Coco Coir, also known as coco, is a growing medium made from the husks of a coconut. There are quite a few sources of coco on the market today. Some is pre-treated, some is washed and some is neither.
Natural untreated Coco coir can have a strong negative charge that will bind with positively charged elements in your nutrient solution (Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Manganese). How the coco was treated will determine how strong the negative charge is. Over time, this negative charge will break down and the coco coir will become much more neutral.
Pros of coco coir:
- Coco is a light and airy substrate that is great for accelerated root development.
- Coco can hold 5-10x its weight in water.
- Coco is naturally anti-microbial and free of unwanted pathogens.
- Plants grown in coco coir are very hard to overwater.
- Coco coir has a generally neutral pH (6-6.5) and doesn’t require any additional amendments.
Cons of coco coir:
- Coco is known to bind to positively charged elements, keeping them from the plants.
- Coco can dry out faster than other substrates, potentially requiring more frequent watering schedules.
- Coco can have a lot of variability in quality and consistency from different sources and batches.
- Coco can come with unwanted pests like fungus gnats.
Coco Coir Tips:
- Some sources of fresh Coco coir can demand higher levels of Calcium, Potassium and Iron compared to other substrates.
- Like with any potted plant, regularly check the pH and EC of your runoff to make sure nutrients are not over-accumulating in the root zone.