How to use cocopeat for your carnivrous plants.

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    Carnivorous plants often expect the substrate merely for the physical base to keep them grounded, significantly as a source of clean water & and for the roots to dig in away from the light. some pings and droseras do produce roots upwards, but that open for another conversation.

    Its is often safer to have one such substrate with rinsed sand / perlite that can help in water and air mobilization/drainage inside the substrate.

    Cocopeat as we all know is commonly being used everywhere for garderning and is affordable given the massive quantity a 5kg compressed brick can expand into. Except for a few fuzzy cps, majority of the others can be kept in chemically sterlized cocopeat and most nepenthes can straightaway be potten in a decent quality cocopeat without sterlizing them atall.

    Sterlizing them saves a tonne of ₹₹₹ ( money ) and they last long ! its fairly straightforward as below – (I’m writing this with a 5kg brick as a volumetric constant. if you use a 1kg brick, pl tone the volumes down proportionally)

    This has worked out just fine for me although it might seem harsh on the cocopeat. My cocopeat now is still super stable after 2 years.

    A. Materilas required :

    1. a tub – use something at home (~free)
    2. 15 lits of tap water – free aswell
    3. 5 lits of RO water – guessing free, or use distilled water (Rs. 100-200)
    4. 5kg cocopeat brick – Rs. 150
    5. hydrogen peroxide 500ml bottle – Rs. 75
    6. bleach powder (Calcium hypochlorite) 100gms – Rs. 25
    7. safety gloves and facemask (there can be co2 emmisions – do it in an open space / balcony) – ~Rs. 50 ?

    B. Procedure :

    1. Dissolve 3 table spoons of bleach powder in 5 lits of tap water.
    2. Drop the cocopeat brick in a tub with 10 lits of tap water and let it all upand expand as much as it can.
    3. Add the 5 lits of bleech dissolved water to it after its stable. (guess it takes about 30 -45 mins).
    4. Wear your gloves and mix them upto down for a min
    5. let it sit for half day (10-12 hours)
    6. Drain the water out by putting a cloth over the tub and tilting it or pouring the contents on a tray with holes.
    7. Drain the water out as much as you can, have the gloves on w/o fail.
    8. Some flush it with tap water again but you can skip that step if you dont feel like, some do it to make sure all the bleached out content goes away, its not really needed.
    9. Pour 100ml of 100% hydrogen peroxide (h202) solution into a tub with 5 lits of RO/rain/distilled water. soak the entire content in it for 1 day. – h202 helps in unlocking loose bleach particles that might have remained unreacted.
    10. Drain the water out as much as you can, h2o2 has a high decomposition rate when not contained in a stable environemnt, in less than one more day 99% of the excessive h202 that might be left out in the substrate would have broken down to water and oxygen.
    11. Voila – your substrate is ready and residue free with nearly no ph change in them for however long they are kept in water.

    C. Total method cost : Rs. 400-500 + 2 days time = ~25 kgs of substrate. ( 60% water weight )

    D. wt/vol Equivalent moss cost : 1kg of decent live sphagnum moss (60% water wight ) will be anywhere between Rs. 600- Rs. 800.00 ; Sphag Peat – Rs. 200- Rs. 400/kg

    for 25 kgs : moss :: Rs. 15,000 – Rs. 18,000
    for 25 kgs : coco :: Rs. 500.00

    • This topic was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by shiva.adam. Reason: draft edit

    This is interesting. I will try it the next time I clean a batch of cocopeat. Are you sure this is safe? Bleach seems fairly harsh in terms of pH. Hydrogen peroxide ought to neutralize the pH, but bleach will also decompose into salt. If I do this, I’d probably rinse the hell out of the cocopeat after bleaching to remove the salt from the bleach decomposition. And monitor pH level of the cocopeat to be on the safe side and dump in more hydrogen peroxide if it is on the high side.

    It does seem to be a fairly reliable method for getting a large quantity of sterile medium. I currently boil the cocopeat after rinsing. Right now I use sterile medium only for very small and rare plants, seeds and acclimatizing TC plants, but if sterilizing a large quantity of medium is possible, could be interesting to do it for bigger plants too.


    Yup, Its really safe aslong as you stick with the method, h202 is essentially to rip out and buffer out the bleach induced rapid decompositions/corrosions inside the matrix. I started out with rinsing too but the problem is, rinsing takes time which is propotional to what cocopeat takes to suck in and start breaking down so you will have to endup washing the whole matrix several times before the water color starts to change. sometimes cocopeat is compressed with soil fusion (clay powder) to increase mass and decrease imbibition time ( adultration in a way ) but if its for normal plants, the soil is only going to help. But for us that could not be favorable as it increases the amount of time and resources you endup using to remove the fine clay particles heat fused with cocopeat fiber ..

    Yes it can sound harsh, more like slow cooking and fast foods but just that here fastfood has not led to anything serious for the past 2.5 years.. it gets darkk and dense black , powdered in 3 or 4 days and remains that way with no residue coming out in the water, the ph is near neutral ( a bit on the acidic side 6.0 ) and the tds ( depends on the water source too :: mine is usually 10-12) output is about 12 ..

    If say during autumn I wana repot a few neps to expect a better flowring performance that spring ( just an example, not that neps need only cocopeat ), I have to repot about 150 to 200 neps, and 2 cakes fit my requirement and I endup shelling not more than Rs.1000.00 and I need not worry for another 2 years.. I found that easing my life a lot !

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