A Complete Guide for How to Use Coco Coir in the Garden
If you’ve been poking around gardening communities or nurseries, you may have seen or heard about coco coir, coco peat or even coconut soil. What is all the hype about this strange material that sounds like it belongs on the expensive perfume shelf at your department store?
How to use coco coir – When it comes to gardening, there are many uses for coco coir and its other derivatives, like coco soil, coco bricks, and more. We love to use it as a substitute for peat moss and sphagnum moss, because it is easier to handle, and is a renewable resource – all positives in our eyes. Coco coir can also be used in hydroponics, as a soilless growing medium for houseplants, and even on moss poles. If you are keen to start using coco coir in your gardening practices, continue reading on for detailed instructions o how to use coco peat.
In this article we’re going to step you through the processes of using coconut coir products in a variety of applications in your garden. We’ll provide detailed instructions on best practices for coco coir, and also answer some general care questions once you have prepared the growing medium.
However, before we get into the guide, we need to clarify one thing – what is the difference between coco coir, coco peat, and all the other ‘coco’ related products?
Coco Coir vs Coco Peat and More
You may have picked up on the fact that we used coco coir and coco peat interchangeably. This is because they are the same thing. They are made from the same material, and are used for the same purposes. The only difference is the name, which generally changes depending on where you live.
There are different forms that coco coir can be sold and used, each for a different purpose. We go into more detail into the different types of coco coir in our article coco peat vs coco coir.
How to use Coco Coir
As we mentioned earlier, coco coir has so many applications in the gardening space. It really is one of those wonder materials that makes you wonder how you ever gardened without it!
Let’s take a closer look at how we like to use coco coir.
How to Use Coco Coir Bricks
A popular way coco coir is sold is in brick form. It makes sense, because it is easy to store and makes it convenient to transport.
As easy as it is to purchase your first coco coir brick, it can be a little stupefying working out how to use it. What are you supposed to do with the brick once you get it home? How do you rehydrate a coco coir brick?
Don’t worry – we all need to start somewhere. Here’s a quick rundown of the next steps for using coco coir bricks.
How to prepare coco coir bricks:
- Grab a large container (roughly 8-10 times the size of the coco coir brick)
- Fill the container halfway up with warm water and place the brick in the container. You will notice the brick begins to immediately absorb the water and breakdown. Leave the brick to absorb the water for 30 minutes.
- Upon your return to the container, assess if the coco coir brick needs more water (it most likely will require more water) and top up as required, small bits at a time. The texture of the coco coir you are aiming for is a lightly moist, fluffy growing medium.
- Once you have achieved the desired texture, your coco coir is ready to use.
It can be a bit messy towards the end, when you have coco coir mixed in with excess water. If that isn’t your cup of tea, check how MediaMaker2000 rehydrates his coco coir bricks using buckets with holes drilled into the bottom.
How to Use Coco Coir for Houseplants
Would you believe there is no houseplant in our home that isn’t using coco coir in some shape or form?
Our primary use for coco coir is the primary lead in our soilless indoor plant potting soil, mainly due to it’s moisture retention capabilties. We use a specific recipe of coco coir, perlite and vermiculite with slow release fertilizer pellets sprinkled through. Check out our exact recipe in our guide for making your own DIY indoor plant soil.
To use coco coir for houseplants follow these steps:
- rehydrate your coco coir bricks (discussed above)
- break apart the coco coir with your hands and begin to mix through the perlite and vermiculite until you have a well-blended mixture.
- It is now time to add your slow release fertilizer pellets. Ensure the pellets are evening mixed through your coco coir mixture
- Immediately use by filling your containers with the soil and setting your plants.
- Finally, give your newly potted plant a healthy watering, to make sure any excess water drains from the drainage holes.
How to Use Coco Coir Totem Pole
Another popular way coco coir can be used is similarly to peat moss poles.
Given the fantastic water absorption properties coco coir possesses, it can readily substitute for peat or sphagnum moss on moss poles.
Instead of the coco coir soil, we will be using long coconut coir fibers, so that they can be easily wrapped and attached to the totem pole.
To construct the coco coir totem pole:
- Grab your totem pole (can be PCV piping or a wooden stake)
- Ball up a bunch of coconut fiber and place at the top of the totem pole
- Using gardening twine, wrap and attach the ball of fibers to the top of pole, to use as an anchor
- now carefully wrap more fibrous material around the pole, producing a thick layer of coco coir that is approximately 2 inches thick
- Use the twine to continue securing the coco coir to the pole, until the entire pole is covered.
Here’s a quick video by ThePlantGarage.com showing how he constructed a Coco coir totem pole for his Monstera Adansonii.
How to Use Coco Coir in Hydroponics
The final use we’ll discuss for coco coir is its role in a hydroponic gardening.
For those who are unfamiliar with hydroponics, it is a method of growing plants and vegetables using only water and added essential nutrients.
You may be wondering how coco coir factors into the hydroponic garden if only water is required? Even though the entire system relies solely on water, the plants and vegetables still require a potting medium to support them (and the plant roots) while they grow.
Coco coir products are perfect to use for this growing medium, because they are odorless, neutral, completely 100% organic and have perfect water absorption capabilities.
To use coco coir in hydroponics, follow these steps:
- breakdown your coco coir into a useable form (refer to coco brick hydration process above)
- fill your hydroponics coir pots with the prepared coco coir, set your plant and insert into your hydroponics system
It is that simple.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section we attempt to answer all your ‘other’ questions that may not be addressed in the instruction guide.
If you can’t find an answer to your question, please send us a message via our CONTACT page. We will endeavor to respond with a timely answer, and include it in our growing FAQ section below.
How much water to use with one coco coir brick?
As a general rule of thumb, a coco coir brick can absorb approximately ten times its weight in water. Which is a testament to its water absorption capabilities. So, make sure to use a container big enough to house the coco coir once it is fully hydrated.
We recommend adding water that is approximately 7-8 times the weight of your coco brick, and then begin topping up with more water as required. This way, you can prevent a mess when you go to use it.
How to use coco coir for seedlings and germination?
Since all seeds require is water, light and the right temperature conditions to sprout, coco coir is one of the best seedling growing mediums available.
It is as simple as hydrating your coco coir, fluffing it up and planting your seedlings in the growing medium. Keep it in ideal temperature and lighting conditions, and you’ll be seeing those cotyledons in no time.