Soil and coco coir – which one to choose?

Soil and coco coir – which one to choose?

Soil and coco coir – which one to choose?

Coco coir is a substrate which is something of a midpoint between soil and hydroponics. It’s made out of the husks of coconuts and has great absorption qualities.It’s a great alternative to soil, as it functions similarly to it, but also has the qualities of a sort of hydroponics system. Coco is also pH and nutrient neutral, which traditional soil very much isn’t. In other ways they are quite similar – they both can be used both in- and outside, can be used for growing many different types of plants, and have to be fertilized. So how can you pick the right medium for you? This article will compare them and answer some of the most common questions regarding coco coir cultivation. 

Soil vs coco

One major advantage of soil is that it contains its own nutrients. This means you have to supply it with fewer additional nutrients. With coco you need to provide everything yourself, which means more micromanaging and work in general. Soil also doesn’t need to be watered as often, as it retains water for a longer time. Coco is a good choice if you like fine-tuning your crops. It may be more work, but you are in full control of what your plants receive. You also don’t need to correct for whatever qualities the substrate already possesses. Another advantage is overwatering. With soil it is very easy to overwater your plants and cause their roots to rot. Coco, if used in a proper setup, is almost impossible to overwater. Yields are also generally larger with coco. Among the reasons is the fact coco coir provides natural aeration, making taking up oxygen easier. Coco is also insect-neutral – most bugs don’t like settling in coir, instead preferring soil. 

FAQ about coco coirWhat nutrients do I need to grow in Coco?

Because coco coir has no nutritional value, you need to supply all the nutrients yourself. Plants require a wide variety of nutrients, so fulfilling their individual demands can be difficult and time consuming. This is why products like Shogun Coco and Plagron Coco exist. They are both complete two-step solutions, which are already fine-tuned, so you don’t need to worry whether your plant is supplied with proper nutrients.Coco very often suffers from calcium and magnesium deficiency. Calcium is responsible for producing new tissue and helps your plants grow, while magnesium is crucial for the presence of chlorophyll. A lack of calcium will inhibit growth and make yellow and brown stains appear on leaves. The stains should not be mistaken for ones caused by septoria, a type of fungus; in that case the stains are more concentrated and brown. Magnesium deficiency causes the leaves to go pale and start yellowing.  For your plant to grow well in coco you need to supply it with both of those elements. 

Can I overwater plants in Coco?

Overwatering in coco is very difficult, but still possible if you have an improper setup. If your pot lacks drainage holes, then you will suffocate your plant’s roots with water. If you use a pot with drainage holes or a fabric one then you are safe from overwatering. Just remember, just because coco is hard to overwater does not mean you should water your plants with overly large amounts. 

How often do you need to irrigate plants in Coco? Should I water Coco every day?

There is no single solution to how often you should water when using coco coir. Depending on the plant and its growth stage it may require different amounts of water. The most important thing is to not let your coco get dry. You will know it has dried out when it returns to the light brown color it was when you bought it. Luckily, it is very difficult to overwater, so you have a lot of room for experimentation. Just remember never to water without nutrients. 

What kind of pots would be most suitable for growing in coco?

There are a few good pot options for growing in coco. One is the aforementioned fabric pot, which provides drainage, aeration of roots and prevents them from growing in a spiral, which is the case with plastic pots. Another good option is the air pot. Its innovative construction lets the roots grow to the sides without spiraling around the walls. Standard plastic pots with drainage holes are the least effective, as they provide the roots with less oxygen than fabric and airpots and  restrict their growth. 

What is the best ph level for growing in Coco?

A good range for growing most plants is between 5 and 7 on the pH scale, but it is always a good idea to research the needs of the particular plant you want to grow. For monitoring pH levels we recommend electronic pH meters, for managing the acidity of your coco we offer pH regulators in liquid form.