Coconut as a grow medium is becoming more and more popular beside the hobby gardeners, so in this article we will discuss in details the various properties of coconut fiber and its available packaging such as coconut soil, coconut board, coco brick and coco planting cube.
What you should know about coconut!
Coconut palm (Cocos nucufera) belongs to the class of monocots, the order of palm flowers and the family of palm trees. The plant from the Indian Ocean islands often grows to 25-30 meters, the canopy consists of 25-30 leaves of 3-6 meters width.
The fruit is the coconut which is shape as an egg, length is about 30 cm and the weight is 1-2 kg. Usually the yield is 50-100 cocos on one palm tree.
The coconut can be divided to 5 parts as shown in the picture.
Advantages of coconut compared with the soil:
- Looser,cleaner structure – stronger root development
- Good water retention – less irrigation required
- Naturally free from infections – no mold, no soil disease
- 100% natural – environmentally friendly growing medium
- It is more economical to produce than peat
Coconut preparation is done in 3 important steps, which are essential for using it as a quality growing medium.
The coconut can be divided into 3 ripening stages.
- 6-8 months – small in size, tender skin, soft coconut meat, tender and white coconut fibers.
- 8-12 months – Medium size, hard shell, moderately soft coconut flesh, medium matured brown fibers.
- 12 to 15 months – Large in size, hard in shell, hard coconut flesh, mature and brown coconut fibers.
The manufacurers process the fully riped coconuts to produce the best grow medium.
Coconut palm grows next to the see water, so coconut fiber has a high salt content. Due to its high salt content, coconut fiber may be above EC level 2, which is not suitable for horticulture.
Coconut soaking is part of the preparation process when coconut fibers are soaked in a special concrete pool filled with sweet or salt water for 6-8 months. During this time the microorganisms break down the plant tissues, so the fibers are easily separated and the ideal structure of the coconut fiber is formed, which is already suitable for plant production.
Professional manufacturers like Atami, Canna, Plagron soak the coconut fibers in fresh water. The washed coconut fiber has a pH of 6 and an EC level of 0.5, which is perfect for germination and for the seedlings.
The natural composition of coconut fibers are negatively charged and therefore attracts positively charged cations. The sum of the negatively charged ions is called Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). The cation exchange capacity shows the amount of cation that the soil can hold. Soils with higher CEC values (eg organic fertilizers) change slower pH and retain nutrients better.
The cations include calcium (Ca ++), magnesium (Mg ++), potassium (K +), ammonium (NH4 +), hydrogen (H +) and sodium (Na +).
The negatively charged ions are the so-called anions, such as chlorine (Cl-), nitrate (NO3-), sulfate (SO4-), and phosphate (PO4-).
The Coconut fiber without buffering contains too much Sodium (Na) and Potassium (K) and too little Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg), which is not good for plants. It is a necessary and important task to soak the coconut in a calcium and magnesium rich solution, thus creating an ideal nutrient ratio in which the plant can absorb the necessary nutrients.
The following video discuss the properties of the coconut grow medium by a Canna technician:
Click on the product name to see the features in our webshop.
Coconut soil is a high quality grow medium prepared for immediate use. The use of coconut soil is very simple, the cultivation method is the same as the soil.
Coconut soil is 100% natural coconut fibers. The aerial structure of coconut and its excellent water retention make it the number one choice among indoor growers. Another advantage is that it is naturally free from infection and bacteria, which is a great advantage for indoor growers.
All coconut soils sold at Playgrowned are RHP certified and thus meet the standards for safe growing media. All products are pre-treated, pre washed, buffered and EC + pH calibrated, so they can be used immediately.
Our product range includes the products of the three largest coco coir manufacturers:
Atami offers coco substrates with maximum oxigen supply:
Click the link below to view the Atami Cocos and Atami Hydro Rokz Cocos product demo in English:
Coconut board or Coco slab
The coconut board or Coco slab is a popular and practical grow medium in compact packaging.
After drying, the coconut is compressed and packed airtight.
Coconut boards need to be soaked before use to swell, increasing the volume to 8-10 times.
Coconut boards are rinsed with fresh water, but you must buffer before use.
Our product range includes the Canna product:
Coconut brick is a compact, small-sized coconut grow medium that is used by home growers on its own or mixed with perlite or soil.
Coconut bricks are available in pre-dried and pressed forms which increase in volume by 10-15 times after the addition of water.
In general, cheaper coconut bricks are not pre-treated and should be buffered before use.
Quality coconut bricks like Atami B’ounce, on the other hand, are pre-treated and are available to use immediately with its packaging.
Our range includes coconut bricks:
Coconut planting cubes
Quality coconut planting cubes made by Easy Plug are very popular products for germination and seedling production.
The use of coconut planting cube is very simple, environmentally friendly, and provides the perfect environment for optimal root development.
Eazy Plug coconut planting cubes are available in tray and sachets of 12-150 pieces.
Planting cubes in our product range:
- Eazy Plug coconut cubes on tray
- Eazy Plug coconut cubes in bag
Coconut fertiliser, cococunt plant nutrients
For all coconut-based grow media, we recommend to use exclusively coconut-based plant fertilisers.
Playgrowned offers the following coconut plant fertilisers:
- Atami ATA Coco Max A + B
- Atami B’Cuzz Coco A + B
- Plagron Cocos A&B
- Canna Coco A + B
- Bio Nova Coco Forte A + B
- Hesi Pro Line Coco
You can find the irrigation calendar recommended for coconut plants in the Knowledge Base!
More articles about indoor growing:
- Hydroponic systems comparison
- Grow LED lamp comparison
- Grow tent comparison
- pH and EC meters, ph stabilization
- Sprouting, growing microgreens at home
- Correct plant irrigation, use of premium fertilisers
- Temperature, Humidity, Co2 and environment control in the grow room
If you have any further questions on the subject, please feel free to contact us on our contact details.
Mengel, D. B., Fundamentals of Soil Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC): https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ay/ay-238.html
How products made: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-6/Coir.html
Atami: Coir Substrate: https://www.atami.com/en_gb/service/blog/growing-plants-in-coir-substrate/
Canna Coco: http://www.canna.hu/coco