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Coco Coir vs Perlite: Which is Best?

For plants, adding coco coir to existing garden soil might be beneficial. The coir will soften clay’s texture, bringing a varied mix of fluid retention and organic drainage, decreasing waterlogging. This can also be achieved by adding Perlite to it.

But what are these magical substances? Which substance is better between the two? Can they be combined to make a super substance? Let’s dig in!

What is Coco Coir?

What is Coco Coir

Coco coir is undoubtedly one of the best among other traditional growing medias and soil replacements you can use in your garden. This natural coconut fiber extract is an excellent absorbent, increased aeration, and water-holding agent. On top of that, it can’t carry diseases and doesn’t break down at all.

Coconut coir, also called coco coir, is liked by a wide range of customers, such as those who grow plants in pots, in hydroponic growing, in professional nurseries, and even in their own homes. Its popularity is on the rise, partly because of how long it lasts, how useful it is, and how much it looks like soil and peat moss.

Coir is made from the fibers between a coconut’s husk and the outer shell. It is relatively easy to grow a medium becoming more popular as a hydroponic substrate and in growing mixtures worldwide. 

Growers often mix coco coir with perlite, even though coco coir is already one of the best things for allowing excess water in the soil.

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What is Perlite?

What is Perlite

Perlite, on the other hand, is a natural mineral that can be found in the form of volcanic glass or ash. In the 1880s, it was found in the United States. It has a relatively high amount of water compared to other soil supplements.

Perlite is the ore that has been heated to such high temperatures in a kiln that it has grown to the size of popcorn. This makes it very light and gives it the ability to store air, which is a big help for growers trying to keep oxygen levels in root zones stable.

Still, both coco coir vs perlite have their pros and cons. Growers should make a choice based on several things, such as how much it weighs, how easy it is to move, how it affects the pH of their system, whether or not it makes plants sick, the size or texture, etc. It has a high cation exchange capacity in plants grown.

What Happens to the Soil When Perlite Is Added?

When more perlite is added to the soil, it helps the coco perlite soil mix breathe and drain better. It does this by changing how the soil is built from the bottom up, making it a good place for plants to grow. It also changes the texture of the soil while keeping it loose.

You need to mix the soil and perlite in the right amounts to get the desired results. In any case, if you use too much perlite, it tends to stick together.

If you don’t get the coco and perlite mix ratio right, the substrate can also affect the quality of the soil and stop the roots from growing.

We recommend that you rake a two-inch layer of perlite into soil six to twelve inches deep. Perlite can also be mixed with soil in a 50/50 ratio, though this recommendation depends on the plants you want to grow.

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What Is Good and Bad About Coco Coir?

What Is Good and Bad About Coco Coir

Pros

  • When coco coir is used for drain-to-waste growth, the results are outstanding.
  • Coir is hard to find in other mediums because it has an outstanding balance of water retention, more drainage, and airflow. It gives the roots a lot of room, letting them get the most air possible.
  • This medium keeps the roots healthy because it has antifungal properties. It might keep some pests away, making taking care of your growth easier.
  • A single coconut tree gives out an average of 150 coconuts each year – meaning that this is a highly sustainable product.

Cons

Every growing medium has pros and cons, and if you want to grow the best crop possible, you need to know what makes coco coir different.

  • There’s a good chance it has a lot of salt. Make sure to research how the coco medium you choose to use is made.
  • Even though the pH range of coco coir is neutral (5.2–6.8), you will still need to add nutrients to it because the pH range will change over time.
  • Chemicals must be put on coir bales to stop disease-causing organisms from growing inside them.

What Is Good and Bad About Perlite?

What Is Good and Bad About Perlite

Pros

  • Because it is sterile, it is an excellent medium for getting seeds to grow. There isn’t much chance that root rot or damping-off will happen.
  • Minerals that plants need to grow are naturally present.
  • Unlike many other types, this is a growing medium that does not harm plants and does not need to be rinsed before it can be used.
  • When the pH is already neutral, there’s no need to change it, and adding it to other things won’t change the pH of the whole thing.
  • You can use it on its own or combine it with other materials to make potting soil.
  • It can be recycled and used repeatedly because it doesn’t break down over time.
  • A perlite coco mix is a low-cost alternative that is per cubic foot than sand. Prices range from $4 to $5 per cubic foot and are better for plant growth.

Cons

  • Water doesn’t take long to disappear. Perlite is made of amorphous volcanic glass so that it can hold water in the nooks and crannies on its large surface area. However, it does not safely do this.
  • Perlite dust is known to be irritating to both the eyes and the lungs. When working with perlite, it’s essential to wear safety gear like goggles and a mask to protect yourself from the dust.

So, why would you want a coco coir perlite mix? Let’s find out.

Does Perlite Have to Be Used With Coco-Coir?

No. It does not. Coco coir and perlite have pros and cons, but the pros for both far outweigh the cons by a large margin. Coco coir Perlite mix plant growth and yields both improve.

Here are some reasons why you might want coco coir and perlite mix:

How Coco Coir and Perlite Can Help Each Other

How Coco Coir and Perlite Can Help Each Other

Keeps Things From Getting Stuck

Like coco coir, perlite is excellent at letting air in and water out. It helps to keep water from standing still, which can be prevented by mixing it with coco coir, which lets extra water drain away.

Better aeration and drainage also help plants grow healthy roots and allow them to get 98 percent of the oxygen they need through their root systems, which you already know.

Keeps the Plant’s Water Balance in Check

Perlite is a mineral considered to be porous because it is made up of many tiny holes that can soak up liquid like a sponge. It can absorb up to three or four times its weight in water, just like coco coir.

Using it with coconut coir can make a big difference in how well water stays in the soil, making it easier for your plants to get the water and nutrients they need.

It Helps Plants Grow in a Healthy Way

The main goal of mixing perlite and coco coir is to help plants grow strong roots. Since perlite is so light, it won’t add extra weight to your plants. This means that your seedlings will be able to grow without any problems.

Perlite also lets air into the soil and helps get rid of excess water, both of which are important for the growth of healthy root systems.

Slower Decomposition Rate

Coco coir, on the other hand, breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, but perlite doesn’t. Adding it to coco and perlite will also slow down the rate at which it breaks down.

Since this is the case, there is no chance that any diseases will spread to your plants. The mixture can stay good for years, and it can be used over and over again during each agricultural cycle.

Mother Earth Makes the Mineral Perlite

Perlite is a naturally occurring material that can aggressively feed and be used on any plant without any risk to or from the environment.

It is an excellent choice for your garden because it doesn’t have any chemicals or artificial ingredients that could be harmful.

Neutral pH level

Perlite is similar to coco coir because it has a neutral pH level. However, it tends to take on the alkalinity or acidity of what is added.

If, for example, your coco coir substrate has a pH level of 5, then the pH level of the perlite substrate will be the same as that of the coco coir substrate. Because of this, it would be a great addition to your coco coir.

How Much Perlite to Add to Coco?

How Much Perlite to Add to Coco

This depends on the plants you have in your garden, the availability of extra chemicals, and the need for water retention and drainage.

When coco coir and perlite are mixed, it is a great alternative to other, traditional mediums and amazing things can happen. If you use coco perlite mix as your preferred growing medium, you will get better drainage and airflow, which will help your plants grow well.

Since perlite doesn’t break down, you can expect that your crops won’t get sick during the whole farming process. You may be on the quest to find coco coir perlite mix near me. On the other hand, this mineral occurs naturally and is inert, which means that it doesn’t change the concentrations of nutrients.

Because adding perlite to coco coir is suitable for your garden, there’s no reason not to do it!

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FAQ

Is it Possible to Grow Plants with Perlite?

Perlite can be used to grow plants independently; it doesn’t need to be mixed with soil or anything else. Perlite is an excellent medium for growing plants without soil because it absorbs and holds water well and makes it easy for oxygen to reach a plant’s roots.

When perlite is used as a growing medium, it creates a lot of air spaces that let water and oxygen get to the roots of your plants without being blocked. This helps plants grow robust root systems because they don’t have to work hard to get the necessary nutrients.

The only problem that needs to be fixed is that using perlite as the only growing medium may not be best for all plants. Since perlite tends to float when it gets too much water, it might not be the best choice for plants that need a lot of humidity.

If you want to grow these plants, you might first need to mix them with coco coir or peat moss.

Is it Possible to Grow Plants in Coco Coir?

Yes, you can grow plants in coco coir – that hasn’t changed since you started reading! Because it has a lot of salt, planting some plants in pure coco coir may not help them grow as well as they could. Before using coir from a coconut as a growing medium for plants, you must first clean it and then wet it.

Sterilizing coco coir is essential because it eliminates any disease-causing pathogens in the medium and cuts down on the amount of salt. Because of this, coco coir can now be used to grow all kinds of plants.

But once the coco coir has been made safe for planting, it needs to be moistened before it can be used.

Is it More Effective to Grow Plants in Coco than in Soil?

Growing plants in coco is an excellent alternative to growing them in soil. On the other hand, Coco coir is light and airy, unlike dirt. This means it won’t hurt the weight of your crops, and your plants will be able to grow more extensive root systems, which will help them grow healthier.

Also, coco coir is inert, which means it doesn’t have any nutrients that plants need. Because of this, you will have more control over the nutrients that your plants use.
Coco has a benefit over the soil because it doesn’t get diseases. This is one of the reasons why coco is useful. This plant medium doesn’t let harmful organisms like pests or disease-causing pathogens grow.

In the long run, you won’t have to worry about using pesticides or fungicides on your hydroponic farm.

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