Coco, sometimes referred to as coir, is made from the processed husks of coconuts.
It’s favored by growers for its ability to soak up and retain moisture, its buffering qualities, and because it can be easily mixed with other substrate types. Coco can come in preformed blocks in different sizes for various stages of plant growth, or loose, like potting soil. It’s typically economical for commercial purposes and can be procured from a variety of sources, mostly in India and Sri Lanka.
Coco growing media is made of coconut husks that have been flushed with fresh water to remove the salts. While coco is a natural substrate, coco processing is required to make it usable, which often comes with ecological impacts ranging from deforestation to the release of high-saline wastewater back into the environment. If it isn’t properly treated by the manufacturer, studies show that coco can also include high levels of salts, pectin, pectosan, fat, tannins, polyphenols and even pathogens that may adversely affect the root zones and water transference of various crops, including cannabis. In addition to solvents and other byproducts leaching into natural waterways, coir processing can also adversely affect irrigation lines and water recirculation efforts, reducing the efficient use of freshwater resources.