peat moss disadvantages coco coir

Listed below are some of the disadvantages of peat moss but the most helpful question may actually be... Peat Moss or Coco Coir – Which works best for your garden?

Coco coir and peat moss are enhancers that allow water, air, and nutrients to flow better through soil and compost. These natural by-products have different properties so let’s compare the two. 


Both add volume, moisture, and root support to plants in any kind of garden. Peat moss has been easily available since the 1950s. Still, with concerns of sustainability and a more acidic pH, some farmers and gardeners have turned to coco coir, which has a more neutral pH and is basically the outside husk of coconuts that have been shredded, cleaned, and dried. 


Peat moss is harvested in Canada from wetlands, as sphagnum moss sinks through the marshes and decomposes over many decades. It is then dried and packaged for use as a soil additive, adding volume and water retention capabilities. A few major disadvantages of peat moss are:

  1. Peat moss ‘mining’ has raised ecological concerns as carbon is released during the harvest, into the air, possibly contributing to the effects of climate change.
  2. In addition, peat moss is dried and packaged but may still contain the potential for fungus gnats.
  3. Gardening with peat moss may also mean adding limestone (sometimes already done in the packaged product) to reduce acidity. 


Coco coir is made from the fibrous outside discarded husks of coconuts that are cleaned, chopped, and dried before being packaged for use. Coco coir has long been the go-to medium for hydroponic (soil-free) gardening as it absorbs water, holds nutrients, and is pH neutral. It absorbs water faster than peat moss but may dry out a little quicker, too, making it an excellent soil enhancer in areas of heavy clay soil or poor drainage. Since coco coir must be imported from overseas, transport and thorough cleaning are two issues environmentalists cite when comparing coco coir to peat moss. However, the process renders coco coir fungus-free and insect-resistant. 


While peat moss decomposes, coco coir is reusable. Garden experts recommend removing old root debris and cleaning coco coir if it will be reused to start seeds or root plant cuttings. Studies have concluded that there is little difference in plant growth with either enhancer since they hold water and nutrients that benefit plants. 


So, with two different additives on the market, let’s look at the differences between these natural products you can mix into your soil or compost: 


Coco Coir  

  • Easily attained by-product of coconuts 
  • Neutral pH 
  • Ideal for composting and soil-free gardening 
  • Insect and fungus resistant 
  • Absorbs water fast 
  • Reusable 
  • Mixes well with soil or peat moss 
  • Holds up to 80% of its volume in water 


Peat Moss 

  • Harvested after breaking down in bogs for hundreds of years 
  • Great for acid-loving plants 
  • Limestone additives may be needed to neutralize pH 
  • Holds about 65% of its volume in water 
  • Contains a natural waxy kind of coating that may require another additive for absorption 
  • Holds water in longer 
  • May attract fungus gnats 


Based on the advantages of Coco Coir listed above and the fact that our gardening customers have had tons of success with it in their gardens, we strongly recommend the Home and Country Coconut Fiber Compressed Coco Coir Brick – Check it out today!


Also check out our Home and Country USA Ultimate Organic Seed Starting Mix, which also includes a Coco Coir brick to try out Coco Coir while getting your seeds started the right way.


Have more questions? Check in with the pros at Home and Country USA to see how great your garden can be.

Coco coirGardens

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