Choosing wrong growing medium can result in overwatered succulents or dry them up. Ideally, gardeners recommend mixing coconut coir with garden soil, sand and vermicasting to kick start healthy growth of succulents.
Coconut coir is one of the best soil amendments that can be used to grow succulents. Apart from being inexpensive, coconut coir retains water and increases aeration for roots to breathe.
But, how can I use coconut coir to grow succulents?
Succulents are molded to adapt drought like situations. It stores water in its leaves, so it would prefer to grow in well-drained soil.
Saturated soil that locks moisture for long hours can actually lead to root rotting in succulents.
There are many commercial potting soil mixtures available in the market. But, most potting soil mixes are water retentive. You must use potting mixes that are labeled succulents or cactus.
Else, you can make your own potting soil at home, comparatively it is much cheaper.
As said, coconut coir is water retentive so you should mix 1 part of coconut coir with 1 part of garden soil and 1 part of sand. This homemade potting soil mix will drain water effectively and at the same time lock required amount of water for succulent plant roots.
Remember this: Succulents prefer well-drained and porous soil that provides good aeration to plant roots. Water the succulent only when the growing medium is completely bone dry.
Is Coconut Coir Good for Succulents?
Most succulents potting soil mix available online includes peat moss. Disadvantage of peat based soil is that they don’t effectively absorb water when dried completely.
Succulent plants on other hand like to be dry between watering.
Coconut coir efficiently absorbs water when dried and releases water slowly. Succulent plants that like more water find coconut coir a best replacement for peat moss.
Coconut coir is good for growing most succulent plants, only when you mix it with garden soil and sand or perlite.
You can also add some coconut coir in gritty mix for growing succulents.
Coconut coir is the best organic material for your potting mix.
Coconut coir improves aeration of your growing medium, but it also improves water retentiveness of the soil. Indoors succulents that doesn’t like much water may find it difficult.
As mentioned, you can use coconut coir to grow succulents but mix it with sand, soil, perlite or any gritty potting mix.
Also Read: How Long Can Snake Plant Go Without Water?
How to Use Coconut Coir for Succulents?
Coconut coir is a byproduct of coconut husk. Instead of throwing the husk, they are recycled to form the best soil amendment.
It is available in solid blocks, which you must soak in water overnight to be used for gardening.
You can grow adult succulents without coconut coir. Just using gritty mix will be enough to maintain healthy succulents.
However, for baby succulent plant if you use coconut coir it would help them to get enough water. As you know coconut coir is water retentive.
- Fill the container with gritty soil mix and add top layer with coconut coir.
- Plant young succulent plant, water generously and ensure to provide indirect sunlight.
Benefits of Using Coconut Coir
It is pH neutral, so you can use it as a component in potting soil. It helps to improve aeration of your growing medium.
Unlike peat moss which repels water when completely dried, coconut coir is easier to wet.
However, it takes comparatively more time than peat moss to decompose.
- Unlike peat moss coconut coir is sustainable and economical.
- You can use coconut coir in hydroponics with added nutrients. Plant roots can quickly absorb nutrients from coco peat than soil mixed.
- For succulents, you can let the coconut coir soil mix to dry completely. When watered generously, the coir soil mix provides space between soil particles and lock moisture till the succulent roots absorb them.
(Read this article on eggshells use on succulent plants)
Cons of Using Coconut Coir
If you’re using only coconut coir to grow succulents, then your plant will eventually die. As, coconut coir is water retentive and may lead to root rotting.
As discussed above, you must add a layer of coconut coir to gritty or any other soil mix.
Plants that are indoors and don’t get enough sunlight may find difficult with coconut coir, again due to water retention.
If your succulent is outside with plenty of indirect sunlight then using coconut coir can actually help them.
For indoor succulents, you must use coconut coir with caution.
So, best way is to make your own potting soil in which you can reduce or increase the ratio of coconut coir according to growing environment.
How to Make Succulent Soil with Coconut Coir?
For adult succulents that are drought tolerant don’t use coconut coir. However, for succulent babies or rescued succulents you can use coconut coir.
Depending on your climatic conditions you must decide whether to use coconut coir in potting soil or not.
If your space is getting enough indirect sunlight and your succulent love moisture, then you can use 1 part of coconut coir in potting mix.
But, remember to let the potting soil dry completely before watering.
If you notice overwatering issues like yellowing of leaves, then you must check potting soil and repot into pumice soil mix if needed.
Only for succulent babies
- Add 1 part of coconut coir
- 1 part of garden soil
- 1 part of sand
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While growing succulents it is vital that you choose well-drained soil. When mixed with perlite and soil, coconut coir can provide good aeration to succulent plants.
Best thing about coconut coir is that it can be completely left to bone dry between watering.
Can I use coconut coir for succulents? Yes, you can.
But, consider climatic conditions, plant location and sunlight exposure before watering your succulent.
As overwatering is the major issue with most succulent plants.
Mix garden soil with sand and coconut coir. This homemade potting soil is perfect to grow succulent baby plants.
As adult plants can tolerate drought like situation and they don’t need much water, you must use gritty mix with coconut coir.
Remember this: your potting soil mix should drain fast and a layer of coconut coir will help to rehydrate the plant roots.
For more succulent care read on here.