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Benefits of Using Coco Coir in the Garden

The coconut is a great fruit. We all know how delicious the flesh is and the water is nutritious with lots of potassium but also the outside husk is very beneficial. It's used in textiles to make ropes and to make things like our Coconut Fiber Pots and it can be ground down to really fine particles which are not really used in textiles, but are great for use in the garden. Coconut husks are also used as coarse chips such as our Mega Mulch, great as a mulch in planting beds and in the garden. Watch our video to see how Tricia uses coco coir in her garden.

Benefits of Coco Coir

This leftover fiber is called coconut coir, coconut pith or coco peat. It's similar to but easier to use than sphagnum peat moss and it's more sustainable too.
  • This coir is biodegradable but it biodegrades slowly, more slowly than regular peat moss and other organic matters.
  • It's a naturally weed free and soil free product that smells good too.
  • As a soil amendment it adds organic matter.
  • Helps improve soil structure.
  • Aerates the soil which is great for the plants roots.
  • Improves water holding capacity–acts as a sponge to hold water in the root zone so that the plants can use it when they need it. Coir has a better water holding capacity than most soil amendments and it can hold seven to ten times its weight.
  • At the same time that it holds on to water it will also get rid of excess water so that your plants don't become waterlogged.
  • Although it doesn't have any significant nutrient value of its own, it helps the soil retain nutrients so that it's available to the plants.

Just Add Water to Expand the Blocks

The coco coir fiber often comes in compressed blocks which will have to be soaked in water and then broken apart to use them.
  • Just be sure and expand your block in a container that can hold seven times the volume of the block.
  • Add water and let it absorb and expand.
  • It may take about 15 minutes (maybe more).
  • You can use a shovel or a digging fork to break apart any large remaining chunks and stir it until it's fluffy.
If you prefer something ready to use, the coconut coir comes in ready to use bags like this Just Coir and Coco Loco.

How to Use Coco Coir

  • In your garden or for your potted plants you can mix up to 40% coir with your soil or potting mix.
  • Make your own seed starting mix–for starting small seeds it is best to use fine pith coconut coir.
  • Coir is nice on its own but even better when combined with other amendments such as rice hulls and perlite. Using them in combination will provide you with the best results in drainage, aeration, and water retention.
  • Coir also makes a great worm bin bedding!
Try some coconut coir fiber in your garden this season and grow organic for life!

19 comments

  • Silas, you can amend with compost if you have very heavy compact soil. Compost will feed the soil microbes better than coco coir, but if you don’t have compost coco coir will also help improve the tilth of your soil.

    Suzanne
  • Is it advisable to use coco coir in the soil mix when growing apricots? I have read that apricots need well drained soil, but it sounds as if coco coir improves both the water retention AND the drainage of the soil.

    Silas
  • Gummy, you can add coco coir as a soil amendment to your existing soil. It does not provide any nutrition to your plants, but is great for loosening up clay soil and helps to improve the water holding capacity as well. I would not use it as a soil replacement though.

    Suzanne
  • Can I use Coconut coir fiber as soil based mixture in planting honeydew melon?

    Gummy Burr
  • Wow such a nice post on coco coir. Now i can know about coco coir and its benefits, uses.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Rio coco
  • We have a lot of coco coir in our garden and I had no idea that it has a lot of benefits. Thanks to this article, I learned a lot while reading it.

    Arthur
  • Michele, I would choose a coco coir that is certified organic, such as the blocks of coco coir. You can mix it with the ocean forest. You could also use our organic quickroot with is a seed starting mix.

    suzanne
  • Hi There Fellow Gardener,

    I’m just starting out growing micro greens. Just now researching the best organic growing medium. I was told Fox Farm Ocean? is very good. I’m thinking to mix in this coconut coir. Will it end up saving me money? Is it less costly than the fox farm product? Which brands are good for this organic growing process?

    Thank you

    Michele
  • i’ll give up my secret. coco coir, verm, and manure. veggies love it. got it from growing mycelium as they love it too.

    bdawg
  • Julie, we checked with our vendor and the bricks (from Down to Earth) are not really not rinsed (occasionally they get rained on when left out to dry), but they state that “they have not had any complaints about high salts”. There is a bagged coco coir that states that it is rinsed but says nothing about pathogens.

    Suzanne at GrowOrganic.com
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