What is Coir?
Coir is the pith element of the Coconut Husk (Shell). It is the waste product of the husking process during which the long fibres are extracted for use as rope fibre, mattress fibre, cushion fill material, and as an environmentally safe growing medium.
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Where does coir come from?
Millenniumsoils Coir brings its products from the country of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is currently the only Coir that is suitable for high quality horticultural applications.
Coconut Coir has been around for a “Millennium”. It was first discovered as a growing media in ancient India and China. Western civilization for years has used the fibre from the shell for making twine, mats, and brooms. But the pulp resembling peat moss had not been looked at as something to support plant growth.
Amazingly, it did not find a home for commercial growing until the 1980's in Holland. Dutch lily and rose growers discovered how good it promoted and supported root growth. When used in hydroponic growing, it was found to be superior to peat moss. Coconut Coir was better aerated and still held more water. Unlike peat moss and bark composts, Coconut Coir did not break down or compact. Containers that had been filled with Coir four years previous were found to be at the same level and consistency.
Dutch rose growers in the U.S. and Canada were next to find that this was the answer for their new hydroponics support media. Due to the foreign competition, a new method had been adopted to produce roses that were as large as those being imported from Ecuador and Colombia. At first clay pebbles were used, then following suggestions and observations from Europe, Coconut Coir was introduced. Trials using 100% Coconut Coir soon showed that this was the ideal media for the hydroponic growing method.
The best source of Coconut coir in the world is from Sri Lanka. There, mountainous piles are processed to make grower grade Coir. Coir must be processed with the right amount of washing in fresh water. Some suppliers use seawater, which causes the Coconut Coir to be toxic for plant growth. Millenniumsoils takes great care in their procedures to make sure that growers receive a medium that will help improve their crops.
Ron Ferguson is a Rosarian and Horticulturist who has grown commercial crops for over 30 years.
How is coir used horticulturally?
Coir is used as a growing medium in the same way as peat moss, rockwool, sawdust, or any other type of growing medium.
If you're interested in learning exactly how to use coir in different horticultural applications, visit our product support section where you'll find tips for coir product usages (i.e. potting instructions) and guidelines for using growbags.
Why use coir as a growing medium?
Coir is superior to peat moss in both chemical nutrient value and in physical properties. Commercial growers in Europe and the Middle East have established positive agronomic benefits of Coir use. Now, commercial growers in North America have begun to see increases in gains from using Coir.
In addition, unlike peat moss, the process of obtaining Coir does not destroy natural ecosystems, thereby making Coir a natural, renewable resource, and an environmentally friendly alternative to peat moss.