Coco coir, sometimes also known as coco peat, is a relatively new growing medium in the cannabis growing and general gardening worlds. It offers many benefits in terms of water retention, pest and disease prevention, and root support. However, many people wonder if they should mix this material with traditional potting soil to help their plants grow. Is using a 5/50 coco soil mix a good idea?
Generally, using a 50/50 mixture of coco coir and soil is a good idea if you are using clay or sandy soil. For other applications, it is typically best to add a 1:4 mixture of perlite to your coco/soil mixture to prevent waterlogging.
Below, we will discuss more about the benefits of using a 50/50 coco soil mix when growing cannabis, as well as when using an alternative will work better. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!
When Should I Use a 50/50 Coco Soil Mix?
Coco coir, often referred to simply as “coco,” is a popular alternative to traditional soil for hydroponic gardeners. Coco coir is made from a fiber on the husks of coconuts and offers gardeners a multitude of benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Improving water retention
- Supporting a plant’s roots
- Preventing fungus gnats from infiltrating a garden
Because of these advantages, more and more people are beginning to turn towards coco coir. In addition to the benefits listed above, this material is also resistant to rot and considered pH neutral. While it is biodegradable, it does not decompose as fast as some other growing mediums.
However, a 50/50 mix of coco coir and potting soil is better suited to certain types of plants and soils than others. Generally, it is best to use a 50/50 mixture of the two mediums when you’re using either clay soil, sand, or another type of sandy soil. Below, we will discuss how this mixture can be beneficial in both applications.
Using a 50/50 Coco Coir and Clay Soil Mix
While clay soil may not be the most common type of potting soil out there, it is often a great medium for growing plants with shallow roots. Some of the plants it works well with include:
- Snap peas
While clay does have its benefits, the thickness of this type of soil makes it prone to waterlogging, which can cause the roots of your plants to sit in a puddle of water. Adding coco coir into the mix can help to loosen the clay’s texture and add space between the layers. This makes it easier for roots to spread freely and draw nutrients from the clay more effectively.
Using a 50/50 Coco Coir and Sand Mix
Although sand may not be the first thing most people think of when they think about potting soil options, it’s actually a great choice for many types of plants! Things that typically do well in a sandy type of soil include:
The main problem with sand is that it dries out quite quickly. Luckily, adding a bit of coco coir to the mixture can help. Since coco improves water retention, your plants will have a much easier time absorbing the water they need to grow before the soil dries out.
When is It Not a Good Idea to Use a 50/50 Coco Soil Mix?
Although a 50/50 coco soil mix is a great idea in some situations, it’s not the best idea for all types of plants and soils. For example, you should never use a mixture consisting solely of coco coir and potting soil for any water-sensitive plants, such as succulents. This is because coco coir helps retain water in the soil, which can easily drown anything that thrives under dry conditions.
If you are truly dedicated to using this mixture to grow all your plants, or if you will be filling your garden bed with it, it’s typically best to add a bit of perlite. This material helps encourage water to drain from the soil, ensuring water-sensitive plants never sit in too damp of soil.
What is Perlite?
Perlite is a very lightweight granular material made from volcanic glass. It’s white in color, and may look familiar to some, as it’s a common additive in potting soil mixtures.
The great thing about perlite is that it is extremely porous. When added to a 50/50 coco soil mixture, it can help absorb excess water and improve drainage. This makes it much more appropriate for a wider range of plants. Add one cup of perlite for every four cups of your coco soil mixture for best results.
How to Create a 50/50 Coco Soil Mix
If you’ve decided to use a 50/50 mixture of coco coir and soil for your houseplants or in your garden, you may be wondering how you can go about creating one. Luckily, the process is relatively simple.
Depending on the type of coco coir you purchase, it may come loose or in a large compressed block. If it does come in a block, you will need to hydrate it by soaking it in water before you can use it. In most cases, it’s recommended that you soak it overnight.
Once the coco coir rehydrates and separates, you can begin incorporating it into your garden soil until you reach a 50/50 mix. If you’re using anything other than clay soil or sand, consider adding some perlite to the mixture. Generally, your ratio of perlite to coco/soil should be 1:4.
The Bottom Line
Coco coir, sometimes referred to as coco peat or simply “coco,” is a great growing medium for improving water retention. While a 50/50 mixture of coco and soil is a great idea for certain plants, it’s not an ideal combination for others. If you want to use a 50/50 coco soil mix in your garden, it’s usually best to add a bit of perlite to the mixture in order to absorb any extra water and prevent waterlogging.