What Is Coir
What Is Coir

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. We source our coir carefully from selected mills close to our 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. We can supply coir in its natural form with no nutrients added. Some growers worry about coir having a high salt content but due to our factory being located inland, there is far less salt in the ground than regions closer to the coast, meaning that the coir we use has a significantly lower level of Sodium Chloride than other suppliers. We only use fresh water to wash our 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 tradition 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. We can all play our part in assuring the conservation of peat bogs by using alternative substrates to peat moss, such as coir.

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. For more information about the Sri Lankan governments efforts, visit our links page.

Our coir is ethically sourced and we have strict guidelines in place to make sure that we take every measure possible to ensure we are as environmentally and ethically friendly as we can be in all aspects of the business. Please see our Greener Planet Policy for more information.

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.

We strive 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?

As you will see in the rest of this website, we have a large range of products for a variety of different crops, including soft fruits, salads and flowering plants. The information on this website is just as a point of reference. All of our orders are made to order, with specific grower and crop requirements taken into account so we always recommend discussing the options with us before making a decision. 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.