Coco Coir vs. Soil: Which And When To Use These Growing Mediums

Coco coir vs soil has created a dispute among gardeners about the optimum growing medium for house plants. Some claim that the original soil is preferable for new gardeners since it’s easy to work with and has adequate nutrients inside.

However, a rising number of homeowners say that coco gardening creates a more robust and healthy root system. To pick the best growth medium for your plants, you must first assess these two options’ significant benefits and drawbacks.

Coco Coir

As its name has stated, coco coir comes from the fiber of coconut husk, containing neutral pH and making it easier for plant roots to spread and draw nutrients than normal soil. There are 2 different types of coconut fibers, namely: brown and white.

The 3 basic forms of processed coconut coir soil that make up the potent growing mediums are the pith (or coco peat), fiber, and chips.

Coco pith

Coco pith or peat, which resembles the finely crushed peat moss, has a rich, brown color. However, you may drown your plants’ roots if you used coco peat as your only growing medium because it’s so absorbent.

Coco peat is a good absorber, similar to peat moss, which can soak up a lot of weight in water and takes a long time to dehydrate. It must be properly aged before being used as a growing medium, as it might release salts that can kill your plant.

Coco fiber

Coco fiber is the stringy bundles that add air pocket to the medium and allow oxygen to pass through the root system readily.

Unlike the coco peat, it’s not highly absorbent but will provide adequate oxygen to the root zone. The coco fiber will degrade quickly, but it’s very durable for reuse.

Coco chips

Coco chips have excellent water retention and assurance that the plants don’t go completely dry by allowing for air gaps. Coconut chips are a sort of enlarged clay particle found in nature.

Coconut coir is a great growing medium, but an experienced gardener would not use them alone. You should mix one of these types with other substrates such as perlite or normal soil.

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It’s critical to employ the proper combination of these three varieties of coconut coir in the garden for the best outcomes.

Advantages of Coco Coir

  • Suitable for all types of plants.
  • Simple to mix and use with other substrates.
  • Renewable resources create holes between the tiny particles in soils and allow plant roots to spread and get nutrients from the clay.
  • Despite being biodegradable, it decomposes slower than peat moss, bark, and other organic components used in potting mixes.
  • Naturally good coconut soil for weed which smells nice and improves the overall soil structures.
  • Reduce the risk of pests while minimizing hazardous pathogens.
  • Environmentally friendly product.

Disadvantages of Coco Coir

  • A high level of salt content in coco coir prevents freshwater uptake to the root and hinders the absorption nutrition to the plant.
  • Retain and release the most beneficial nutrients quickly but limit magnesium, calcium, and iron because of the high cation exchange capacity.


Beginners and commercial growers both use soil as an easy-to-use growing medium. But basic soil is sometimes preferred by organic producers since it has naturally existing nutrients and minerals.

Beginners often opt for a small-scale preferred soil since it can hold a lot of water for a longer time than coco coir. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who want to spend less time in the garden or can’t water their plants too frequently.

There are 6 varieties of soil for home gardening, including clay, peaty, silty, chalky, loamy, and sandy soil. Each of the soil types is ideal for specific regions and species.

For example, we have clay soil for Helen’s Flower, Bergamot, Flowering quince, other perennials, ornamental trees, and shrubs. It’s perfect for hot and dry weather since it can maintain proper drainage.

Between soil vs coco coir, the soil is a more forgiving medium for its abundant nutrients and microorganisms that aid plant health and disease resistance. Because the soil shelters roots, changes in air temperature have less of an effect on the root zone.

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When choosing suitable soil types, we have to examine parameters like pH, fertilizer content, aeration, texture, and infestation levels. Apart from serving as a growing medium for plants, the soil is also a home for bacteria and fungi.

Advantages of Soil

  • Readily available and can make a great base for outdoor planting.
  • Irrigation systems and hand-watering both functioning well with soil.
  • Contain microorganisms and nutrients that can aid in the development of your plants.
  • Easily retain nutrients while allowing them to reach the plant.
  • Cost-efficient because soil can be used as the growing medium itself.
  • Nutrient-rich with an average pH need for plants.
  • Provide excellent drainage and usually contain basic nutrients.
  • A simpler growth medium than coco coir because you don’t need to be a nutrient expert to keep your plants healthy.

Disadvantages of Soil

  • May contain undesirable or harmful organisms and more prone to pests.
  • More difficult to transport and handle than other grow mediums.
  • Carry a wide range of mineral and organic substances, some of which may or may not benefit performance.

This potting mix is made from coco coir, perlite, or vermiculite, along with organic compost:

When To Use Coco Coir?

When it comes to hydroponic systems, coco coir is the safest choice as a growing medium. It’s the soil amendment that should be mixed and combined with other mediums such as potting soil.

If you want a quick harvest or maximize overall growth and yield, coco coir is a superior choice since aeration at the root zone leads to more vigorous development and larger yield potential.

Its semi-hydro method will allow roots to have easier access to nutrients and oxygen, allowing them to grow healthier.

Furthermore, because coco coir soil mix is neutral pH and sustainable, it may be used with a wide variety of plants. The husk fibers are most well-known for growing cannabis, seed starting, container plants, or climbing plants.

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The competitive advantage of coconut coir lies in its versatility. Not only can it be an amazing garden soil additive, natural resistance to diseases, or an essential component in soilless potting mix, but it’s also a reusable growing medium that is highly environmentally friendly.

And in case you want to go for coco coir, make sure to equip yourself with an EC meter or pH meter.

When To Use Soil?

Even though many people are reluctant to choose soil or coco coir as their growing media, we believe soil is generally a better choice if you want to spend less time in the garden.

As you have read above, the coconut coir tends to absorb the water very quickly and can dry in a short amount of time; thus, it results in frequent watering.

However, it will not happen with natural soil when most soils are already nutrient-rich, and you don’t have to waste time mixing nutrients. But keep in mind that growth in the soil can easily over-water your plants and reduce aeration provided to the root zone.

Aeration of the root zone is more difficult with soil than hydroponic medium because dirt likes to stay wet.

We propose switching to coco coir if you rarely have spare time because aeration is crucial for a plant’s roots. After all, properly aerated roots help the plant to grow significantly faster.

For novice gardeners or someone who aims at planting organic plants, basic soil is more favorable since it has naturally existing nutrients and minerals.


Instead of choosing the winner between coco coir vs soil, some gardeners should use coco coir as a soil amendment to have the best of both worlds. You may reap all of the benefits of coco coir while reducing the weight of your soil.

If used correctly, both coconut coir and soil can be excellent gardening accessories. While coco coir is long-lasting and sustainable, as well as having a lot of properties that can help your plants thrive, the regular soil offers light-duty gardening and simple processes.

Coco Coir vs. Soil: Which And When To Use These Growing Mediums
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Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.