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I am an old newbe so please excuse my silly questions

I am about to start growing trees, shrubs and flowers 

I have got a very small greenhouse in a small hanky sized bit of land and window sills 

I thought the Coir compost would be perfect for me as long as I can grow the above from seeds ...and would it do for bonsai trees

Thank you for helping



Last edited: 09 August 2017 23:03:57


Coir is ground up coconut shells and fibre, great for the producers in the developing world as they can get money for what would otherwise be a worthless waste product.  I go through about eight coir bricks a year.  But it contains scarcely any nutrients for plants.  Some suppliers, eg the Organic Gardening Catalogue, sell sachets of nutrient powder to add.  I also add a double handful of seaweed meal to each brick, to help with water retention.  I don't know if it's suitable for bonsai, I'll leave that for someone else to answer.  It's great for seeds because there are no weed seeds in it, so you know that whatever comes up is what you've sown.  I don't find it so useful for growing bigger plants in pots because it's so light they fall over.

And I don't think it was a silly question.

Last edited: 09 August 2017 23:37:38

It's not a silly question, but coir compost, which is made from coconut husks, is very high in taurine, which is toxic to a wide range of plants. I have never had any success with it and don't use it any more. Home made compost is the best but if you can't make enough anything bark-based is good. 

Good luck


Last edited: 10 August 2017 01:39:13


I wouldn't use coir for general gardening use at all.
Soil/compost is able to resist changes to the acidity/alkalinty as it has strong 'buffering' properties. i.e. it resists change and keeps itself stable. Coir does not and unless you're very careful it's easy to kill plants. 
I'd strongly suggest using a seed compost for your seeds, and mpc (multi purpose compost) for the other stuff - I've been very pleased with Grow Wise mpc with added JI
If you're growing plants in pots long-term, then John Innes 2 or 3 with added grit is your best option.


Thank you ALL so much ... It is so confusing trying to work out what type of soil for what plants ... Do you know if there is a list anywhere that I can go to please ... 

Last edited: 10 August 2017 10:59:08



Most plants will be happy in mpc or John Innes - they're designed to be suitable for most plants.
If you're planning on growing acers/rhododendrons and the like, they don't like alkaline soil, but that's when they're in the soil in your garden. You can buy ericaceous compost for these plants.
If you give us some ideas as to what you plan to grow, I'm sure you'll get help here.
Generally speaking you wont go wrong with MPC and/or JI


I would like to grow from seed all sorts of plants that will sell in the community charity shop ... As I live in a flat I want to do it but I have not the space to keep them ... so anything pretty I can get cheap enough to give them to sell .. from seeds to cuttings ... from flowers to shrubs and trees ... Any advice or recommendations would be happily received 

Thank you all so much for your help 

Please keep in mind I am a pensioner and I am giving the plants away so Please keep things as cheap as possible

Thanks again



If you're in a flat, then I'd not grow trees or shrubs. They take many years from seed and you don't have the right conditions - unless you have a big sheltered balcony?
Start of with the easy stuff. From seed you can grow most of the half-hardy annuals/perennials  - like marigolds, asters, dahlias, cosmos etc and you can grow lettuce, cabbage etc and sell them as seedlings next spring.
There's a lot you could grow, you're limited only by the space you have and if you can provide enough light to keep them healthy.


Sorry to disagree, but coir is an excellent growing medium, especially for starting seeds in.

It is environmentally friendly and is a great soil conditioner, due to its fibrous nature.

It is recommended by the RHS. and used in their gardens.

I agree that it does not hold nutrients well, so not good for long term use in pots.


Oh dear Now I am confused .. I thought that the Coir being light and versatile would be perfect for me and I love the thought of using a normally throw away product so is good for the earth ... I am going to do an experiment with it and John Innes compost and compare ... I will first be growing pampus grass from seed as its cheap and should not take too long I hope


Can I suggest you use mpc rather than John Innes for your experiment.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.

I'd guess that both will germinate your seed very well, but using coir for growing-on would not be my recommendation unless you use hydroponic fertilizers from the seedling stage.

I use coir in heavy pots as it is lighter than mpc so I can still move the pots around. I add plant food pellets to it and have not noticed any difference between pots with mpc and pots with coir. My seeds were fine in it and my dahlia tubers also did well.

i also do my  succulents in it mixed with a some garden grit.

nan if you want something simple and easy to do in a flat that won't take up to much room and is quite cheap to do try succulents. You could get a couple of different ones and divide up the babies and grow them on for selling. 

Last edited: 10 August 2017 16:57:17

Mike Allen

I think one of the best things with gardening/growing is being able to experiment. I found that it is extemely free draining, so light, which make lifting pots and containers so easy.  Hanging baskets are easy to handle.  I actually trie a mix of MPC plus coir and perite.  I was pleased to see and hear Monty agree with what I had posted in another thread, that incorporating Perlite in the compost, helps to retain water.  My statement was misinterpreted by a fellow member.  I am pleased to report.  The Fuchsias, Stephanotis and Anthurium scherzerianum are all doing well.  I will certainly use this mix with my new lot of lilies, taking into account of course the pH likes and dislikes.

Back to Sue.  Give it a go.  Just try a few seeds/plant at a time.  Help is always here on the forum.


Thank you Mike 

I am sorry but I seem to be more confused now lol 

I have ordered the coir and john innes seed compost 

I am going to try both to see how it goes 

what do you think about mixing them together to make a third version 


thank you Sussexsun 

I am looking at all sorts of things and succulants look good .. I do not think I want to try vegetables unless its just for me




thank you pete8 for advice 

I really am trying to take it all in lol

Mike Allen

Sorry for problems caused.  Simply adding my mundane experience.  Enjoy your garden.



Have your tried looking at your local freecycle to see if anyone has plants they want to give away.

I gave away a whole load of plants I had split up  last year.

If you advertise that you need them for a charity shop you might find people more willing to give you excess stock.

Do you live anywhere near Cheshire?


Thats a brilliant idea Iamweedy .. I will have a go at that 

Thank you 

I am buying up peoples old pots at the moment too

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