Coco coir is an increasingly popular type of hydroponic growing medium — and for good reason. There are a whole host of benefits to growing with coconut coir that you can and should take advantage of if you’re new to hydroponics.
There isn’t a good, comprehensive guide to coconut coir out there…until now. In this guide you’ll get just about everything you need to know about coco coir: what it is, its pros and cons, and the best brands to use.
If you just want to skip to the best brands, here they are:
- CANNA Coco 40L bricks
- Canna Coco 50L bags
- Fox Farms 2cu. ft. bags
Other Good Options
- General Hydroponics 5kg CocoTek Bale
- B’Cuzz Coco 50L bag
- Plant!T Coco Croutons
- Grow!T Coco Chips
Recommended Nutrients for Coco
- General Hydroponics Flora Series + Calimagic
- Canna Coco A + B + Calimagic
- Fox Farms Nutrient Trio + Calimagic
* All of these recommendations are explained in more depth below.
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- What is Coconut Coir?
- How is Coco Coir Made?
- Pros and Cons to Coconut Coir
- Types of Coco Coir
- How to Choose High Quality Coco Coir
- The Best Coco Coir For Your Garden
- What Nutrients Do You Need for Coconut Coir?
- The Pros And Cons Of Growing In Coco Coir
- What Is Coco Coir And How Is It Made?
- Basic Types Of Coco Coir
- The Benefits Of Using Coconut Coir
- What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Coco Coir?
- Coco Coir Features That May Be A Pro Or A Con
- Use Advanced Nutrients For Coco Coir Grow To Get The Best Results
- Unleash The Power Of Coco Coir Grow Medium
- Which plants grow in coco coir?
- Which type of coco coir should you use?
- Coco coir quality
- Healthy coco coir substrate
- What Is Coconut Coir: Tips On Using Coconut Coir As Mulch
- Coir Mulch Benefits
- Using Coconut Coir as Mulch
- Why These Ingredients for My Homemade Potting Soil Recipe?
- What about Dirt?
- Homemade Potting Soil Recipe
- DIY Potting Soil Recipe Notes:
- More Gardening Tips:
- Compressed Coconut Block
- What is coconut coir?
- How is Coconut Coir made?
- Types of Coconut Coir
- Some By-products of Coco Coir
- How to Use Coco Coir in Gardening?
- How to use Coco Coir in Hydroponics
- Pros and Cons of Coco Coir
- Coconut Fiber Types & Process of making coconut Fibre
What is Coconut Coir?
First, we need to understand what coconut coir actually is.
In the past, when coconuts were harvested for their delicious meat and juice, the coconut husk was considered a waste product. All of the material from the husk to the inner shell of the coconut was a discard product…until people realized it had many applications in gardening and home products.
The interior structure of a coconut.source
Everything in between the shell and the outer coating of the coconut seed is considered coco coir. There are two types of fibers that make up coir — brown and white. Brown coir comes from mature, ripe coconuts and is a lot stronger, but less flexible. White fibers come from pre-ripe coconuts and are far more flexible, but much less strong.
Almost all of the coconut coir used for hydroponics is brown coir, as it’s processed even more after initial harvesting.
How is Coco Coir Made?
To get coconut coir ready for hydroponic and gardening uses, it needs to go through extensive processing.
First, they need to remove the coir from the coconuts. This is done by soaking the husks in water to loosen and soften them. This is either done in tidal waters or freshwater. If done in tidal waters, the coconut coir will take up a large amount of salt, which will need to be flushed out by the manufacturer at a later stage.
Then, they’re removed from the water bath and dried for over a year. After the drying process, which is quite extensive, the coir is organized into bales. These bales are then chopped and processed into various formats, from chips, to “croutons”, to classic ground coconut coir.
There’s a whole lot more that goes into the process of making coco coir safe and optimal for horticultural use, but we’ll get into that a bit lower in the article.
Check out this video on the post-processing from completed coir into a shippable product:
Pros and Cons to Coconut Coir
There are amazing benefits to using coconut coir in your garden. But just like any other kind of growing media, there are also some downsides to consider before you buy
Benefits of Coco Coir
Good transition from soil gardening – growing in coco coir feels like growing in soil, because the two media look so similar. You can have a completely hydroponic garden that looks almost the same as a soil garden. The only difference is instead of watering with only water, you’d water your coconut coir garden with nutrient-enriched water.
Retains moisture and provides a good environment – coco coir is one of the most effective growing media for water retention out there. It can absorb up to 10x its weight in water, meaning the roots of your plants will never get dehydrated. There’s also a lot of growing media for roots to work through, promoting healthy root development.
Environmentally safe – although I am a fan of using sphagnum peat moss in the garden, there’s no denying the environmental concerns that peat moss poses. Coconut coir doesn’t have the same problems. It can be used more than once unlike peat moss, which breaks down over time. It’s also a repurposed waste product from a renewable resource, unlike the peat bogs where we get our peat moss.
Insect-neutral – most garden pests do not enjoy settling in coconut coir, making it yet another line of defense in your integrated pest management system for your garden.
Can be less complex than “traditional hydroponics” – if growing hydroponically is new to you, coconut coir is a good first step. You can practice the basics of hydroponic gardening without having to buy or build a hydroponic system and perform all of the maintenance that it requires.
Downsides to Coco Coir
Inert – coconut coir is inert, meaning that it has no nutrients within it. It may look like soil, but it is not soil. This means you will need to add hydroponic nutrients and control the pH when using coco coir. Growing in soil isn’t too different though, as many gardeners amend their soil constantly throughout the growing season anyways.
May need additional supplementation – you may find your plants short on calcium and magnesium when using coconut coir, so supplementing with “Cal-Mag” may be necessary.
Needs rehydration – most coco coir products are shipped in dry, compressed bricks. While this saves on shipping cost, it adds labor to your growing process as you’ll need to rehydrate them before you can use them in the garden. This isn’t too hard though!
Mixes can be expensive – garden suppliers know that coco coir can be annoying to work with sometimes, so they’ve started to offer coconut coir mixes. This saves a lot of time, but is pretty expensive — and making your own mix isn’t too difficult.
Types of Coco Coir
When you buy a coconut coir product, you’re really buying three types of coconut coir: the fiber, the pith (or coconut peat), or the coco chips.
Together, they provide a powerful growing medium. Apart, they have very specific benefits. Here’s a look at what each of them are.
Coco Pith or Coco Peat
A handful of coco peat.
The “peat” of coconut coir, this basically looks like finely ground coconut or peat moss. It’s so small and absorbent that if you were to use coco peat as your only growing medium, you might drown out the roots of your plants. It must be aged properly to be used as a growing media, as it can let out salts that will kill your plant if you’re not careful. Choosing a coconut coir manufacturer that ages properly is thus crucial for good growing.
Unprocessed coconut fibers.
Coconut fiber adds air pockets into your medium. It’s not very absorbent, which is good because your growing media needs air pockets in order to provide oxygen to the root zone. Coconut fibers do break down rather quickly though, meaning the air pockets they create will also decrease over time.
Coconut chips are basically an natural type of expanded clay pellet. They’re just made from plant matter instead of clay! They are best thought of as a hybrid between coco peat and coco fiber. They’re large enough to create air pockets, but also absorb water so your plants won’t dehydrate completely.
When using coconut coir in the garden, it is vital that you use the right mixture of these three types for the best results.
How to Choose High Quality Coco Coir
The most important factors in high quality coco coir is how it is harvested, prepared, and processed. Because none of these factors are directly in your control, you have to pick suppliers that follow all of the best practices for coco coir production.
After the coir is separated from the coconuts, it’s stored in piles for a few years. This puts it at risk for pathogens due to the natural pH of coco coir. Most producers that experience this will chemically sterilize the coir so it’s ready for use in your garden. This has its risks as well — it can prematurely break down the fibers and peat.
The absolute best manufacturers of coconut coir will have an iron-grip on their product from harvest to shipping.
- 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
If that sounds like a lot to look out for…IT IS! Fortunately, you don’t have to do any of that. All you have to do is make sure that it was done, either by asking your local garden shop about the supplier’s practices, or by reading on below where I’ve answered most of these questions for you for each type of coconut coir product I review.
The Best Coco Coir For Your Garden
Now that you have an understanding of what coco coir is, how it’s processed and made, and what to look for when buying it, you’re armed with the info you need to make a good buying decision.
We’ve tested a lot of different brands and learned a lot simply through trial and error. Here are our findings, which you can take with a grain of salt (pun intended).
Top Pick: CANNA Coco or FoxFarm Coco Loco
CANNA Coco Brick 40l Expandable Natural Plant Medium Soil Substrate, 40 Liter Expanded – 8 Liter…
- Natural plant medium
- 40l expanded, 8l dry
Both CANNA and Fox Farm are top coconut coir providers.
Both of these brands are known for their quality across their entire product range. Both CANNA and FoxFarm tightly monitor the production of the coconut coir they use in their products, so you can be sure that it’s been properly aged, dried, and flushed of salts.
CANNA sells theirs in 40L expandable bricks, or 50L expanded bags. Which you choose depends on if you want to save a bit of money on shipping and have to rehydrate the medium after receiving it.
Fox Farm sells a 2cu ft. expanded bag that is my personal choice when using an expanded coconut coir medium.
Other Options for Compressed Coconut Coir Bricks
General Hydroponics CocoTek Bale Coco Growing Media, 5kg
- Consists of three different types of compressed…
- Low sodium content
- Alternative to sphagnum peat moss
Many first-time growers will opt for the cheaper compressed bricks, which is totally OK as long as it is properly rehydrated and prepared before use in the garden.
If you want to go with a compressed brick and can’t find the CANNA bricks, go with the General Hydroponics CocoTek Bale. It’s 5kg and contains a decent mix of coco pith and coco fibers. You don’t need to flush too much salt out of this product either, which is fantastic for first time growers.
Other Options for Expanded Coconut Coir Bags
B’Cuzz CocoFiber – 50 Liter Bag
- B’Cuzz CocoFiber
B’Cuzz Coco 50L bags are another good option if you can’t find CANNA or Fox Farm products in your area. They have a partnership with a Sri Lankan coir producer, meaning they have full control over the production process as well. It’s another great coir option.
If You Want Coco Chips…
Roots Organics Coco Chips Block, 4.5-Kilogram
- Has A Near Perfect Natural Ph Level For Optimum…
- Premium Aged And Composted For 24 Months And…
- Specifically Designed With Increased Fiber Content…
Go with this 4.5kg block of coco chips, or Coco Croutons in a 28-liter bag. These are a great addition to your garden if you need to add more aeration to your growing media and want to keep it in the coco coir family.
What Nutrients Do You Need for Coconut Coir?
Because coconut coir is an inert growing media, you will need to supplement your plants with additional nutrition. Remember — this is still hydroponic growing if you are only using coconut coir.
While many people say you need coco coir-specific nutrients, this isn’t absolutely necessary. You can get away with the standard General Hydroponics Flora series, a pH testing kit, and some Calimagic calcium + magnesium supplement.
If you want to mix it up and try something more coco coir specific, there are two options for you to try. These may be good options to pair with the matching coconut coir brand you’ve purchased:
- CANNA Coco A + B + Calimagic
- Fox Farms Nutrient Trio + Calimagic
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383 SharesThere’s a lot of discussion going on over which soil conditioner is best for your garden: sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir? Sustainability is part of the discussion. Effectiveness is another.
Truth is both are great additions to garden soil. Both are natural and plant based. Both help break up heavy, clay soils and improve water retention in sandy soils. Each has its own list of beneficial nutrients it adds to the soil. Both encourage natural beneficial microbial populations.
Both, also, have drawbacks. And that’s where the discussion comes in, on both the small drawbacks that can be compensated and the larger ones that can’t.
Coir, in its various forms, is the relative newcomer to the garden. Long popular with hydroponic growers for its water retention, its deterrence of fungus gnats and certain diseases, and its root-supporting structure, it carries these positives into the garden where it functions much like sphagnum moss.
Made of 100% pure compressed coconut husk fibers, Roots Organics® Coco Peat is a terrific addition to your planting mixes, possessing a near perfect natural pH level of 5.2-6.3 for ideal nutrient plant intake. Available in compressed 5kg blocks — makes around 2 cubic feet or 16 gallons (65-70 liters) of expanded media.
Indoor coir growers have long recycled their much-used hydroponic coir into their outdoor vegetable gardens and compost piles. It’s as good outside as in.
Coir and sphagnum peat both take up a lot of water. Coir retains water in the long run better than such growing mediums as perlite and rock wool, which suggests it will retain water longer in the garden as well. Both are excellent in trapping air in the soil, air that will benefit plant roots.
Coir pH usually runs 6 – 6.7, close to neutral. Adding coir will pretty much keep the pH of the soil you’re adding it to the same. Sphagnum tends to be acidic and is frequently used in potting of acid-loving ornamentals. Slight adjustments might be required. Of course, sphagnum makes only part of a complete soil mix, — rarely as much as a third as recommended in Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening soil formula — making small increment pH adjustments not so difficult.
Coir can be high in salts. Grown in ocean climates, it often picks up additional salts after harvest. Some growers recommend washing even brands that are pre-soaked to rid them of salts. Some brands are not only washed but composted, making for more balanced mineral delivery.
It’s been found that the high potassium content of coir can interfere with calcium uptake. Again, addition of calcium amendments can take care of this problem in garden soils.
A study (link no longer active) from Utah State University found that in straight hydroponic growing situations (soilless, just peat or coir, both combined with perlite for drainage, and nutrient solution) found “poor plant growth in coir,” a result that’s contradicted by the success of all sorts of indoor growers using coir. “No brand (of coir) performed consistently better than sphagnum peat,” it concludes.
While we suggest a little care before it’s used and certain supplementation to boost calcium levels, if necessary, we don’t think, as the study recommends, the differences it discovered between peat and coir suggest coir be used “in great caution.” Here great caution seems to mean without amendment or supplementation.
Hydroponics is one thing. Mixing it with garden soil makes for a completely different proposition.
The one drawback that’s difficult to get over is one regarding peat moss and its sustainability. Peat moss is harvested from bogs that have taken hundreds, if not thousands of years to form as dead plant material piled on dead plant material. Once harvested, it’s not coming back anytime soon. Coir comes from the shell and fibers of coconuts. It’s renewable.
And this is where the heart of the discussions lay. If coir is renewable, and peat is not, why not use coir, despite its minor drawbacks? After all, peat has drawbacks — its acidity and ability to “trap” water in outdoor soils, making them mucky — as well.
A natural, organic soil conditioner! Black Gold® Organic Peat Moss is an excellent all-purpose potting mix ingredient and soil amendment. Contains a unique cell structure that helps regulate moisture and air around plant roots creating an ideal growing environment.
Not everyone considers peat unsustainable. The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, in it’s “Industry Social Responsibility Report” from 2014 makes an argument that peat is a resource they’re protecting. In a well-circulated piece (among peat lovers anyway) that used CSPMA’s figures, Jeff Ball at Garden Rant made a case that peat is renewable:
Here are the simple facts: Canada has over 270 million acres of peat bogs which produce peat moss. Each year the peat moss industry harvests only 40,000 acres of peat moss mostly for horticultural use. If you do the math that comes to one of every 6,000 acres of peat moss is harvested each year. And here is the cherry on top. Peat bogs are living entities. The peat bogs grow 70% more peat moss each year than is harvested. With that data I consider peat definitely a renewable resource.
On the other side, the Oregon State University Extension Service makes a good case, based on sustainability, for using coir instead of peat. It quotes other studies that examined the effectiveness of sphagnum peat and coir:
Researchers at Auburn University and University of Arkansas compared peat and coir as soil amendments for horticulture. They found that coir performed on par with peat.
The third way here is to use less sphagnum moss if you’re using it at all. Square-foot gardener Bartholomew states that his efficient, small space gardening methods justify the use of peat in his soil formula. The peat industry has looked at combining sphagnum with other products in ways that maintain its effectiveness in smaller amounts. Sphagnum peat moss is found in better brands of potting soil.
We’d be curious to hear what you think. Do you think peat can be wisely managed, renewable or not? What’s been your growing experience with coir? Let’s us know here, or over at our Facebook page.
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Coir (pronounced COY-er) comes from coconuts. It’s what makes up the fibrous husks of the inner shell of the coconut and is used for all sorts of products, including rugs, ropes, brushes, and even upholstery stuffing. You’re probably most familiar with it as those stiff, scratchy doormats and the fibrous liners used in hanging baskets. Coir is very rot-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor products. It is also becoming increasingly popular as a potting mix and organic soil amendment.
For a coconut by-product, coir takes a good amount of effort to get to market. The outer husks are soaked until the fibers can be separated and then cleaned. Then they have to be sorted and graded by size. Dark brown coir is from the familiar mature coconuts, but there is also a white version. White coir is from immature, green coconuts and is finer and softer. Some manufacturers also dye the fibers.
Coir goes by many names. You may find it labeled as coir-peat, coco-peat, coir fiber pith, coir dust, and other similar-sounding brand names.
Horticultural coir is a peat-like substance that is used in gardening and agriculture. It is made from the pith found between the fibers. The coir pith gets washed, heat-treated, sieved to remove large particles, and graded. Very often it is compressed into blocks or bricks, which need to be soaked before using. You may also find bags or bales of coir. They can be hard to locate, but as coir becomes more mainstream, it should become more accessible and affordable.
The Pros And Cons Of Growing In Coco Coir
Many hydroponic and soil growers prefer coco coir for a variety of reasons, but you have to keep track of important details to maintain your grow. Details such as how the medium is made, its general properties, and what coco coir nutrients are needed to keep your crop healthy. Managing nutrients is particularly important when working with coir.
Here are all the facts you need to know about this grow medium, plus how Advanced Nutrients makes it easy to manage pH and nutrient balance for your coco coir-grown plants.In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is coco coir and how is it produced?
- The basic types of coco coir
- The advantages and disadvantages for growing in this medium
- What coco coir nutrients are necessary for hearty growth
What Is Coco Coir And How Is It Made?
Coco coir is a byproduct of coconut fiber. It was first used in gardening in the West in the 19th century, but fell out of favor because the low-quality coco available at the time degraded when used for short-term growing. Toward the end of the 20th century, it was rediscovered as an organic, environmentally sustainable substrate when new production methods made it possible to create hardier product.
Coco coir is manufactured using fiber that’s torn from coconut shells. The tiny grains of coir are extracted from the coconut shell and pulverized into a packable growing substrate. First, the coconuts go through the retting process, a curing method that naturally decomposes the husk’s pulp. Traditionally, coconut husks were immersed in water for six months or longer to decompose. Today, the retting process can be completed in a little over a week using modern mechanical techniques.
Next, the coconut fiber is removed from the shells by steel combs, in a process known as defibering.
Once the fiber, or coir, is gathered from the husk, it’s then dried, pressed into bricks, discs, coir pots. or bagged as a loose mulch. In this dried, processed state, the coir is ready to sell and use.
Basic Types Of Coco Coir
There are three basic types of processed coco coir: pith, fiber or chips. Using a mixture of the different types has its benefits.
Coco pith, or peat, looks similar to peat moss but is a rich, brown color. The density of this product means it retains water extremely well — so for this reason, you might not want to use just coco peat, because it could swamp the roots of your plants.
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. However, it is hardy enough for reuse.
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’re an experienced grower, you can prepare your own mixtures from these different types of coco coir, but companies provide premixed products to eliminate all the hassle of doing it yourself. Dried bricks are common — all you have to do is add water — but most coco in brick form tends to be of a lower unprocessed quality.
The Benefits Of Using Coconut Coir
Let’s take a moment to cover the pros of this grow medium.
Quick harvests and big yields: When used for drain-to-waste growing, coco coir gives excellent results. With the right coco coir nutrients in your water bath, your plants spend less time searching for food and more time growing. Learn more about using the right coco coir nutrients here.
Plenty of room for the root system: Coco coir offers a rare combination of excellent water retention, reliable drainage and ideal aeration. It gives the roots plenty of room, allowing for optimum air exposure.
pH-neutral value: Coco coir has a neutral pH range of 5.2–6.8, but you’ll still need nutrient support because this range will fluctuate over time. Learn why maintaining a balanced coco coir pH is so important here.
Minimizes harmful pathogens and reduces the risk of pests: This medium boasts antifungal properties, which keeps the roots happy. It can repel some pests, meaning your grow is easier to maintain. (If you’ve experienced plant pests or diseases in the past, here are some plant protection tips to help up your game.)
Environmentally conscious product: On average, a coconut tree produces 150 coconuts annually. Coco coir uses parts of the fruit that used to go to waste.
Reusable medium: When properly treated, coco coir can be reused. It’s durable, but you need to make sure you prep it correctly for the next growth cycle to guarantee a hearty crop.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Coco Coir?
Any grow medium has its limitations, and you have to understand the traits of coco coir to ensure you develop the best crop possible.
Possible high salt content: Make sure you research how the coco medium you choose is produced. If the husks were soaked in salt water, confirm it was rinsed with fresh water by the manufacturer, or learn how to properly do it yourself.
Chemical treatment: At the end of the drying process, coir bales might be treated with chemical agents to ensure pathogens didn’t bloom inside. Learning how it was treated may help you manage your crop, since the chemical residue could affect plant growth. Read the product label or refer to the manufacturer’s website to learn more.
Can lock out calcium, magnesium and iron: Because of its high cation exchange rate, coco coir stores and releases nutrients as needed, but it tends to hold calcium, magnesium and iron. This means you’ll need use specific coco coir nutrients to boost Ca, Mg and Fe levels for healthy crops.
Coco Coir Features That May Be A Pro Or A Con
Coco must be fed daily. In order to overcome the cation exchange capacity of the coco, it is still important to use a coco-specific nutrient, but you also want to feed quicker than the coco can negatively react with the nutrients. Coco is extremely difficult to overwater, holding on to oxygen even when drenched, so some hand-watering soil growers may find coco requires more work. However, commercial growers often love this feature because they can connect automated drip lines to the plants.
Use Advanced Nutrients For Coco Coir Grow To Get The Best Results
Because of the complexities of the coco coir medium, you have to use reliable nutrients to protect your crops. Thankfully, the 25 Ph.D.’s at our lab have discovered the missing link to unlock coco coir’s grow potential.
Most nutrients on the market deliver extra Ca and Mg for coco coir growing. But our researchers have found that the missing piece of the coco puzzle is iron. Not only do your plants need extra Ca and Mg when using coir, but they also need extra iron, because the coir also chemically binds to iron. If you’ve used standard coco fertilizers in the past, your plants probably struggled and produced a disappointing yield.
Whether you need help with your bloom or grow cycle, Advanced Nutrients has a coco formula for you. Base nutrient blends like pH Perfect Sensi Coco Grow A & B and pH Perfect Sensi Coco Bloom A & B are specially designed to enhance growth when using coco coir. Our pH Perfect ingredients combine to make an all-in-one balanced solution, so you can throw away your pH pens and meters, because our scientific formula manages all the details for you.
Take a moment to browse our coco coir nutrients to make your next grow easier and more productive. To boost your harvest, Big Bud® Coco is the missing link you need to build flower mass, size and potency. Plus, most Advanced Nutrients products are coco coir safe. Just look for the coco coir safe symbol on the bottle, or check the ingredients label for more details.
If you need more help with your coco coir grow, use our Advanced Nutrients Calculator or the BudLabs app. These tools make the science of growing easier, resulting in better yields and premium products. Finally, take a minute to learn the secrets of a proper feeding cycle when using a coco coir nutrients schedule.
Unleash The Power Of Coco Coir Grow Medium
Once you understand these insider tips on how to work with coco coir, your crops will burst with green, sticky flowers, especially when using Advanced Nutrient products. Make sure to click on the links above to learn more about our products and check back soon for our next article on advancednutrients.com, which will cover the in and outs of reusing coco coir.
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Which plants grow in coco coir?
It is easy to regard Coco Coir as a ‘miracle’ growing medium, thanks to its many benefits and applications for indoor and outdoor gardening. However, whether a plant will be able to thrive in a part- or full coconut fibre substrate will depend on several factors – relating to both the growing medium and external factors outside of the gardener’s control.
While it is important to consider the specific care needs of the plant, you may first wish to determine whether coco coir will be able to provide the right growing environment. Below are some points to weigh up before beginning your gardening project.
Which type of coco coir should you use?
Coco coir manufactured for gardening is sold in three different forms: pith/peat, fibre and chips.
Coco coir peat
Coco peat is the most common form you’re likely to encounter. This is compacted, finely ground coconut husk, which most closely resembles soil or sphagnum peat moss. Coco peat is denser in volume compared with other varieties, meaning fewer naturally occurring air pockets will be present around the plant’s roots. As coco peat is also highly absorbent, there’s a distinct possibility that the plant may hold too much water and essentially ‘drown’ (or ‘choke’ if it’s not getting enough nitrogen and oxygen from the air).
Coco coir fibre
Coir fibre is precisely what it sounds like — a stringy bundle of coarse coconut husk. This form of coco coir will have a lot of empty space between the fibres. Consequently, excellent aeration is its defining trait. However, as the material tends to degrade over time, the ability for coir fibre to retain air will also decrease. Given the lack of overall density, coir fibre will also have a harder time holding on to water.
Coco coir chips
Coir chips are the coarsest form of coco coir. Unlike coir fibres, the chips are hewn roughly and have a large surface area, meaning a lot of water will be absorbed and retained. However, because coir chips are not tightly compacted, the volume of air between them is significant, so the substrate will be well aerated.
There are distinct benefits to growing plants in a substance which is not dense and tightly compacted. Because of the space available, plants have the room to grow larger, longer root systems, which in turn allows the plant to thrive by improving the ability to take in water and nutrients.
Coco coir quality
Coco coir is an industrially produced product: it goes through many processes and phases of manufacture before arriving at the store. As with all manufactured products, the quality of what the consumer receives will vary depending on the processes and raw materials used.
The quality of the coco coir you use will have a significant impact on a plant’s ability to thrive. Some of the characteristics of the substrate to consider are:
Coco coir salt content
To extract coco coir from coconuts, each coconut is washed in water — either in a lake, stream or river.
A river may contain high salt levels if it is subject to tidal flow. This salt is transferred from the river water to the coconut husks during the soaking process. Excess salt can have a negative effect on a plant’s health, so it needs to be removed.
Coconuts growing close to a sea or ocean may also contain elevated salt levels.
Salt in coir can be rinsed away with clean water. It will also separate from fibres during the ageing process, which lasts six months to a year.
Drying and compressing fibres
Coco coir can be dried mechanically, but the harshness of this method can increase the chances of coir fibres being damaged. Ideally, the fibres should be dried naturally in the sun.
Coir that has been dried and then compressed into bricks or bales will contain some damaged fibres and coir dust, meaning the final product will not be as ‘clean’ as you might like.
Waste coir can impact on plant growth. Unless it is sieved first, the dust and useless fibre will sit in the mixture, reducing the volume of air and water reaching the plant’s roots.
Unwanted moisture absorption and fibre contamination
If raw coco coir is stored incorrectly, unwanted moisture could be absorbed. Damp coir left in long-term storage will rot. This may invite unwanted contaminants and pathogens, such as mould or mildew.
If coir is kept for too long, it also exposes it to risk of infestation. If insects colonize the fibres, they will be damaged.
Coco coir can be chemically treated to prevent contamination or infestation. However, preventative chemical treatment can be harsh on the fibres. While it will reduce the chance of insect or fungal damage, the chemicals themselves can degrade cellulose in the fibres.
Steam treatment is considered to be a ‘kinder’ alternative.
Healthy coco coir substrate
Coco coir is an inert growing substance, with a pH level near neutral. It is essentially a ‘blank slate’ for anything put into it. This suits some plants, but not all will thrive unless this balance is altered slightly.
As a result, many gardeners will not use coco coir alone; the substrate will often be a mixture of coir with another substrate, such as regular soil or perlite.
Mixing coir with another substrate will reduce the amount of coir being used at any one time, and gives the plant an opportunity to grow in a nutritionally richer environment.
As a result of mixing, the pH balance of the substrate may become more acidic or alkaline.
The substrate’s salt content may also change depending on the amount of nutrients and coco coir added to the mixture. Excess salt can be removed by flushing the mixture with distilled water, although you will run the risk of losing useful nutrients.
If a ‘blank slate’ is not the desired option, reusing coconut coir from another project can be a boon for new plants. Coconut coir will retain ‘good’ microorganisms, such as variants of the Trichoderma fungus, while also protecting against harmful pests, weeds and bacteria. However, if you wish to keep these elements it is best to avoid anti-pathogen treatments.
What Is Coconut Coir: Tips On Using Coconut Coir As Mulch
Using coconut coir as mulch is an environmentally friendly alternative to non-renewable mulches, such as peat moss. This important point, however, only scratches the surface when it comes to coir mulch benefits. Let’s learn the reasons why using coir for mulch is a great idea for many gardeners.
Coconut fiber, or coir, a natural waste product resulting from the processing of coconuts, comes from the outer shell of the coconut husks. The fibers are separated, cleaned, sorted and graded before shipping.
Coir mulch uses include brushes, ropes, upholstery stuffing and doormats. In recent years, coir has become widely used by gardeners as a mulch, soil amendment and potting soil ingredient.
Coir Mulch Benefits
- Renewability – Coir mulch is a renewable resource, unlike peat moss, which comes from non-renewable, diminishing peat bogs. Additionally, peat mining is not environmentally friendly, while harvesting of coir poses no threat to the environment. The downside is that although coir mulch is a sustainable industry, there is concern about the energy used to transport the mulch from its point of origin in places like Sri Lanka, India, Mexico and the Philippines.
- Water retention – Coir mulch holds 30 percent more water than peat. It absorbs water easily and drains well. This is an important benefit in drought-plagued areas, as use of mulch may reduce water use in the garden by as much as 50 percent.
- Compost – Coir, which is rich in carbon, is a useful addition to the compost pile, helping to balance nitrogen-rich materials like grass clippings and kitchen waste. Add coir to the compost pile at a rate of two parts coir to one part green material, or use equal parts coir and brown material.
- Soil amendment – Coir is a versatile substance used to improve difficult soil. For example, coir mulch helps sandy soil retain nutrients and moisture. As an amendment for clay-based soil, coir improves soil quality, preventing compaction and allowing freer movement of moisture and nutrients.
- Soil pH – Coir has a near-neutral pH level of 5.5 to 6.8, unlike peat, which is highly acidic with a pH of 3.5 to 4.5. This is an ideal pH for most plants, with the exception of acid-loving plants like rhododendron, blueberries and azaleas.
Using Coconut Coir as Mulch
Coir mulch is available in tightly compressed bricks or bales. Although coir mulch is easy to apply, it’s necessary to soften the bricks first by soaking them in water for at least 15 minutes.
Use a large container for soaking coir, as the size will increase by five to seven times. A large bucket is adequate for a brick, but soaking a bale requires a container such as a large garbage can, wheelbarrow or a plastic small wading pool.
Once the coir has been soaked, applying coir mulch is really no different than using peat or bark mulch. A layer 2 to 3 inches thick is adequate, although you may want to use more to keep weeds in check. If weeds are a serious concern, consider using landscape cloth or other barrier under the mulch.
(Pssst. This post is from 2015. I’m not pregnant anymore.) 😉
I’m back from the dead.
Or at least that’s what it feels like, especially if dead = first trimester.
That’s right, there’ll be a new Prairie Kid on the homestead come October.
The funny thing about me and the first trimester (actually, funny really isn’t the right word…) is that my personality pretty much completely changes…
I go from this hyper-motivated, homesteading, business-running, gardening, cow-milking mama who loves life and loves activity, to someone who really doesn’t care about much of anything, can’t open the refrigerator without dry-heaving, and can barely get off the couch.
So yeah, it’s safe to say there wasn’t much from-scratch cooking happening in my kitchen these last few months. Which explains the lack of recipes here on the blog. I don’t even want to tell you what I’ve been eating. It’s all-about survival-mode, baby…
BUT, I’m officially 14 weeks and I think I’ve finally turned the corner. And let me tell ya, I’m ready to roll off the couch and get back to being my hyper, dig-in-the-dirt, cooking-up-a-storm self.
And what better way to celebrate finally feeling better, than… homemade potting soil. Am I right?
I’ve always kinda cringed when I’ve thrown those green and yellow bags of potting soil in my shopping cart at the garden store. I figured there was a better way, but never took the time to figure it out… Until now.
Thankfully, my homemade potting soil recipe is pretty darn easy to throw together. And it’ll save you some $$ too.
Why These Ingredients for My Homemade Potting Soil Recipe?
Truthfully, mixing your own homemade potting soil recipe isn’t rocket science, and there are plenty of ways to make it happen. A good potting mix will:
- Be firm enough to support the plant
- Be light enough to allow air/water to flow with minimal compaction
- Be free of weed seeds and potential pathogens
But here is why I chose the ingredients I did:
Coconut Coir: Many DIY potting mix recipes call for peat moss, but since there is so much debate regarding mining from peat bogs, I decided to steer clear of it and opt for coir instead. Coconut coir is a by-product of the coconut-processing industry, and is basically ground-up coconut husk fibers. It is a fantastic choice for soil-less potting mix, as it retains water beautifully. I got mine in a big brick, and had to soak it in water before it was ready to use. You can substitute it 1:1 for peat moss in potting soil recipes
Perlite: Perlite is a lightweight volcanic rock. It holds water and helps to aerate the soil and keep it from compacting. Some people also use vermiculite or plain ol’ coarse sand in place of perlite in homemade potting soil recipes, too.
Compost: Well, you know what compost is, so I really don’t have to explain this one. Compost adds nutrients to the soil and it’s usually pretty much free if you make it at home yourself. Just make sure to use finished compost to avoid “burning” your plants or introducing weed seeds into your pots. Also, I used the finest compost I could find in my pile– you may need to sift yours if you have chunky stuff. Worm castings are another great option here.
What about Dirt?
Sorry… I meant to say soil. (I always get at least one reader correcting me when I call it dirt instead of soil.) 😉 You can absolutely use regular ol’ soil in your potting mix, and many folks do. However, it’s advised to sterilize the soil first, to eliminate weeds and potential pathogens. This can be accomplished by baking the soil at 200 degrees in your oven.
Why didn’t I do this? Because I could only imagine the mess I’d make trying to bake 10 gallons of dirt (er… soil) inside my kitchen… It just didn’t sound like fun, so I opted for coconut coir instead. Also– using straight soil in your pots can open you up to issues with compaction. So, even if you *do* decide to use sterilized soil, make sure to add some sand or other lightener in there, too.
Homemade Potting Soil Recipe
(this post contains affiliate links)
- 2 parts* coconut coir (where to buy)
- 1 part finished, sifted compost
- 1 part perlite (where to buy)
*a “part” can be anything you like– a measuring cup, a coffee can, a five-gallon bucket, etc. It just depends on how much potting soil you want to make.
If your coir came in a block, you’ll need to hydrate it.
I did this by allowing the coir “brick” to sit in water until I was able to break it apart. I then added more water until it was easy to flake apart in my hands and very moist.
Next, mix the coir and compost. Add more water if you need too– I found it much easier to handle/mix if the mixture was damp.
Add in the perlite, give it a stir, and you’re ready to go!
Use your Homemade potting soil recipe like you would store-bought mix.
DIY Potting Soil Recipe Notes:
- Keep in mind this recipe is super flexible and lends itself well to substitutions. In some of the other recipes I’ve seen, people substituted sterilized soil or peat moss for the coconut coir, vermiculite or coarse sand for the perlite, and all sorts of different fertilizers (kelp meal, bone meal, blood meal, worm castings) for the compost.
- This stuff is mucho easier to mix if it’s damp.
- How does it compare in price? I paid $15.96 for an 11-lb brick of coconut coir in Amazon and $16.70 for a bag (18-quarts) of perlite. My local garden stores are pretty dismal when it comes to specialty ingredients, so it was unlikely I could have found those things here. The compost was free. Considering I only used a fraction of my ingredients for my first batch, they should last me for a while… And if you substituted coarse sand or sterilized soil, this homemade potting soil recipe would be even cheaper.
More Gardening Tips:
- 7 Simple Ways to Improve Garden Soil
- What We Learned by Having Our Garden Soil Tested
- How to Make Compost Tea
- How to Test Seeds for Viability
- How to Disinfect Seed Trays
Compressed Coconut Block
Coconut coir products are inexpensive, environmentally sustainable and really make your plants grow.
Coconut coir is a sustainable product produced from the Coconut Palm and is the best alternative to peat-based products. It can be used alone or in many customizable soil mixes. Those of us who have used coconut coir know how great it is and will surely convince growers to use this new growing medium.
The previous standard for growing was to buy a growing medium, grow with it, hope for bountiful blooms, and harvest delicious fruit and vegetables. Now what? Dump the old worn out growing medium and head back out to purchase more. As a retailer, this always is a plus for sales but what about our precious environment and your wasted money? We want all gardeners to choose a more sustainable route and reuse their old growing medium. If you want to reuse, increase your yields and save money then Coconut coir is the answer!
So what is the coconut craze all about? Coconut coir is the bi-product of, as I am sure you guessed, processing coconuts for the meat, milk and fibers. You have wiped your feet on coir doormat. Many places like Sri Lanka are rich in coconut byproducts and provide coir growing media to Europe, Japan and Australia…and more recently to the United States.
While many others around the world are still stuck on peat moss, it is a less desireable growing medium and is running out. Peat moss mining is unsustainable and detrimental to the environment. The growth rate of peat in bogs is thought to be between 0.5mm a year to 10cm a year. On the high end, this may seem fast but once the bog is trenched, all spreading of peat is obstructed and therefore stopped.
Coconut coir products sound much better now?
Three main horticultural products are derived from coconuts; coir peat, coir fiber, and coir chips. Each of these three can be used alone or mixed together to create the desired products for each grower’s specific needs. Coir peat is generally used for higher water retention due to millions of capillary micro-sponges that can absorb and hold up to, some say, ten times its own weight in water. The fiber and chips are added for drainage and less compaction. Any amount of each can be mixed and amended with other horticultural products like pumice to create the perfect growing medium for orchids, rare and weird succulents, houseplants and garden plants.
Coconut coir mixes promote large roots, stems, and blooms in comparison to regular potting mixes. Unlike standard potting soils, coconut coir is not easily compacted allowing many more air spaces for plants roots to develop and spread. A good root structure is promoted due to aerobic rhizospheres, biological enhancers essential for nutrient and water uptake. Also, coir has a high cation exchange capacity (CEC), how easily the medium gives up nutrients to the plant’s roots, making it ideal for all plant cultivation.
Non steamed coconut coir will retain its structural integrity and attributes over a long period of use. Over the useful life of coir, the capillary sponges will eventually become misshaped and smaller towards the 3rd and 4th cycle. They become more compact resulting in less air spaces and higher water retention requiring more careful watering techniques. This can be overcome with the use of pumice, perlite, or the addition of fresh coconut coir. In addition, good watering techniques and consistent monitoring of EC (electrical conductivity) will ensure a good product over many cycles. Coco coir is also a great medium due to its naturally high beneficial trichoderma fungi creating a disease resistant media promoting productive root development.
Before the coir is reused, it is important to properly prepare the media for the next round of growing. Begin by removing the dead root matter left in the growing medium from the previous cycle. This can easily be done in a number of ways. The easiest and most effective are using a sieve or screen and adding enzyme products. Dead roots remaining in the coir will create an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment promoting unwanted problems and decreased productivity. Once the roots and dead matter are removed, the coir should be rinsed with water or a low EC nutrient solution. This will bring the nutrient levels back into an acceptable range and create a high cation exchange capacity. Some will begin replanting while others will take it one step further and add beneficial microbes. These colonies, when the coir is used and cleaned correctly, will naturally improve with each use.
If you don’t want to reuse…don’t worry. Coconut coir is inexpensive, environmentally sustainable and available for many uses. We reuse it for mulching gardens.
After all that, don’t you want to use coconut coir immediately? We at Prococo Products along with many others around the world continue to have great success with coconut coir and keep finding more benefits with each use.
When you are growing green stuff, it is also important to “stay green.” We all know the importance of using ecologically sustainable materials to protect better and preserve planet earth and its fragile ecosystems.
This is where coconut coir really shines. Not only is it an excellent growing medium, but it is also very sustainable. And it is ideal for both regular gardens as well as hydroponics.
But unless you lived in places like Australia or India, you did not have access to good quality coco coir. Or at least, that used to be the case in the past.
In the last decade or so, high-quality horticultural grade coco coir is becoming a hot favorite in greenhouses and hydroponics grow operations across North America.
This is mainly down to the improved supply from places like Australia. If you love gardening or hydroponics, now is the time to consider using coco coir for your plants.
Our recommended coconut coir product.
Products Details Product Details
Coco Brick 40l Expandable Natural Plant Medium Soil Substrate
Organic compacted coconut bricks that work great as soil mixes or hydroponic/aquaponic growing medium.
What is coconut coir?
As the name suggests, coconut coir is an organic product derived from the coconut tree. It is a fiber sourced from the tough, dense husk inside coconuts.
You may not be aware of what coconut coir is or how it is made. But if you buy and use potting soil mixes, the chances are high that you have used this stuff in your gardens.
If you ever took a close look at your favorite potting mix, you may have seen brown, very fibrous looking particles. Those are coconut coir fragments.
In gardening, it is a popular additive to both garden soil and soil mixes. And in hydroponics, it is held in high regard as a very capable growing medium.
Coir is an incredibly tough and strong fiber that has been used in Asia for thousands of years. It is used for making ropes, rugs, brushes, doormats, and upholstery and mattress stuffing.
Along with durability against the elements, coconut coir is also resistant to rot and fungus. So it works well in situations where it comes in contact with water.
How is Coconut Coir made?
Structure of a coconut
Coconuts are made from tough, nearly invulnerable seeds of the coconut tree. The shell inside protects the core of nutrients and soft flesh.
This inner shell is reinforced by a thick layer of fibers, in the form of a husk. That husk is the source of coconut coir.
Once the coconuts are harvested from the tree, the fibers are separated from the nut or seed. Then it is soaked in either fresh water or salt water to soften it further.
Coir is unique among natural fibers. It is the only natural fiber that is resistant to break down in salt water.
But this also means that coir that has been processed in salt water often contains high levels of salts and sodium. So, care must be taken when choosing coir for gardening or hydroponics.
Coir processing is a time-intensive procedure, and bales of the fibers are often kept for years in storage. This increases the chance of growth of pathogens and other creatures in coir.
So many manufacturers tend to treat processed coir with either steam or chemicals to sanitize the product. But both processes can degrade the quality of coir.
So the best option is to look for a coir manufacturer that prevents the growth of harmful organisms altogether by using improved storage methods.
Types of Coconut Coir
Based on the maturity of the coir fibers at the time of harvest, coco coir can be of two types:
- White coir: this is made from young, immature fibers. It is less durable.
- Brown coir: made from mature fibers, this variety is stronger and more durable.
Brown coir is better for use in gardens and hydroponics due to its superior quality and strength.
If you take a look at some of the coir products in the market, you might end up feeling a bit confused. There are several variants of coir or coir-based products available for growers.
Basically, there are two major forms of coir fiber:
Coco coir brick
- Bricks or blocks: this is the dried and shrunken form. Before use, it needs to be soaked in water. This coir can absorb ten times its size in water. Though hard as a rock initially, the blocks will easily crumble and become workable when soaked.
- Loose form: this is the powdery, crumbled form of coir. It comes already hydrated and ready for use.
Some By-products of Coco Coir
A coco coir block contains the coir fiber in its complete form. But this material can be processed and separated into various forms. Each of these variants also has their own specialized purpose in gardening.
Coco coir fiber
- Coir Fibers: these are the fibers separated from the rest of the coir. Alone, they can help improve the air holding capacity of your hydroponic growing media. But they also degrade pretty quickly in water.
- Coir Pith: this is the spongy part of the coir, and it looks like fine tea leaves. It can hold a lot of water, but not much air. It is also called coco peat and is added to soil mixes or raised beds.
- Coir Dust: This is a specialty product. The dust is made by grinding up coir fibers and husk. If you grow exotic plants like orchids and anthuriums, this is a useful component.
- Coir Chips: these act as a natural alternative to clay pellets. But unlike the pellets, they will degrade naturally. They are very versatile because they can hold both air pockets as well as water.
How to Use Coco Coir in Gardening?
As a Garden Soil Additive
In outdoor gardening, coconut coir is an excellent addition to all types of soil. It has excellent water holding and aerating capabilities. It can either be used whole or as one of its above mentioned several byproducts.
In clayey soil, it has a lightening effect. In sandy soil, it helps retain water more efficiently. Generally, it helps improve soil drainage and water retention.
As a component in Soilless Potting Mixes
The same reasons that make it an excellent additive to garden soil also make coir a fantastic component in homemade soil mixes. Most major manufacturers these days add coir in some form to their mixes.
A Better Alternative To Peat Moss
Coco coir is increasingly viewed as a desirable alternative to peat moss. Peat bogs are a nonrenewable source of peat. Coir is a byproduct of coconut farming, which is a far more eco-friendly source.
Coir also has some clear advantages over peat. For starters, it is easier to manipulate and work with.
Coir also has a very neutral pH level, which makes it better for a wider variety of plants. This also means that coir teams up better with nutrients than peat.
While peat at times feels water resistant, coir practically acts like a sponge. It is better than peat in handling water.
How to use Coco Coir in Hydroponics
Coir has only one principal use in hydroponics: as a growing medium. But it is an excellent performer for this job.
If you are slowly transitioning towards hydroponics, coir is an excellent choice that can make the process easier. It behaves like potting soil, so you can create a hydroponics setup using regular pots.
You can either use coco coir as a standalone growing medium or mix with other media like perlite, hydroton with coco coir constitute a larger percentage. Say 90 – 10 (90% Coco Coir – 10% Perlite/Hydroton) to improve the mixture’s aeration. I usually place a layer of Hydroton/Perlite at the bottom of the mixture to help better aeration for the roots.
In advanced hydroponics, coir is a superior alternative to Rockwool. It has better air holding capacity, along with strong water absorption.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Coco Coir For Hydroponics
Ornamental grade coir is much cheaper than hydroponics grade coir. But it contains high amounts of salt and is useless for a hydroponics setup.
So when buying coir for hydroponics, always look for products that have been processed in freshwater. And you should also clean it at least once using a low EC nutrient solution just to be safe.
Brown fibers are generally considered better for hydroponic media, as they are more durable and long-lasting.
Pros and Cons of Coco Coir
Coco coir has the following advantages that make it a great additive/medium for growing things:
- It has a very neutral pH level
- It soaks up a lot of water and is excellent for hydration
- It helps with pest control
- It is sustainable and eco-friendly
- It is very porous and helps in soil aeration
- It is sterile and usually free from bacteria and fungi
- It decomposes slowly and lasts for a long time
But despite all these advantages, coir also has some noticeable flaws:
- It does not contain many nutrients (like calcium and magnesium)
- It is rather costly
- It is vulnerable to mineral build up
- It can get compacted easily
Despite its minor flaws, coir still remains a very potent addition to any horticulturist’s arsenal. In the past, lack of proper sources held back its widespread adaptation here in the States.
But now, that is no longer an excuse, due to improving supply from places like Australia and South Asia. And prices are also falling gradually as a result.
As a sustainable resource, we should try to use it in place of non-renewable materials like peat. Now is a great time to start adopting coir, be it for your garden or hydroponic system.
Coconut Fiber Types & Process of making coconut Fibre
Dinesh MJFollow Jan 30, 2016 · 4 min read Coconut supplier in tamilnadu
Its going to be an interesting topic that deals on coconut suppliers & exporters in India, Let’s see about the coconut fiber. As we know coconut has a botanically name called “Cocos nucifera” belongs to Palm family called “Arecaceae” and is abundantly grown across tamilnadu, kerala and around the tropical areas in the globe. coconut fiber is also widely used for various purposes across many industries. The commonly used name for coconut fiber is coir. coconut fiber plays a significant role with tender coconut suppliers in Tamilnadu
There are over 25 products that can be prepared with the coconut fiber are . They are Coir Yarn, Coir Ropes, Coir Mats, Coir Matting, Coir Tiles, Coir Mattings for Cricket Pitches, Coir Rugs, Coir Mourzouk, Coir Belts for industries, Coir Mattings for Roof Surface Cooling, Acoustic Barriers, Coir Geotextiles, Cocologs, Coir fibre beds (Cocobeds), Coir Composite Boards, Coir Fenders, Plant Climbers or Coco poles (Gardening Coir Grow Stick), Coir Baskets, Coco Pots (Moulded Coir Pots), Coir Fibre Discs (Tree Cover), Coco Chips (Husk Chips), Coco Peat, Coir Pith as Briquettes, Coco Lawn and much more. All these products plays key role with coconut coir suppliers & Coconut coir exporters in India.
When it comes to coconut coir exports across the world, India & Srilanka are taking the lead and then comes Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, & Thailand. There are basically two types of coconut fiber extracted from coconut husk at different stages of coconut.
Types of Coconut Fiber:
when coconut fiber is extracted from matured coconuts. They are naturally brown in color having a strong and thick nature and good abrasion resistance. This fiber is called Brown Fiber.
when coconut fiber is extracted from immature coconuts. They are naturally white in color having smooth and fine soft touch properties and it is also weaker than the brown fiber. This fiber is called White Fiber.
Process of making Coconut Fiber:
Making of coconut fiber and its products is a time-consuming process for coconut suppliers & coconut exporters. where different set techniques is being deriving the coconut fiber from the husk of the coconut. Coconut fruit is covered by coconut fiber over the strong husk layer. Coconut fiber is connected to strong husk pith that are chemically reactive.
Coconuts are picked at the right stages to cater the industry needs or the ripened coconut fallen on the ground is being collected and mounted in a specific where the next process of husking out would begin.
Now harvested coconut are divided in to categories and ripe coconuts are sent to the machinery or the laymen to begin the process of husking. The unripe coconuts are spread on the ground to dry for a month or more to obtain the level of maturing to husk out. All these husking process are nowadays made of sharp steel tip with opposite ejection handles to husk out the coconut fiber from the strong husk protected fruit.
Process of decomposing the husk’s pulp through natural & chemical process to separate the coir fiber is called retting. During this process husk are partially decomposed making it easier to separate the coconut Coir fiber & Coconut Coir Pith. Inorder to ret fully ripe coconut , Fresh water retting is used and inorder to ret green husk, Salt water retting is used.
Fresh water Retting:
Fully ripe husks are immersed in normal fresh water leaving it soaked for six month for the microbes to react and ease the process of retting.
Salt water Retting:
Green husks are immersed in artificially salinated water leaving it soaked for eight months or moo help completing the retting process.
But in modern days of retting, There is different methodology of retting process of coconut husk to defiber. that reduces months of retting in to days of retting.
For Fully Ripe Husk — mechanical process:
Fully ripe husk are crushed in the machine and retted only 7 to 10 days to start the process of separating the fiber. where the immature husk are dry milled for other purposes.
For Green Husk — mechanical process:
Green husk are crushed and dampened with water for one to two days and sent to defibering.
Manually workers use wooden mallets to beat on the pulp extracted after retting to defiber the pith and fiber, Now modern machines have steel drums with beater arms to separate the fiber and pith. Pith and Fiber are collected seperatly by using rotating steel drums. Later the fibers are cleaned by water and dried in the sun to extract clean fibers.
Later the fiber is sent to various industries and sub products are created like mentioned in the article. For more information related to coconut exports and coconut suppliers in tamilnadu. Please reach us on [email protected] or visit our blog