coconut fiber can be added to compost mix to provide a carbon-rich component that balances out nitrogen-rich green materials. It can also improve aeration and moisture retention in the compost pile.
– Mulching: Coco coir can be used as a mulch layer around plants to help retain moisture and prevent weeds. It also has the ability to slowly decompose over time, releasing beneficial nutrients into the soil.
Sustainability Certifications and Their Importance
This is to answer “how do I know which coco coir is quality?”. Note that these certifications both cost manufacturers to maintain, so some smaller businesses selling products that meet these standards may choose to by-pass the certification process.
But needless to say, below is one of the most well-known certificates that is trusted and highly evaluated by growers who lean towards the organic matter of the growing medium.
OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Certification is a third-party certification program that verifies whether a product meets organic standards. The OMRI Certification Program was developed to evaluate products that are intended for use in certified organic production.
Products that meet OMRI standards are certified for use in organic farming and are considered safe, effective, and consistent with organic practices. OMRI certification is recognized by various organizations, including the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), the Canadian Organic Standards, and the European Union (EU).
Nutrient Requirements for Coco Coir
Essential Nutrients for Coco Coir
“Inert” is the word that describes coco coir- so to start planting anything with coco coir, a supplement of nutrients is pretty much compulsory.
So, to cut to the chase, to use coco coir as a growing medium, the nutrients you want to provide a supplement are calcium, magnesium and iron solution. Most of the time, you only need those to start growing. Plant-specific products would work too.
Or another choice if you are stuck in a loop: buffered coco coir products exist, there are pretty much coco coir products already buffered to a certain ratio. More costly, but easier if you don’t know what you are doing.
Supplementing Nutrients in Coco Coir
Here is a list of all the essential nutrient, and what they would affect:
- Calcium: a secondary nutrient that helps plants develop healthy cell structures
- Nitrogen (N): a primary nutrient that is found in chlorophyll molecules, enabling plants to convert light to energy efficiently
- Magnesium: a secondary nutrient that activates crucial enzyme systems that build and rebuild your plant’s structure
- Phosphorous (P): a primary nutrient found in every living plant cell that works in energy capture and transfer, the breakdown of sugars and starches, and nutrient movement
- Sulfur: a secondary nutrient vital to protein production and chlorophyll formation.
- Potassium (K): a primary nutrient that aids in the movement of nutrient-rich fluid in plant tissues
Each plant of course would need a different amount of nutrient, different type of nutrient, some even require different dosage in different grow stages, so do your research.
How to Choose High-Quality Coco Coir
Factors to Consider When Selecting Coco Coir
You are left on the cliff hanger from before. Yes, knowing what certification means is also a factor, but do you really need a high-end expensive coco coir that you only use for 1 batch of tomatoes that you are sure are just to be inside of your fridge until you want to cook them? Oddly specific, but here are some question you should be asking yourself before looking for a brand:
What is the crop you are growing? Are they sensitive? This might affect your standard on how high the quality should be.
What is your budget? Did you work with coco coir for a long time, just wanted to change brand or just changed to coco coir recently? The amount purchased could be affected.
Nevertheless, you should be experimenting with choices, and make out the best for you are your plants.
Evaluating Coco Coir Quality and Source
A good coco coir maker will:
- Avoid situations that are conducive to pathogen growth
- Have a dedicated system to control how the coconut coir ages
- Rinse and wash the coir to flush out salts
- Create the right blend of pith, fibers, and chips
- Package and store their product correctly
That is a lot to look out for. But you do not have to dig them up by yourself: the shopkeeper usually gets a hold of this information, or at least knows where to get them. Keeping up all factors usually those with higher quality and should be trusted.