Regardless of what type of plants you grow, you have surely heard how beneficial coco coir is. Gardeners love it because it the best replacement for peat moss, and it’s definitely an optimal environment for proper growth and development. However, those are not the only benefits it has.
My guide here will give you some practical direction on how to find the best coco coir mix for your plants. First of all, I shall explain what coco coir is. Then, I shall list a couple of interesting products I’ve discovered and I will tell you what to pay attention to when selecting.
Stay with me and keep reading!
- What is Coco Coir?
- 10 Best Coco Coir Products
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Coconut Coir
- What to Look for When Buying Coco Coir?
- Final Thoughts
What is Coco Coir?
Coconut consists of several parts. Coconut coir is everything in between the husk and the outside layer of the seed. You will find 2 types of fibers— brown and white. The former one derives from mature, ripe plants. It is pretty strong but doesn’t have much flexibility. White, on the other hand, comes from pre-ripe plants. This one is not as strong but is considerably more flexible.
The funny thing is that back then when these delicious plants were harvested, husk was discarded as a waste product. But, at some point in time, people realized that it can also be applied in some other fields. Lucky for us gardeners!
To create the coir for gardening purposes, you need to soak the coconut in either tidal or fresh water so that they become softer. This way, a large amount of salt is removed as well. After that, it is organized in bales, which are left to dry for about a year.
Then, those bales are chopped and formed into the products we can find today. As you will see, they come in different forms- like soil, bricks, and pellets. Plus, it is available as a pith/ peat, or in form of fibers.
10 Best Coco Coir Products
1. Coco Bliss Premium
100% Organic Coco Coir with Low EC
What the majority of gardeners take as an imperative is that the products for their plants are natural, with as few chemicals as possible- preferably none. This one fulfills the criteria as it’s OMRI listed. That means it holds a certificate as an organic product. In addition to this, it provides the necessary aeration and drainage, minimizing the risks for roots to start rotting.
Containing nothing else but coconut pith and fibers, it’s an excellent substitute not only for peat moss but for perlite or rockwool as well. Moreover, it contains very low salt and EC levels, as it was repeatedly washed with fresh water. Plus, there are no weed seeds, dirt, or any other foreign material.
The only downside this product has is that it comes as a single brick. It is a bit tricky to cut, so make sure you have a sharp tool to divide it into smaller units. Other than that, there are no flaws. But, if soak it overnight, it will be much easier to handle.
- Organic and natural product
- Excellent replacement for peat moss
- Free from dirt and foreign material
- A bit harder to cut
2. GROW!T JSCPB
Suitable for Indoor and Outdoor Plants
One of the best features of this product is that it’s very simple to use. Just cut the part you need, add water and that’s it. The great thing is that it holds water well, but without risks of over-saturating. Speaking of, the color itself will “tell” you whether the time has come to water it again.
Aside from excellent drainage properties, it provides enough aeration, so your plants will be able to breathe properly. Designed to protect the plants all year long, it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor plants. Moreover, it’s free from pathogens and seeds, so you can be at ease knowing that you are using a safe and natural product for your lovely green friends.
While exploring the products, I’ve noticed that many users complain about the measurements. This is very important as you need to know which amount of water is required. However, this manufacturer is not the only one vague on these data, it’s more or less a common issue for all cococoir products.
- Organic product
- Contains no seeds
- Improved aeration and drainage
- Measurements of the bricks are not accurate
3. Grow Organiks Coco Coir Pith
Reusable Coco Coir with Low EC Level and Neutral pH Range
Presented as 100% natural and organic, this product is made of sustainable coir fiber collected from the outer shells of coconut. Thoroughly washed a couple of times, this growing medium has low levels of EC and its pH range is neutral.
What’s even more, you can re-use it. All you need to do is clean it and it will be as good as new. Therefore, it’s a cost-saving choice. Just like the majority of others, it comes as a dehydrated product, so you should hydrate it before you use it. Follow the instruction on the package.
It doesn’t happen every time, but still, I feel obliged to mention it. Some customers who have already purchased this product before noticed the quality has diminished a bit. They reported some foul smell and some even spotted grass, branches, and bark. Perhaps one of the batches had some issues, but it’s nice to be aware of this.
- OMRI-listed as an organic product
- Pathogen free
- Neutral PH range, low EC
- Some customers reported a funky smell after hydrating the brick
4. ECO-COIR Compressed Coco Fiber
Eco-Friendly Coco Potting Soil
Being a natural coconut harvest byproduct, this growing medium is a natural one and hence safe for your dear green friends. If you use it properly, your plants will experience the same benefits as with using perlite.
In addition to this, the majority of users said this product is extremely lightweight and fluffy, so preparing it for further usage will be a piece of cake. As far as the instructions say, the average expansion is around 18-20 gallons.
Plus, it is rich in nutrients, so you can rest assure your plants are getting what they need to develop optimally. Also, it has excellent drainage properties and water holding capacity. This means that the soil won’t drain too rapidly, but won’t be overly moist too long either.
It shares the same “flaw” with some other products on my list- distinctive smell. Just like I said, sometimes the reason could be a lower quality batch or inadequate storage, but it could happen that a manufacturer has added some components which impact the odor.
- 100% natural byproduct of coconut
- Good water absorption
- Rich in nutrients
- Pungent odor
5. Thunder Acres Coco Coir Brick
Natural Coco Coir with Great Aeration
If you are looking for a good alternative for peat moss, coco soil is just the thing. Completely organic and renewable, it’s an excellent choice for your plants and their proper development. You can use it not only as a soil amendment but as a germination medium as well. Some even use it as a composting toilet.
It is light and fluffy, so the roots will be aerated properly, which means no rotting. Unlike peat moss, this medium doesn’t attract so many gnats- in fact, they stay away from coco coir.
Some users had a problem cutting it into smaller units, they say it’s compressed too hard. Just soak it in water and leave it long enough to soften. As far as the instructions state, you should let warm water run until around ¾ of the container is full. And yes, bear in mind that this brick can expand up to 8 times its size, so make sure the bowl is large enough.
- An excellent substitute for peat moss
- Convenient to store
- Organic and renewable growing medium
- Hard compressed, tricky to cut
6. Minute Soil Compressed Coco Coir Fiber
Lightweight Coconut Coir in Small Pellets
If you are not a fan of those large bricks, no problem, coco coir soil comes in pellets as well. Pure and untreated, it has an OMRI seal as a completely organic product. To make those fluffy discs grow, you need one tablespoon of water. Do know that one disc can expand up to 15 times, so mind the size of the pot.
On top of that, it’s extremely simple to store- instead of a giant bag of leftover soil, you have a smaller package of dry pellets. So, no additional dirt around, you just take as many as you need, prepare it for use, and leave the rest for the next potting session.
Some gardeners noticed that this product features more fiber than the soil. While you can use it on its own, the downside is that it dries out rapidly when not combined with potting soil. Your plants would germinate and sprout, but won’t progress much as there’s not enough density. Mixing it with soil helps overcome this flaw.
- Lightweight product
- Rehydrates quickly
- It compacts when it dries out when not mixed with soil
7. Viagrow Coconut 11 lb Brick
Soilless, with Excellent Absorption
One of the benefits of using coco coir is that you provide your plants with much-needed root aeration. This was you significantly reduce the possibility of rotting. What’s even more, you boost nutrient retention, which will result in optimal growth and development.
As far as the instruction says, one brick gives up to 18 gallons of ready-to-use soilless media. That’s right, it’s a pure product, without potting soil. It is sustainable and renewable, which is of particular essence for gardeners. Also, say goodbye to fungus gnats if you opt for coco coir, they hate it.
Do make sure to measure the TDS – total dissolved solids after you soak it. Some consumers noticed the ppm is a bit higher. To reduce the level, you’ll just have to wash it a couple of times. Also, note that this variant has strands and tiny pieces, which matters if you have hydroponic nets.
- Sterile product
- Provides necessary aeration
- Great absorbing capacity
- Need to wash it a couple of times to reduce ppm (TDS)
8. Prococo CocoChip
Odor-Absorbing and Organic
Coming in the convenient form of small compressed chips, this one is extremely simple to use. You just soak it in water, wait until it expands, drain excess water and there you have it. Being a sustainable replacement for peat moss, coco coir mix is getting more and more popular.
Aside from serving as a good growing medium for plants, this one works as an animal bedding as well. In case you are a proud “parent” of some reptiles, snakes, turtles and so on, this might be the product you are looking for. As said on the label, it is odor-absorbing, so you won’t be bothered by unpleasant aromas all over the place. Also, it can be used as mulch for landscaping or even for playgrounds.
Despite the fact that the product is advertised as the one which resists mold and mildew, some users reported issues with mold. It’s not the issue all the customers had, still, it’s okay to be aware of such situations.
- Earth-friendly and odor absorbing
- 100% organic
- Works as animal bedding as well
- Issues with mold
9. Pure Coconut Coir Netted Seed Starting Pellets
Low Salt Levels and Excellent Aeration
Being a renewable resource, coconut coir is considered to be a superior replacement for peat moss in multiple ways. It has excellent water storing capacity but at the same time provides great aeration. Thanks to this feature, it significantly diminishes mold, reducing the possibility of rotting.
All you need to do is add water and plant, and the process is completed. The netting is biodegradable, so there will be no harmful particles inside when you put it in the soil.
While this one offers an extremely practical solution, some consumers reported that the roots didn’t penetrate through the bag. What’s even more, some said that it did not decompose after the six weeks, as the manufacturer stated. And cutting the bag causes more or less the same shock as when transplanting.
On the other hand, you can always cut the bags and use the coir only. That wouldn’t be a complete waste, but then again defeats the purpose of the product itself.
- Convenient to use
- Lower levels of salts
- Superior replacement for peat moss
- Roots won’t always penetrate through the bag
10. Zoo Med Eco Earth
Recyclable Coco Coir
As the name itself indicates, this one is also a multi-purposeful product. You can use it for plants but it is also suitable for insects, reptiles, amphibians, and other smaller animals. It comes in the form of compressed brick, so you put it in water to expand it. One brick will bring approximately 7 to 8 liters of substrate.
You can use it individually or make a coco coir soil mix by adding potting soil, depending on the types of plants you have. Moreover, this one absorbs and breaks down all the waste and odor, so say goodbye to unpleasant smells.
It shares the same disadvantage as many other products on my list- a bit hard to break apart. While breaking it, do expect plenty of dust, and some cleaning work after you finish. Then again, you DO end up with a more than satisfactory product, so it’s worth trying.
- Natural and organic
- Eco-friendly and renewable
- Can be used as bedding for reptiles and similar small animals
- A bit messy when you cut it
Advantages and Disadvantages of Coconut Coir
As with any product, coconut soil mix has its pluses and minuses.
To start with the positive sides, it is the best transition from traditional soil, because the structure is similar. Being able to retain moisture, it provides a good environment for proper development. At the same time, it allows proper aeration, so no issues with rotting. Finally, unlike peat moss, it’s an environmentally-friendly option, and it’s renewable.
On the downside, it lacks nutrients so you will have to supplement the plants additionally. Although it looks almost exactly the same as soil, it isn’t and it misses the soil’s number one feature- nourishing components. Bricks can be a bit trickier to divide.
What to Look for When Buying Coco Coir?
My list gave you various products, and the final decision is, of course, always up to you. As a general piece of advice, always buy products which come from reputable manufactures. You cannot impact the harvesting, nor the preparation procedure, that’s why you should stick with trustworthy brands.
Here are a couple of tips for you that will make the selection procedure even smoother.
Bricks VS Pellets VS Soil
Like I already mentioned, it comes in form of bricks, pellets, chips, and it can be either pith or fibers. Before you pick any of those, make sure you are familiar with the specific requirements of the plants.
Analyze pH and salt levels
The majority of products have a low or neutral pH level. That’s between 5.8 to 6.8, which is perfect for your plants. But, just in case, double-check it, because those with a higher pH may not be suitable for certain species.
Also, measure the salts. While most of them are free of salts or have an extremely low percentage of it, still a bit of inspection wouldn’t hurt. If it’s necessary, rinse it a couple of times before you use it, and this way you will reduce the levels.
Check the Price
Finally, compare the properties, overall quality, and prize. Bear in mind that the majority of coco coir mixes are reusable, which means you won’t have to buy them too often.
Just like with any other products you purchase for your plants, selecting the best one is not overly complicated, but it does require some of your time.
Just like you could see, all these growing mediums share more or less the same disadvantages, but despite these, you still get a decent product. I did my best to include as many options as I could, to cover versatile scenarios. Even for gardening aficionados who have some small animals.
If I were to choose which one’s best coco coir of all these I listed- then my final vote would go to Coco Bliss Premium. Why so? Well, there are several reasons:
First of all, it’s OMRI listed, which is of vital importance to those who use are certified, organic gardeners. Also, it has a lower EC and neutral pH level and provides excellent aeration. Yes, it is a bit tricky to deconstruct it, to say so, but once you prepare it, be sure that you will give your plant the best coco there is.
I hope my guide brought you some valuable insights and gave you some practical direction on what to look for when choosing a good growing medium for your plants.
Which one’s your favorite coco soil mix and why?
Hit the comments section below, I can’t wait to hear from you!