When you grow without soil, you have many options for grow mediums. That’s part of the fun of hydroponic gardening! There are many soilless substrates available to play with. Some popular options include perlite, clay pebbles, and peat moss. But one grow medium is becoming quite popular to use as soilless substrate and is widely available in indoor gardening shops all over: coconut coir.
Coconut Coir as a Grow Medium
Coconut coir is a lightweight, soilless grow medium made from the fibres found between a ripe coconut’s shell and outer surface. Because it’s a material that occurs in nature, it’s completely renewable and is therefore considered an excellent choice for environmental sustainability. Coconut coir is available in brick or block format which expand when water is added. Many growers choose to mix coconut coir with another grow medium such as perlite for added benefits.
Benefits of Coconut Coir
Coconut coir’s primary benefit that most growers boast about is its improved water retention ability, including its ability to be easily re-hydrated. At the same time, coconut coir also possesses aeration properties which is important in soilless growing. Because of these two factors, plants grown in coconut coir – or a coco coir mixture – experience stronger root and better health overall because of its neutral pH level.
This inert and sterile grow medium is bacteria free which will prevent plants from developing diseases, pest infestations, or fungus growth. Coconut coir has a natural composition of lignins, which are a natural polymer that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in gardening capacity.
For many growers, the fact that coconut coir is an entirely renewable resource is an important benefit to consider when choosing your grown medium. Its environmental sustainability often gives it the edge over other alternatives like peat moss.
Coconut coir is a great soilless substrate to use in a tray system when growing wheatgrass or microgreens. It can also be used in pot systems for growing vegetable plants including leafy salad greens. It works great in either passive or active hydroponic systems because you can count on its ability to retain moisture.
Learn more about the types of coconut coir products available for hydroponic gardening.