Growing in coir

Tue, 30 Dec 2008 13:16:35 PST
I am far from an expert, but two years ago I began using coir for most 
of my new plants.  I was having a lot of trouble with bulbs rotting.  
Peat based composts disintegrate very quickly in my hot and humid 
weather...and bark is not much better.  Grit is not readily available 
here (crushed sea shells are used as a substitute.) It worked well on my 
orchids and gesneriads so I decided to try it on the bulbs.  I have been 
very pleased with the results so far.  My experience has been the same 
as Tom.  The root growth is excellent...  much better than any other 
medium I have tried.  It does not pack and there is good air exchange.  
It does not get sodden, even with all our summer rain.  The only problem 
I have had so far is moss on some of my large troughs during rainy 
season.  During our dry season the tops of  the troughs dry out and the 
moss dies.  I have not had this with pots.  I use a slow release 
fertilizer (with minors) and some epsom salts once or twice a year.  We 
are low on magnesium.  I find that mixing perlite or pumice with the 
coir is even better and I have begun using that on some succulents.  The 
secret to growing with coir is to use a very good grade. It's expensive 
but worth it as the coir does not have to be replaced as often as peat 
or bark.  I purchase mine from a hydroponic store...even then...I leach 
it with water several times before using it.  Even my South African 
bulbs seem to like it.  This is their first year in it so I will have to 
see how the mix re-wets next fall.

Regards to all.  I really enjoy being part of this wonderful group.

Lynn Makela
Tampa, Florida

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