We always knew a coconut was suitable for holding a tropical drink, but we never realized how helpful this fruit would be to our hydroponic growing. Instead of wasting perfectly good coconut husks while harvesting, innovators have found a way to create something called “Coco Coir,” a new growing medium in the hydroponics industry.
What is Coco Coir?
Coco Coir is made from ground-up coconut husks and literally means coconut fiber. This natural fiber is taken from the outer husk of a coconut. You are likely familiar with their use in household products such as brushes, doormats, floormats, and mattresses, as the fiber wicks away moisture and keeps bacteria at bay.
Why the recent popularity in hydroponics? Let’s think about how the husk benefits the coconut to understand this better. For one, it allows the seed inside to germinate, protecting it from the sun and salt.
The same safety net from the coconut husk is made for your hydroponic seedlings, safeguarding and creating a habitat that encourages growth. It also acts as a natural pest repellent, keeping pests away from your hydroponic plants. Another great feature is the ability of coco coir to add nutrients to your hydroponic plants.
Interestingly, Coco Coir comes either in bricks or loosely for use in agriculture. When using brick coco coir, add water and soak your brick for at least 1 hour before using it. Coco Coir bricks vary in size, but the average amount of water a fully hydrated brick can hold is around 8-10 times its volume. It has a high water-holding capacity, making it an excellent choice for hydroponics.
Also, coco coir is more aerated than other mediums such as peat moss. These two properties allow you to feed your hydroponics plants more often, making room for even larger and robust plants. Other benefits of using coco coir include its sustainability, organic properties, and compactibility.
The downsides include holding too much water if not carefully monitored, leading to the drowning of roots, and a buildup of salts. Both can be easily prevented with TLC and careful attention, and the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives for use in hydroponics! Next, we will break down some of the top Coco Coir on the market today.
The Best Coco Coir for Hydroponics
 Coco Bliss Premium Coconut Chips Block/Brick
- 100% natural and organic coco coir chips
- Top-quality husk with very low salt content
- Low salt content- low level of EC is attained by repeated washing with fresh water
- Ideal for hydroponics and aquaponics
Coco Bliss gives you the option to buy in bricks or chips, whichever you prefer. Coco Coir chips naturally retain a large amount of water, reducing irrigation drastically and helping hydroponic plants to grow. Coco Bliss Premium Coconut chips users say it holds more water than any other media while remained ph neutral, which sounds perfect for hydroponic growers!
 FoxFarm Coco Loco Potting Mix
- 2 Cubic Feet
- It comes loose, not in bricks
- Has the ability to hold more than its weight in water while draining well
- Low humidity reduces the possibility of mold and root rot and deters pests
- Not pure coco coir
- No synthetic chemicals, No GMOs
FoxFarm Coco Loco Potting mix says their coco coir behaves like little sponges, offering nutrients and water as needed to the plants. This is not plain coco coir, but rather a potting mix made by FoxFarm that combines other things, such as earthworm castings.
Some buyers have claimed the potting mix has undesirables in it, such as sticks and small rocks. If you’re cool with other natural things in your potting mix and want chemical-free/no GMOs, FoxFarms Coco Loco may be just right for your hydroponic plants.
 Mother Earth Coco Bale
- 100% Natural coconut coir fibers
- Highly porous and good drainage abilities
- Low salt content
Longer and shorter fibers are combined to help create a great soil alternative with better-than-average water holding capacity. This 5KG of Coco Bale is highly compressed and expands to approximately 60L of material! Mother Earth Coco Bale is made to give plants a perfect amount of aeration to promote vigorous root growth.
Some growers complain of the smell and unpleasant sides such as sticks and rocks, while others find this an ideal medium- not too stringy and finely textured- for their seedlings. You can be the judge and check out Mother Earth Coco Bale!
 General Hydroponics CocoTek Bale
- 5kg of 3 different types of compressed Coco coir
- Low sodium content
- It contains only coconut pith and fibers
General Hydroponics CocoTek is a great growing medium alternative to sphagnum peat moss, and with its low sodium content and high moisture retention, it is perfectly suited for hydroponic growing. Plenty of aeration and hydration will occur with CocoTek.
Growers love that this is mainly ground, with about 5% fiber. As one CocoTek enthusiast says, it is “As good as Coco gets in unamended bricks”. That’s enough of a reason for us to take a look!
 FibreDust Coco Coir Block
- Organics Material Review Institute (OMRI) Listed product
- Low EC (less than .8) and optimum pH levels of around 5.8-6.8
- Pre-washed to remove salt
- Professional grade- used by largescale hydroponic growers around the world
FibreDust Coco Coir is made with the finest high-grade coconut coir. One block expands to 2.5 cubic feet, which is around 15 gallons of growing medium after hydrating with 5-7 gallons of water.
It is recommended to expand the block in a wheelbarrow, using lukewarm water to enable rapid expansion. This coco coir is perfect for cuttings, seeds, plants, vegetables, hydroponics, mushrooms, and worm farms- It sounds to us like a perfect certified-organic pick for various uses.
 SunGro Horticulture Black Gold Just Coir
- Highest quality coco coir
- 2 Cubic feet
- Rinsed to reduce salts and reconstituted
- Organic material
Forget clunky bricks, SunGrow Black Gold Just Coir is more user-friendly, and OMRI listed. This pure coconut coit pith comes moist and ready to use, unlike bricks that need water added to them. It runs on the pricier end for coco coir, but the grower can justify the price with its organic and user-friendly nature.
 Minute Soil Compressed Coco Fiber 100 MM Pellets
- 100 MM Minute Soil discs- roll of 10
- Pure, untreated, raw fibrous coconut coir compressed into discs, peat-free
- Expand with the addition of water
- OMRI listed for organic production
- Convenient, light-weight
To create coco coir for your hydroponics with Minute Soil discs, add 3 cups of water to each disc to re-hydrate, which expands the disc up to 15 times and yields approximately 8.5 cups of soil per disc. A full bag rehydrates approximately 4.25 gallons of soil, making it an excellent eco-friendly choice.
The great thing about Minute Soil discs is the versatility- use as a straight grow medium or add to garden soil to improve water holding capacity and aeration.
Can coco coir be used in hydroponics?
Absolutely! It makes for a great alternative to peat moss and soil. Due to the natural tendency for coco noir to retain water, it works well with hydroponics ensuring your plant receives fresh water and nutrients optimally. Coco Coir naturally repels pests and mold, making it appealing for hydroponics since there is naturally an abundance of moisture.
Can you grow seeds in coco coir?
Coco Coir is terrific at protecting seeds during the germination process, keeping tiny seeds nice and safe with plenty of moisture and nutrients available. It is best to use fine pith coco coir for seeds. Since the coco coir drains so well and holds water nicely, less watering is needed. Coco coir facilitates nutrient uptake, which is very important for seedlings to grow into big, strong plants.
How do you plant seeds in coco coir pellets?
The first step is to add water to your pellet(s)- They make a superb growing medium for your hydroponic plants! Next, sprinkle a few seeds on top of each pellet. Make sure not to cover, as they will naturally sprout with sunlight and water.
If you’re using a large seed such as tomato, you can use a pencil to stick it into the coco coir. Feel free to cover each pellet with vermiculite to retain as much moisture as possible during the germination process.
Is Coco coir better than soil?
The answer truly depends on how you prefer to garden. However, coco coir has many benefits that soil doesn’t and vice versa. The benefits to using Coco Coir that soil doesn’t have are resistance to pests, optimum aeration and hydration, stable pH levels, and low salt content.
Is Coco coir well draining?
Coco Coir is very well-draining and known for its irrigation properties. Many people use it for landscaping purposes! Coco Coir naturally retains a large amount of water, which reduces irrigation drastically, helping hydroponic plants grow up to be healthy and hearty crops.