Coconuts are mostly used for their milk and tasty flesh, discarding the remaining portion, regarded as waste.
Surprisingly this waste part is not entirely a waste product because we can use it for many purposes.
For instance, from coconuts, the strong fibers from the coco coir (or coco peat) can be made into coco bricks and then used for gardening.
This waste part is a fantastic material to help gardeners and farmers grow their desired plants.
Related post: Hydroponic Growing Medium Varieties
Table of Contents
- 1 What is coconut coir?
- 2 Other Types of coco coir
- 3 Benefits of using coco coir Bricks
- 4 Drawbacks of coconut coir
- 5 What are coco bricks?
- 6 Coco coir versus peat moss
- 7 How do I choose high-quality coconut coir?
- 8 Negatives of Using Coconut Coir?
- 9 FAQs
- 10 References
What is coconut coir?
Coconut coir, also known as coco coir, is a popular growing medium for hydroponic culture.
Coconut coir comes from the section between the outer and inner shell (or coconut seed), and this section is called coconut husk.
People used to throw away this portion until they realized its importance and many uses in the past.
After realizing this, they started to separate the coconut fibers from the husk.
The separated fibers contain finer materials, and all of these substances together are known as coconut coir.
So, these coco coir products are the materials separated from the coconut husks.
Everything residing between the two shells is regarded as coco coir. There are two kinds of fibers – white and brown – that can be found in the coir.
If the coconut is ripe, the color of this part is brown, indicating a stronger, matured, but less flexible fiber.
On the other hand, the white color indicates that the coconut is not ripe. White-colored coir is flexible but less strong.
Other Types of coco coir
Coconut coir comes in one of three types:
1. Coco peat or pith
These are the finer materials that come out of the coir. It is very light and small. You can use it in soil gardening or as a hydroponic media.
2. Coco fiber
These are the fibers that add pores to the soil when used. This material can increase the aeration capacity of the soil, making the garden soil more favorable for worms.
Though coco pith is an inert material, fiber can break down quickly.
3. Coco chips
Coco chips are large and are considered a type of clay pellet that can expand and create air pockets.
They retain water for the plants and release it when it becomes necessary.
Benefits of using coco coir Bricks
- Coco coir bricks are inert substances. So, they do not break down like other organic materials.
- Economical and easy to carry and transport.
- They have excellent water retention capacity and can supply air to the medium.
- pH level is neutral, and most of the nutrients are available in this condition.
- Coir products are great for seed germination as the substances can absorb more water  .
- It has antifungal properties that can reduce fungal infection.
- It also encourages the growth of beneficial microbes in the root zone.
- It’s a great substrate for use in hydroponic culture and potting mix.
Drawbacks of coconut coir
- Coconut coir is an inert substance, which means that it does not contain any essential nutrients. So, the planters must supply nutrients to the plants.
- It can be responsible for salt water buildup if it is not washed properly.
- It needs to be rehydrated by water if it becomes dried.
- The preparation procedure is laborious.
What are coco bricks?
Before we discuss the coco bricks, you need to understand what and where it comes from.
These bricks are made from coco peat or the ground material of coco coir. Let us discuss this in brief.
The ground materials of coco coir are known as the pith or peat. Coco coir bricks are the compressed forms of these ground and fine materials.
In this compressed form, these coir products become easier to carry and transport. They are widely used in container gardening.
To make the brick, coco pith, dust, and small fibers are collected together and soaked in water.
When husks are removed, and fibers are separated, you will notice these dust, peat, and small fibers.
Soaking these materials will soften them, which is very important because they are rich in salt content.
Washing them using freshwater will remove the excess salt (never use saltwater in this process). Now you can compress and give it a brick shape, then dry it.
Coco coir versus peat moss
Coco coir versus peat moss, which one is better?
Coco coir contains a high amount of cellulose and lignin, which prevent this material from decomposing.
The substance has a pH range between 5.8 and 6.8, indicating a neutral pH level. A wide range of plants prefers this kind of pH level.
Coco coir can retain nine times its volume of water.
Peat moss can be found in peat bogs and takes hundreds of years to form. The water retention capacity of this substance is higher than pith.
Hence, it can contain higher water or moisture content.
Peat moss is acidic, indicating that it’s a bad choice to use as the hydroponic substrate.
Also, the removal of moss from the bogs can have consequences in that ecosystem.
How do I choose high-quality coconut coir?
The quality of coco coir depends on the way it is prepared and processed. You cannot control the processes directly unless you actively take part in them.
Many producers chemically sterilize the coir during the manufacturing process. Due to the nature of the pH, it coir becomes susceptible to pathogens.
But chemical sterilization is also risky because people use this for gardening.
Canna can be a high-quality coco pith supplier, and you can buy high-quality coconut coir products from them.
You can determine the quality of this soil amendment by observing several factors:
- Pathogens will not grow.
- Salt water will be flushed out.
- The proportion of pith, chips, and fibers will be equal.
- The product will be packed and stored safely.
Also, you can check the quality of the raw material before using it in potting mixes or directly in the garden.
Negatives of Using Coconut Coir?
We strongly recommend you not to use these substances as the media. Instead, mix them with the potting soil or in the garden properly.
Coconut fiber will increase the total porosity (air pockets)  and water holding capacity of the land, creating a favorable environment for the soil microbes, like worms.
What is Coco brick?
It is a compressed form of coco coir products that contain an equal amount of fiber, finer materials, and chips.
Can it boost plant growth?
Coco materials cannot directly boost plant growth, but they can improve the condition of potting soil.
Is coco coir bricks better than soil?
Coco coir bricks are an inert material as it does not provide nutrients to the plants.
It can only improve the condition of the media in gardening.
Coconut coir bricks can be a great addition to the garden because the gardeners can have manifold advantages.
Without this, you can also use them as the media in hydroponic culture or mix them with other potting mixtures to improve the condition of your gardening.
 Kumarasinghe, H.K.M.S.; Subasinghe, S. and Ransimala. 2016. Effect of Coco Peat Particle Size for the Optimum Growth of Nursery Plant of Greenhouse Vegetables. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension, 18(1): 51.
 Wan Fazilah, F.I. and Ahmad, D. 2017. A Study on the Physical and Hydraulic Characteristics of Cocopeat Perlite Mixture as a Growing Media in Containerized Plant Production. Sains Malaysiana, 46(6):975-980.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.