Coir? Anyone use it?

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Jun 6, 2006
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Sacramento, CA. Outside w/ Southeast Exposure
I just received a plant sent to me in coir (the shredded coconut husk stuff) and the roots are GREAT! Does anyone use this as their growing medium? I would be scared to death over overwatering!

Interestingly, the plants roots just went halfway down the pot. The pot seemed too deep for it. All good healthy roots with new growth though.
I almost bought some today because the place (hydroponics shop) didn't have CHC. I'd be interested in hearing more first hand accounts.
Is this the stuff that looks like coffee grounds? I bought a plant growing in that once, and it had some awesome roots. I wondered about growing in it too. The plant I had was growing in an Aircone pot, so I guess that would have helped avoid soggy medium.
I got a plant recently that was planted in that stuff.It looked like mud to me but
I was told it was coir & the guy swore by it but I changed it immediately because I just knew I would overwater it.I hope I didn't set it back as it was in bud!:) The term coffee grounds describes it well.The top was dry but the underneath was really wet.With a big collection I don't know how you could manage unless everything was in it & in a greenhouse you don't have the luxury of picking & choosing when watering.
I use coconut coir and sponge rock for my various Zygopetalum species and hybrids. They love it. I've tried it on some other types of orchids with less success.
There are 2 products that are sold under the name "coir". One is coconut looks like shredded rope...long tan may be good for epiphytes, but I find it hardto believe anything can grow in water retention at all..apparently it is used only in very humid tropical environments. The other is the coffee ground stuff- cocopeat. I find it very useful, but only on certain plants. (It may contain salt, so it should be thouroughly leached before use.)
Also, it should be combined with lots of perlite...not spongerock, but ordinary fine grain perlite. What its good for: paphs with very tiny, weak, or dead can revive them and support them, but don't expect major root growth. I have tried growing healthy paphs in a cocopeat/perlite mix...they live, do OK, but have minimal new root growth. Terrestrials: cymbidiums, Ludisia's, etc LOVE it....its is now the only mix I will grow them in. What its bad for: phrags HATE it! I nearly killed my big Sorceror's Apprentice by planting it in cocopeat...if you must try that type of mix on phrags, use real peat. Ordinary terrestrial non-orchid plants- believe it or not, most of them hate it. I tried using cocopeat as a seed starting medium for pepper seedlings..death is the only polite term for what happened. I have had cactus tolerate it well enough...but that's it. I do not feel that cocopeat can be the all-around peat substitute that it claims to be. But, its great for cymbidiums, Phaius, and Ludidia....Take care, Eric

I put everything into a coir, diatomite, charcoal mix. It's called Aussie Gold. Expensive stuff, but real easy to use and I reuse it by baking it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes.

My phals love it, as does my zygopetulams. Amazingly, as a test, I also potted two vanda's into it in net pots and they've done really well with roots growing much so that I'm thinking of potting up my remaining 25 vandas. I've got 12 catts growing in it and they seemingly like it (again, net pots). My phrags are all in it and I've recently gone to letting them sit in about 1/4 inch of water and letting the water wick up. They are all performing well, too.

I've had great and not so great success with paphs. The majority do really well. Some want their roots a little drier. New roots growing into it do extremely's usually when you transplant something from bark that you run into problems. On troublesome paphs, I put them into net pots to keep dry the media a little faster.

The majority of my paphs have developed very strong roots. The key, that I've learned, is to make sure you underpot since the media tends to be a little wetter, and also to use net pots on the sensitive plants.

If you make your own mix using coir, make sure you add perlite or something else to provide some aeration to the roots. The reason diatomite works so well is that as coir gets really wet, the diatomite pulls the moisture from the coir and, as the coir dries out, releases it back into the coir keeping everything at a relative uniform wetness. I notice that when the top layer is dry, almost the entire pot is dry (it's that uniform). Obviously, if you let the plants stand in water, the media will stay very wet. I learned that lesson by using trays without holes and wondering my some of my paph roots were badly rotting. A few holes in the tray fixed that problem and all the plants bounced back with new root growth.

Of course, I'm also in Tucson, so I'm fighting to keep 60-70% humidity in the greenhouse. I also profess to wanting/needing some type of media that doesn't require a daily watering. In winter, it's like once a week. In the summer, it's every other day, but I can go a weekend if needed without a problem.

With that said, I'm also going to experiment with lava rock and CHC, but I currently have 200+ plants in the coir mix.
Technically, coir is the outer hust of the cocnut fruit - the part outside of the hard shell that tacky tourist traps in Florida carve and paint to look like monkey faces.

Therefore, anything coming from it is a coir product - whole hisk pieces for mounting, chips, fiber and the gound material.
Eric Muehlbauer said:
There are 2 products that are sold under the name "coir". One is coconut looks like shredded rope...long tan may be good for epiphytes, but I find it hardto believe anything can grow in water retention at all..

Actually, it does hold water -- I was surprised. Oak Park has at least some of their vandaceous types growing very well in it. I potted up a plant that I thought was getting too much water in a bark mix in it and looked at it after I read your post. It had been 4 days since I watered it, and the very inside was still moist. I have it in a clay pot.
SlipperFan said:
Actually, it does hold water.....

when it was first introduced, it was marketed as a more environmentally sound alternative to peat. plus, it doesn't break down as quickly nor turn acidic