What's new

Cocopeat for nepenthes

Feb 16, 2015
Nalasopara (near Bombay/Mumbai)
I know this goes against traditional wisdom, but...

I am in India and use cocopeat more than peat (actually I don't have any plants in peat) though NZ sphagnum is my preference. I wash my cocopeat out several times regardless of source and then the last two rinses*** I soak it in dilute calcium nitrate. I soak it for a day at least. It does something where the sodium ions are replaced by calcium, which is better for root growth even though obviously it won't help the TDS. Not sure of the chemistry of it, but my results from cocopeat improved after adding this to my rinsing routine. Then I press as much water out as I can, soak in clean water for a couple of hours and press out as much water as I can and it is ready for use.

I wrote this in an email to someone asking about how to use cocopeat and got a scandalized reply about TDS and buildup and what not. Maybe there is buildup, I can't say, but logically, watering will leach out the calcium just as well as it would have the sodium, so I don't know what the fuss is about. Calcium nitrate is used as fertilizer anyway and many people fertilize the neps. I don't see the problem.

Anyway, shared, since I thought this could benefit with discussion. and if anyone wants to try.

Edit *** = This may seem misleading. With two rinses left, I do one with calcium nitrate soak and the last with good water soak. Not two calcium nitrate rinses.

Edit2: How many rinses before the calcium nitrate depends on the cocopeat. I eyeball it. If a lot of dark gunk is coming out, I rinse some more. If it is somewhat watery brown, I move to the calcium nitrate. Sometimes this can be one rinse, other times, it can be a few. Worst cocopeat I had took 8. It is almost impossible to rinse cocopeat till the water runs clear and I'm not sure it is necessary or desirable, but the water does get noticeably lighter.
Last edited:
Aug 4, 2008
Yeah, as long as you can remove all the salts for coco peat it should work just as well, at least for nepenthes.