How to Use Coconut Coir in the Garden

Using coconut coir for the first time to grow seeds.

coconut coir

For the first time ever, I purchased a block (well two) of Coconut coir. I’ve heard about this stuff for gardening and for some reason never tried it. What a mistake to overlook this wonderful planting material!

I chose the Burpee brand, which claims to be organic. The package comes with two bricks of coco coir.

coconut coir
This link goes to Amazon, where I am an affiliate. This is the brand I bought and used.

Is the coir only used for seedlings? Apparently not. It can be used to grow plants, or mixed with soil in a pot to increase aeration. It works like peat moss, if you’ve ever used that, but is more environmentally friendly. The idea is to break up the soil and provide an easier growing environment for roots. The coir also holds water well even though it is quite loose. When watering, the water will pour right out, but the coir retains moisture enough to nourish the roots. This way, the roots will not become waterlogged, but have the moisture needed to thrive.

Coir for Starting Seeds

My basil died over winter and I’ve been trying to grow more from seeds in pots this spring. The new plantings in dirt finally sprouted and are still pretty small. So I used the remaining seeds by putting them into the coir.

Three days later…. seedlings already showing! I am amazed by this quick sprouting action in the coir.

Basil is sprouting in Coconut Coir – after 3 days

basil seedlings in coconut coir
Basil seeds sprouting after 3 days in the coconut coir

The first seedlings below were planted weeks ago in a dirt, compost mix and are still very small. I’m betting that the basil in the coir will surpass the dirt-growing plants!

Basil seeds planted in soil- weeks ago

Basil seedlings growing in soil.

By May 1, the basil in the coir has nearly caught up with the basil in the dirt.

basil growing in pots
May first – a comparison of the basil seeds

The coir does not contain any good nutrients for the little seedlings. Once they begin to grow be sure to give them something… I water with a fish fertilizer. When my seedlings are a little bigger I will put them into a combination of coir, compost and soil….. BUT, better yet, do not start seeds in Coir only.

In fact, the next time I made up pots with “soil” I used the coir in the bottom for good drainage, then a layer of coir mixed with compost, dirt and bone meal.

My basil seeds are Genovese Basil from Seeds of Change. I bought them at the local Home Depot last year and they (Seeds of Change) were not available this year. My local store did not carry any of this brand for some reason. Now I am looking for someplace to buy organic, non GMO seeds. I did buy seeds from the Urban Harvest (which is a local Florida company), but many varieties of veggies were sold out.

From Coconut Blocks to Growing Medium

If you are wondering how the bricks become fluffy medium for planting, it couldn’t be easier. Just add water. It does get a little messy. I added too much water and the stuff became soggy, but it doesn’t really matter. It was easy to pull out the coir and add it to pots and then strain out the excess water. All this was done outdoors.

I suggest you don’t add lots of water all at once as the directions say.

Certain flowering plants may do better when planted in the coir. It is also a good idea to mix the coir into a planting bed to loosen the soil. Research according to what you are planting and then decide how much you want to spend to add this fine “soil” to your gardening plans.

Use as a Rooting Medium For Cuttings

I’ve had some cuttings from the Elderberry and Beautyberry trees / shrubs that are growing wild in my yard. The cuttings have been sitting in water for a few days now, but don’t seem to be doing well.

I took more fresh cuttings and stuck them straight into the coir in pots.

Here they are: Beautyberry on the left, and Elderberry on the right. I keep the pots outside tucked up under the cherry tomato for shade.

The Beautyberry is difficult. I’ve tried to root this one before without success.

Cuttings of the beauty berry

Helpful articles about coconut coir

Please keep reading more gardening stories…


Author: Pam

Spending time on the water is the best, and blogging about the sea life found along the saltwater river and ocean is what I do. I’m also a designer at Zazzle and sell products containing beach, tropical, and water themes.

One thought on “How to Use Coconut Coir in the Garden”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: