Peat Moss vs. Coconut Coir: Weighing the Pros and Cons for Your Houseplants

Choosing a potting mix for your houseplants can seem daunting with the number of options available on the market. Most commercial potting mixes are made up of multiple ingredients, but peat moss and coconut coir are two of the most popular amendments due to their ability to retain moisture and provide aeration to plant roots. However, there are some pros and cons to consider when using each of them.

Peat Moss

An image of a commercial peat bog in Alberta, Canada.
Commercial Peat bog in Alberta, Canada

Peat moss is a type of partially decomposed plant material that is found in wetlands. It is often used in gardening and horticulture as a soil  substrate to improve soil structure, water retention, and nutrient availability.

Peat moss is formed when plants, such as sphagnum moss, die and fall into wetlands. The wet, acidic conditions slow down the process of decomposition, allowing the plant material to accumulate and form peat over time. Peat moss is typically found in bogs, fens, and other wetland environments.

To produce peat moss commercially, machines are used to extract the peat from the wetland environment. The peat is then processed and dried before being packaged and sold as a soil amendment.

Pros of Peat Moss:

  • Peat moss is an excellent water retainer, which means it can help keep plant roots hydrated for longer periods of time.
  • It is an organic material, so it is free of chemicals and naturally occurring.
  • It has a slightly acidic pH, which is ideal for acid-loving plants like philodendrons, monsteras, and other common houseplant species.

Cons of Peat Moss:

  • Peat moss is a non-renewable resource that is harvested from bogs and wetlands, which can damage the ecosystem.
  • Peat moss releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when it is removed from peat bogs.
  • It has a high carbon footprint due to the energy required to harvest, transport, and package it.
  • Peat moss becomes hydrophobic when it dries out, making it difficult to rehydrate once completely dry.

 

Coconut Coir

Coconut coir, also known as coco coir, is a natural fiber that comes from the husk of a coconut. It is a byproduct of the coconut industry and is becoming increasingly popular as a sustainable alternative to peat moss in gardening and horticulture.

four example of coconut coir: bricks, husks, fiber, and pith.
An example of the multiple forms of coconut coir for indoor gardening.

To produce coconut coir, the outer layer of the coconut, known as the husk, is removed from the coconut, and the long fibers are extracted. These fibers are then cleaned, washed, and processed to create a variety of products, including coconut coir.

Coconut coir is available in various forms, including coco peat, chunks, and loose fibers. It is a renewable resource that is biodegradable making it an environmentally friendly alternative to peat moss.

Pros of Coco Coir:

  • It is available in a wide variety of products, such as coconut peat, fiber, and chunks.
  • Coconut coir is a renewable resource made from coconut byproducts that would otherwise be discarded.
  • It has excellent water retention properties, so it can help prevent plants from drying out.
  • Coconut coir has a neutral pH, which means it won’t affect the soil’s acidity.
  • Does not become compacted or hydrophobic like peat moss, making it excellent for drainage and root aeration.

Cons of Coco Coir:

  • Coconut coir does not contain naturally occurring nutrients, so regular fertilizing is necessary for healthy growth
  • Can cause calcium and magnesium imbalances if not properly supplemented.
  • It has a high salt content, which can be harmful to plants if not thoroughly washed before use.
  • The production process of coconut coir requires a lot of water, which can be an issue in regions with water scarcity.

In summary, both peat moss and coco coir have their own set of advantages and disadvantages when used as a potting substrate. While peat moss is a great water retainer, it is not a sustainable resource and can have a negative impact on the environment. On the other hand, coco coir is a renewable resource, but it may require more effort to use due to its high salt content.

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Return Policy

Last Updated July 2, 2022

Thank you for your purchase. We hope you are happy with your products! However, if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you may be able to return it to us for a full refund or store credit. Please see below for more information on our return and exchange policy.

Returns

Plants: Plants are eligible for a full refund or exchange with returned within seven (7) days of the purchase date. All returned plants must be in their original nursery pots with tags intact and proof of purchase. Plants may be exchanged for another plant of equal or lesser value. We are not responsible for the death or damage of plants that have been removed from their original pots after purchase. 

Non-plant goods: Any non-plant goods (pottery, macrame, plant care products, etc.) can be returned in new, unused condition for a full refund or exchanged for another item of equal or lesser value within fourteen (14) days of purchase. Packaging may be opened, but the product must be unused and returned with all of its original, undamaged packaging. 

Return Process

To return an item, contact us by email at ashley@pollenplant.co

For Plant returns/exchanges:

  • Title email “Return/exchange [your order #]”
  • please provide a detailed description of why you wish to return or exchange the plant, including any damage/pests/etc. 
  • Include a picture of the plant in its original pot.

For non-plant returns/exchanges:

  • Title email “Return/exchange [your order #]”
  • A brief description of why you wish to return the item
  • A photo of the unused item in its original packaging

All return requests will be responded to within 1-2 business days. If the return is appropriate, a pickup date and time will be arranged free of charge.

Refunds

After we receive your returned item and inspect its condition, we will process your refund or exchange. Refunds will be sent to your original method of payment. Refunds might take 1-2 billing cycles to post to your credit card statement, depending on your bank. We will notify you by email when your return has been processed.

Restrictions

Plants that have been removed from their original nursery pots are not eligible for return or exchange.

Non-plant items that have been used or damaged (including any packaging) are not eligible for return or exchange.

All sales are final on discounted items, and they cannot be returned or exchanged.

Questions

Questions or concerns about our return policy? Please contact us at ashley@pollenplants.co