Coco Coir

mike423(5 IL)January 18, 2011

I'm not into hydroponic growing but have a question probably best suited for this group. My question was what the differences would be between a mixture of 50/50 Coco Coir & Coco peat versus a 100% Coco Coir soil? Also what are the benefit of Coco soil mixes over normal potting mixes?

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Hello mike423,
Coco coir is basically the same as peat moss. Neither have any nutritional value to plants, both hold moisture well, both help aerate soil because of their texture.

Coco coir and coco peat are the same thing. Just two names for the same product, it's just the fibrous part of the coconuts. The only difference (if there is any) is the various granularity and denseness of the finished product. I tried looking up "Coco Coir soil" because I never herd of it, but I didn't find anything. Well other than references to coco coir being added to potting soil. So I would say it is just potting soil with coco coir added instead of peat moss.

So basically you can use coco coir in place of peat moss, and it has the same property's. But nether have any nutritional value to plants, at the same time nether can be used to replace soil completely (unless in a hydroponics system where the nutrients are provided by the nutrient solution).

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:53AM
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hh, I am looking at up-potting several "starts" into 4" pots with coir and using half strength nutrient solution until they are ready for transplanting in raised beds and soil containers.

My goal is to rid the basement grow area (both hydro and springtime veggie "starts") of all soil.

This will be the first time doing this and I'm curious to the results. I will germinate in both peat pellets and paper towels.

Have you or anyone any experience in this method?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 6:05AM
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I used peat pellets before I went hydro. Now I germinate probably 80% of my seeds in a paper towel. the rest in small six packs with potting soil.
Since you don't grow hydroponically, I assume those 1/2 strength nutrients are a garden variety (MG, scott's, et al)
1/2 strength is probably more that they need. something along the lines of full strength every 4th or 5th watering is where I'd start.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 11:24AM
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Ummm...actually Grizz, I do grow hydroponically. The nute solution would be my hydro nutes.

I germinate in paper towels as well, but certain plants I just drop directly in the peat pellets. For some that are going into hydro systems, I either germinate in rockwool or add them to rockwool from paper towels.

Thanks for the input on the nutes. This will be my first time with using coir as the medium for 4" pots for my starts.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 12:08PM
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mike423(5 IL)

The brand I purchased was Bio Bizz Coco-Mix.
It doesn't state much on the bag but says its comprised of 50% Coco Coir and 50% Coco Peat. I am just wondering if I could have had the same thing with normal potting soil (at half the price)?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 12:40PM
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Ahh sorry grizz, thought that comment was regarding my post. No worries. Why does this site have such a damn hard time loading correctly. Can't even scroll up or down sometimes. Big pain in the ass!

Sorry OP.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 5:55PM
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Do you have a link to the exact product you are referring to? I did a search for "Bio Bizz Coco-Mix" and only seem to find this:
BioBizz Coco Mix
Bio Bizz Coco Mix
Bio Bizz Coco Mix

But I don't see anywhere it is 50%/50%. However all of which state in the description "Its absorbent coir fibers make it great for hydroponics or as an amendment to soil." In hydroponics you would only want to use a growing medium that has no nutritional value, and the statement that it can be used as a amendment to soil makes it clear there is no nutritional value either. If you read the instructions/directions on a bag of peat moss it says the same thing use "as a amendment to soil." So I cant see much if any difference between the coco mix you mentioned and peat moss. However some manufactures do add fertilizers to peat moss, they can do the same for coco coir, however they don't have any on their own.

As for "coco coir" or "coco peat" check out this link:
Coco Peat

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Coco coir and peat may have some similar properties, but there are some pretty significant differences, too. One very important difference is the effect on pH. Peat will send pH diving. In fact, it is an acidifying soil amendment recommended for Indiana's alkaline soil for that very reason. It also breaks down a lot faster and compacts way easier, discouraging drainage eventually and increasing potential for root rot (when not mixed with something like coco coir or perlite). Coco drains much better.

Peat is also a generic term and not a specific material. It's partially composted material of varying types of vegetation. Coco coir is from coconuts.

Another difference is peat will mold in no time. Coco doesn't seem to have that problem. I have smelled a mildew smell from wet coco that I have left in a bucket before, but no mold growth. Anyone that has ever used peat cups to start plants has probably experienced the white and green mold that tends to grow on the outside. Probably harmless to the plant, but mold spores are certainly harmful to people - more so to those with bad allergies.

Peat will retain water longer, so that is why it is good in a mix. I use vermiculite instead to increase water retention. I use a coco/vermiculite/finely sifted compost mix for potting soil.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 10:46AM
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mike423(5 IL)

The first link you posted was it. Alternate gardens (Brew n Grow)is actually where I purchased it. I doesn't seem to state that anywhere on the site but has information on the bag where its listed as 50/50 mixture of coir and peat.

My main issue was if coco peat has any additional value over sphagnum peat moss? I was planning on using this for a organic component to add to my bonsai soil as its organic component as well as to pot some tropical hibiscus's in. Both need a soil that holds adequate moisture while also draining through well and drying adequately afterward (Peat stays wet too long). The whole reason I was turned twords Coco coir is the fact that I heard it holds moisture well and doesn't 'push off' moisture like peat moss does, but was wondering how true this really is and again how well it drys after wetting? I guess I might just keep it and see how well it works.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 10:57AM
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mike423(5 IL)

I have used Sphagnum peat moss quite a bit and am aware of it properties (which I assume is what you are referring to). My question was more towards what properties Coco peat hold.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Actually hardclay, it was somewhat responding to your post, though not intentionally. I thought I was answering the OP regarding 1/2 strength.
As you said, this site is a PITA sometimes.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 11:40AM
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Well the best I can tell is if the product you mention says 50/50 coco peat. I can only assume they mean it is 50% coco coir, and 50% peat moss (of some kind). Although I would have to say if you are looking for good drainage the coco coir would be better. Joe is right that by itself the peat moss retains that moisture much longer and compacts much more than coco coir ever would. As well as wont break down nearly as fast due to its coarse fiber. I don't know how much of a concern the pH is to you.

I recently soaked some peat moss to get ready to add to a mixture for potting soil, and weeks later it still had the same consistency it did the day I drained it. But when used as about a 1/3 part mix of peat moss, potting soil, top soil, and vermiculite, I had a nice light well draining airy mix.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 4:11PM
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mike423(5 IL)

The bag says the mixture is composed of 50% Coco Coir and 50% Coco Peat. It also said the PH was 6.0 which is neutral unlike sphagnum peat which is acidic and that was what I was looking for. I've never heard of coco peat before though and was questioning if it was any different than its moss counterpart?? I'm already more than familiar with sphagnum peat moss and it properties.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 7:24PM
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According to the link I posted earlier coco coir and coco peat are the same thing.

Coco Peat
"Coco peat (cocopeat), also known as coir pith, coir fibre pith, coir dust, or simply coir, is made from coconut husks, which are byproducts of other industries that use coconuts."

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 9:00PM
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Maybe it wasn't evident, but I was answering the last question in the original post since it didn't appear to ever get answered.

"Also what are the benefit of Coco soil mixes over normal potting mixes?"

Normal potting mixes, at least in IL and IN, don't contain coco peat. They contain real peat. Hence my post. See, the point is, as HH mentions, that coco peat is not actually peat. It is coco coir. It is marketed as coco peat because it is an attempt at capitalizing on the false claims that harvesting real peat is unsustainable. It's not because it's actually peat, which is partially composted and usually anaerobically. It's simply an attempt to make gardeners think that coco is a direct alternative to peat and they attempt to solidify the claim by adding "peat" to the name inaccurately. The fact is, each has their place and benefits. I find peat most beneficial in the actual ground, though.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 11:27AM
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Also, the difference in the Bio Bizz stuff is texture. Coco peat is just the finer component. It's all the same, just different particle size. At least, that's my understanding. If I were you, I would make my own mix by purchasing compressed fine coir and chip bricks separately. I do that. It's A LOT cheaper that way. GH sells small bricks of both, but I only buy the small bricks of the chips and buy the fine stuff in the larger bales. I don't think they sell the chips in bales yet.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 11:38AM
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Also, a pH of 6.0 is not neutral. 7.0 is neutral.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 2:35PM
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Do you need to ph water when growing in coco as compaired to peat? The lime acts as a buffer in the peat.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 10:59PM
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You should always pH your water when using any medium especially when using liquid fertilizers that will drastically drop your pH. Lime is also great to add to coco coir as it will add extra needed calcium and magnesium.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 12:20AM
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Coco coir is pH neutral when used by itself, and wont affect pH in hydroponics. Peat on the other hand is another story. Peat can and will change your pH, and how much depends on the type and how much the peat is used. However I think sorghum peat moss is the most pH neutral, and really the only thing that should be used in hydroponics (but not cost effective). Most peat will absorb to much water, and compact, suffocating the roots. Bottom line, I would never recommend using a coco coir/peat mixture to grow hydroponically. But coco coir/chips is the growing media I prefer to use myself.

Though it's typically recommended to test pH before adding nutrients to the water, it's rarely needed to be adjusted before if your using a good water source to begin with. Unless it's above 7, or below 5, I don't bother to pre-adjust pH (I know my water supply and don't even bother pre-testing it anymore). Any good nutrient manufacture will add pH buffers to the nutrients.

The buffers will help inisionally adjust the pH, but their mainly their to help keep the pH stable (typically for about two weeks depending on your particular variables). You should never add lime or any additive to the growing media or nutrients indiscriminately. Doing so can lead to toxicity. Any good manufactured nutrient solution will already be a balanced nutrient. Adding extra mineral elements just because you have them lying around will change that well balanced nutrient.

If your going to add an additive, be sure it's necessary before you do. Or at least make sure you can undo it if you don't get the desired results. Also by adding lime to the growing media in a hydroponic system, that will continually change the pH with every water cycle. Not a desired effect in recirculating hydroponic systems. The idea is to keep pH as stable as possible, not have it keep changing all the time.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 3:25AM
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ju1234((8 Dallas TX))

I don't know if you are still looking for an answer to your Coco Coir question. This is the first year I have used coir. Here is what I can tell you. Coco is basically husk of coconut, outer shell. It is very fibrous but very compact when removed from coconut. The coconut processors have found a new use for it. Instead of burning it they are marketing it to gardeners. Just search the "coco coir" on line and you will find plenty of info on it.

Coconut coir is sold in several forms: blocks, chips, dust or peat. It is used mainly in hydroponic farming. Coir in any of its forms, has no nutritional value, although it has salt and other minerals soaked in it from the ocean which is not good for plants. Anyway, coir is an inert medium like the peat moss. So it is used as additive to other things as soil conditioners. 100% coir is only for hydroponics.

The coir, in my experience, holds more water than Peat Moss.

Advantages of Coir over Peat Moss: More water holding. Perhaps little cheaper. The coir chips mixed in soil give soil more aeration than peat.

If it is not for hydroponics, use no more than 20% coir in your planting mix. One suggested mix is: Vermaculite 20%, coarse sand or small pea size river pebbels 20%, compost 40%, coir 20%, other nutritional components like fertilizer. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:23PM
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You definitely must of used a different peat moss than I did. Even after about a week without any more water added, the peat moss still had the consistency of mud. Also I have never seen 100% coco coir marketed as peat, or even coco/peat. Everything I have seen that was 100% coco coir, hasn't had the word peat attached.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 5:38AM
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I personally can't stand peat.
When it's wet, it soup.
When it's dry, it's near waterproof.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:31AM
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For anyone interested in a little cheaper way to get the coco coir rather than having to pay over $ 20 plus the shipping for an 11 lb brick or bale go to your local hydroponics. Worms way near me 15min drive has it for $13 and I save shipping. Thats the best I can find. I use this stuff not only as a mix for plants but in my worm bins as they seem to love it.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 1:10PM
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I get the same thing as Steve. I add perlite to mine to break it up some. Just started 18 pots with it so we will see what works.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 11:27AM
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