What is coir?

Coir, also known as cocopeat, is a growing media made from the husk of a coconut. It is an environmentally friendly product suitable for a variety of horticultural and hydroponic applications. Coir is used as a peat free alternative for growing a variety of vegetable, fruit and cut flower crops. Botanicoir sources coir carefully from selected mills close to their family run production facility in the coconut triangle region of Sri Lanka.

Why grow with coir?

Coir is a great peat free alternative and has excellent absorbent properties, meaning that it can hold nutrients very well, and release them into the plant over a prolonged period. Botanicoir can supply coir in its natural form with no nutrients added. Some growers worry about coir having a high salt content but due to Botanicoir’s factory being located inland, there is far less salt in the ground than regions closer to the coast, meaning that the coir Botanicoir uses has a significantly lower level of Sodium Chloride than other suppliers. Botanicoir only uses fresh water to wash their coir.

Why use coir over peat?

There are ongoing debates about the environmental impact of using peat as a growing media. The UK government is proposing a complete peat phase out by 2020, so there is currently a lot of interest in alternative growing methods.

Coir is a renewable resource unlike peat moss, which has taken centuries to evolve. The extensive use of traditional peat moss in horticulture has resulted in the deletion of natural bogs (swamps), an essential part of our wildlife heritage. Peat moss extraction harms the unique and fragile wetlands ecosystem as there are many highly adapted plant and animal species that are found only in peat bogs. The destruction of the world’s wetlands is progressing at an alarming rate. In the UK alone, 75% of blanket bogs and 94% of raised bogs have been destroyed over the past century. UK gardeners and horticulture use a staggering 2.55 million cubic meters of peat moss each year.

Not only is coir renewable and sustainable, it is also an excellent growing media. It has superb water holding capacity and drainage, this promotes irrigation efficiency and saves water resources. High air fill porosity promotes rapid, healthier and more dense natural rooting and high lignin content increases resistance to bacteria and disease. Coir is biodegradable, so poses no detrimental disposal problems to the environment and being compressible means that it can be transported easily, reducing its carbon footprint.

Is coir eco-friendly?

In Sri Lanka 3 billion coconuts are harvested every year. Out of these 3 billion husks only about 40% are currently used. The Sri Lankan government is working hard on research into increasing the productivity of coconut trees.

Botanicoir bags are reusable. As long as there is no contamination, coir can be re-used for several crop cycles, depending on the plant requirements and the grower’s needs and preferences (we recommend flushing the coir between cycles). After the growers have finished with our bags they can be fully recycled. Coir is natural and completely biodegradable however, it retains its structure and absorbency for several years after planting. After use, coir can be added to the ground as a soil conditioner without any adverse implications for the environment.

Is Botanicoir ethically responsible?

As a producer of an organic, environmentally friendly, sustainable growing media, we take particular care to ensure that the way we operate is ethically responsible. When sourcing raw materials we only select coir mills that operate to high standards with regards to their employees and procedures.

Botanicoir strives to maintain the best working conditions in our own factory. We have a strict no child labour policy, set working hours and have implemented regular, ample rest periods into the shifts. Supervisors are constantly present to ensure that the health and safety measures are always met. We are particularly proud of the benefits available to all employees, including a wage that is above the industry average, a healthcare scheme, meals at work for all employees, and transport to and from the factory.

Which product for which crops?

Botanicoir has a large range of products for a variety of different crops, including strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and flowering plants.  Botanicoir specializes in the mix and particle size, the washing and buffering level, the size and shape, even down to the type of plastic used will all make a difference to how crops grow.

Botanicoir cocopeat offers a variety of benefits to the grower:

  • Optimizes water use
  • Increases yield and crop quality
  • Available in a variety of economical forms
  • pH is 5.4 - 6.8 range
  • Cocopeat holds 9 times its own volume
  • More ecologically friendly than peat moss and other “non-renewable” alternative substrates.

“We’re growers
– just like you.”

“My husband, Bruce Templeton, is a third generation citrus grove owner in Lake Wales, Florida. Like all farmers, we have been actively looking for alternative sources of income to diversify our crops. In the fall of 2009, we began working with the University of Florida/IFAS program growing strawberries using ...