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What is Coco Peat?

what-is-coco-peat
Why Does It Make the Ideal Growing Media?

Coco Peat is not “peat” at all, but when processed into growing medium, is somewhat similar in appearance and function to “peat moss.”   Peat moss is extracted from peat bogs that release billions of tons of greenhouse gasses per year, and take 1000’s of years to renew. Coco Peat is a sustainable, renewable resource that is revolutionizing agriculture around the globe.

Coco Peat is a sustainable, renewable resource that is revolutionizing agriculture around the globe. 

Picture Coco Coir’s superior eco-credibility it this way.  Coconut Coir (pronounced Coy-er) is the otherwise cast away by-product of the coconut industry—the dry fibrous outer shell of the coconut that is cut away to get to the “nut” we enjoy in both sweet and savory dishes. As long as the world loves Coconut products and oil, the supply of Coco Coir is basically boundless.

Renewable Coconut Coir is processed into a variety of familiar household products like door mats, rope and brushes.  But in the gardening world, Coco Coir is converted into an eco-friendly “soil-less” product that is the preferred growing media world-wide for hydroponic and large-crop greenhouse growers.

How is Coco Peat prepared for Use in Growing Containers and Gardens?

HortGrow Coco Peat products are initially washed 4 times in fresh water, which is a significant differentiator for their top-performing Coco Peat products. When the long fibers from dried husks are removed for other industrial uses, the remaining powdery pith, (or Coco Peat) is gathered, washed, dried, aged, sieved and sorted before being compressed for ease in shipping, handling and storage.

Why does Fresh Water Growing and Washing Give HortGrow Products an Edge?

Fresh water origins matter to gardeners and growers because most coconut fiber, (unlike HortGrow products) are processed from costal plantations situated on salty sea-side soil. Those products contain significantly higher levels of salt, some of which cannot be rinsed away through normal processing.

HortGrow’s freshwater coconut groves are in the interior of India in the Cauvery river delta area, so less salt is present in the basic unprocessed coco fibers we use. And even though the HortGrow Coco husk is less saline from the beginning, HortGrow factories rinse the shredded husks and pith 4 times in fresh water on large concrete pads to remove lingering salts, and to reach balanced EC and pH levels for optimum growing conditions. It is also noteworthy that the fresh water rinsing maintains some of the slow-release trace minerals —potassium, calcium and magnesium—that support vibrant growth.

Once the washed pith and husk are sun dried and stored for several months to gain proper aging and stabilization, the Coir product is now ready to convert into HortGrow’s premium growing media.

Different Coco Coir Products Have Different “Jobs”

Coco Coir is scaled, crushed, chopped or ground, sieved and packaged to serve different purposes within the growing medium. From super-fine Coco Pith to Coco Fiber to Coco Chunks and Husks, each faction serves a different plant-support function.

Although all Coco Peat Products retain more water and aerate better than peat moss, their form (finely ground to chunky) will determine their placement in grow pots.

Fine Coco Pith

Once the larger fibers were removed, Coco Pith is the powdery by-product from the ground husk. Packaged as “Pith,” or sometimes Coco Peat, it is generally shipped in a convenient compressed block.  It has a perfect pH for growing—6.0 to 6.7—unlike peat moss which is acidic and requires other additives to achieve the proper pH balance.

  • Easy to use in seedling trays as it is fluffy, non-clumping and does not compact
  • Supports rapid, healthy root development with constant moisture and oxygenation
  • Virtually odorless, with excellent drainage
  • Does not break down rapidly; lasts up to 5 years
  • Holds nutrient content, creating a slow release system when watered.

Pith is the exclusive growing medium in most hydroponic and small transplantable grow bags.  It is effective mulch for outdoor plants and because of its excellent re-wetting qualities, (unlike peat moss, which once completely dry, is difficult to re-wet) is becoming the preferred soil conditioner for in-ground gardens.

HortGrow’s compressed GrowSure blocks and slabs are 100% Coco Pith.  GrowSure is shipped in 10-11 lb. blocks that hydrate to produce 2.5-3 cu. ft. of fluffy Coco Pith.

Complex Coco Fiber

Fine Coco Fibers act like tiny capillaries that help evenly distribute moisture and nutrients throughout the Coco Peat mixture.  Unlike thick Coco Fibers used to make brooms and scrub brushes, these fibers resemble clumps of fine roots and are most effective when gently pulled apart and separated and then re-distributed throughout the re-hydrated Coco medium.

  • Helps aerate the growing media
  • Facilitates the movement of water and nutrients more uniformly through the medium
  • Keeps moisture level constant within containers, avoiding harmful dry spots
  • When used as a soil enhancer, avoids compression in clay soils
  • Helps hold moisture when added as an enhancement to sandy soils.

With the exception of the fine-textured GrowSure, highlighted above, all of HortGrow’s compressed growing media, GrowPlus, GrowMax, GrowUltra and GrowExcel contain a portion of Coco Fiber to enhance moisture conductivity.

Coco Chips and Shreds

The oxygenation qualities of Coco Chips and Coco Shreds take top billing and when paired with their ability to maintain consistent moisture and nutrient levels without re-wetting. Often referred to as “Coco Fractions”, or Coco Nuggets, these components are far superior to peat moss as their sponge-like qualities do not require “wetting agents” to receive and maintain precision moisture levels.

The chunky irregular shape and size of Coco Chips and Coco Shreds provide air pockets throughout the Coco Coir mixture while also maintaining moisture/nutrients for slow release as needed.

HortGrow Coco Pith and Coco Fraction blends eliminate the need for adding stones, gravel, bark, wood chips and in some instances, perlite and gypsum to achieve a potting mix that supports aeration and moisture flow.

  • HortGrow Coco Husk products are essential for long-cycle container crops
  • Coco Chips/Shreds, like all HortGrow products, maintains up to 9 times its weight in water
  • HortGrow Coco Shreds and Coco Chips are available in blocks, slabs, bales and discs
  • HortGrow precision- layered Coco Fraction Discs differentiate their quality grow bags
  • All HortGrow products are OMRI listed for use in organic gardening applications.
Coco Peat is the Future of Eco-Responsible Growing

HortGrow’s Coco Peat products stand out from others in the market because they are developed by plant scientists who are also growers—the design of our precision Coconut Coir blends are based on real world crop production’s “Best Practices”.

We are proud that we are able to customize this versatile growth media for professionally-grown crops, hydroponics and consumer use with a product that boosts economic growth in the countries where it is sourced.

And we are especially excited to share our industry expertise with home gardeners…we want all our HortGrow customers to “Grow like the Pro’s.”