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Thread: Experience with coco peat?

  1. #1

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    Howdy:

    Am starting a series of commercial trials with different growing media that are inexpensive and locally (Guatemala) available.

    While most of the materials being used in the trial are fairly traditional or straightforward (long fibred sphagnum, coarse sphagnum peat, fine conifer bark, pumice, lava chips, shredded tree fern, etc.), I have also made up a mix of fine, composted, hammer-milled coco fibre + 4 mm pumice at a 1:1 ratio and set up 20 x 6" plastic hanging pots with rooted cuttings from several common highland Nepenthes spp. in it.

    I see that coarser grade coco chips, with or without ammendments, appear to be popular with some growers on this forum following BE's successful use of it as a growing medium in Sri Lanka. I was wondering whether anyone here has used the finer grades of coco peat with Neps. Frankly, I'm a bit leery about it, since it seems rather "heavy" when wet, but the distributors claim that the local hort trade has had fantastic results with it as a substitute for sphagnum peat. The pumice does appear to open it up quite a bit, but I'm still concerned about compaction and nutritional issues down the road. What makes it an attractive option is price - but it still needs to do the job...

    Thanks in advance,

    Jay

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Hi Jay,

    If I recall correctly BExotics uses primarily coco peat not chips. Many growers are now using chips in place of items like fir bark, particularly in the orchid industry. I have also recently been using the fine coco peat in part or whole to replace the sphagnum peat I was adding to my Nepenthes and Heliamphora mix. Even the fine grade is alot coarser than the Sphagnum peat. So I think I will get that little bit of soil feel in my mix I am after, but improve drainage and airation beyond what I was getting with the Sphagnum peat.

    In case anyone else is wondering I also use the coco husk chips (fine grade), perlite, slightly chopped NZ or Chilean Sphagnum as the other ingredients.

    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    rattler's Avatar
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    ive been using the coco peat stuff a bit. i havent used it much with Neps, mainly with Utrics and Drosera because i have been having trouble peat turning to sludge in perminatly wet conditions, not a big deal with common species but when it happes to something a tad bit rare its REALLY annoying. it has worked alright so far especially with some chopped up LFS added to wick the moisture to the soil surface. as Tony said it is coarser than regular peat. personally i have been using pure Chilean LFS with my Neps do to the fact i found a nice sized bale for a decent price and my neps seem to like it better than any of my soil experiments so far.
    cervid serial killer
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    Tony & rattler:

    Thanks for your quick feedback. From the photos they post, I had concluded that BE was using shredded coco fibre, rather than milled coco peat. I have friends here who use chopped coco husk for orchid cultivation, and appear to have very good results with it. This very coarse/chipped inland origin material appears to keep open and well-aerated for ages.

    Tony - it sounds like we're discussing a similar-textured material. The coco peat that I'm trying is strikingly similar in appearance & specific gravity (haven't tasted it yet!) to fine used coffee grounds. I'm very relieved to hear that you're working with it.

    rattler - I do use a lot of pure NZ sphagnum to root Nep cuttings and grow Helis, but I do find that it works better if you blend it with something else (treefern or pumice) when you keep it wet, since these ammendments - even in small amounts - help keep it from compacting over time. My personal collection is in NZ sphagnum + treefern fibre + charcoal, but these experiments may prompt me to change to something a bit longer lived and more environmentally friendly.

    Cheerio,

    Jay

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    rattler's Avatar
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    ill keep that in mind Jay. dont have any Neps in need of potting in the near future though.

    Rattler
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
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    Maybe we can get Rob to comment here, but I was pretty sure he was using the coco fiber-not coco peat. The only thing I remember reading is that it was a big disappointment to Peter D'Amato, as it made a nasty mush(copact) and did not last as long as he hoped..

    Cheers,

    Joe

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    rattler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (The Griffin @ Nov. 30 2004,8:08)]it made a nasty mush(copact) and did not last as long as he hoped..
    i have had peat do this to. i guess it may depend on how you use it.
    cervid serial killer
    Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no peace, no safety
    I didn't get stimulated but he kept his promise on change, that's about all I got left!
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    I have had gotten some plants from borneo exotics with some soil still atatched to them ,and it more like peat in consistance than fibre ,but I remember Rob writing some where about boiling it and rinsing it very well ,so might be good remove some of finer particels by soaking and rinsing it well before úsing it

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