DWC VS Coco-Coir. Advantages and Disadvantages.

DWC VS Coco-Coir. Advantages and Disadvantages.


In case if you are a Home gardener or interested in farming, then you would have probably come across the term ” Hydroponic System”. This is not a new method of farming. 

In fact, a similar farming method was used in Babylon years ago for making hanging gardens or plants. With hydroponics you can grow food in your own house with the required instruments by maintaining room temperature and humidity.

What is a Hydroponic system? 

Hydroponic is a type of horticulture and a subset of Hydroculture which basically grows crops without soil. It uses only mineral nutrient solutions in aqueous state. 

This is one of the simplest and efficient ways to provide food and water to your plant. In general if we see plants don’t need soil, they only need water and minerals present in soil and soil supplies it to the plant through roots. 

Hydroponics is increasing rapidly these days as people find it easier with satisfying results. Here the roots are supported by substances like peat moss, clay pellets, perlite and rockwool

If you are looking to use a hydroponic system for farming at your home or in your land, there are various variations available for you to use. Although, there are only six main hydroponic system types under which all other variations are situated.

What is Deep Water Culture? 

Deep water culture is a hydroponic method of farming, it is done by suspending the plant roots in a nutrient rich solution of oxygenated water. This is also known as Deep flow Technique(DFT), floating raft technique (FRT), or raceway.

This method is called Deep water Culture for two reasons. The first one is that you typically throw this with a reservoir that can hold a sufficient amount of water. More water is equal to more stability in your nutrient solution. Which basically means less maintenance and monitoring.

The second reason is because of the root mass you submerge in water. Other methods expose your plants roots to air and drench them only a few times a day. 

The Ebb and Flow method is one example of this. In deep water, the roots are submerged in water 24/7 – Hence the name !

Advantages and DisAdvantages of Deep Water Culture. 

Deep Water Culture is popular for many reasons, the primary reason is that they are very easy and simple farming methods to start with. The only simpler system is the Wicking system.

Advantages of Growing plants through this method

  • Very low maintenance after setting up.
  • Fastest growing time when compared to soil farming method. For instance, you can grow Lettuce in 30 days where it takes 60 days in soil.
  • As the plants are located in deep water there is no much need for fertilizers.
  • Improves plant absorption due to aeration of roots, also increases cell growth rate.
  • Very little moving parts.

Disadvantages of PVC Hydroponic system

Every process, every ingredient and everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. Similarly the Deep Water Culture. The disadvantages are not noticeable if you maintain your garden properly.

  • In small systems , pH, water level and nutrient concentration may fluctuate widely.
  • If there is any electrical outage or pump failure, roots may drown in low oxygen nutrient solution.
  • It is difficult or it can be difficult to maintain consistent water temperature.
  • In small systems, it is very easy to over or under calibrate.

An example of Deep Water Culture Hydroponic system.

A Great example of Deep water culture Hydroponic system is the 5 gallon hydroponic bucket also known as bubble bucket system. This is very simple to make and can grow large fruit plants.

In this method of agriculture you don’t have to worry about the growing medium that holds extra moisture. The plant’s roots are submerged in water or a reservoir which is full of nutrients and the oxygen is provided to the roots by using an air stone or air diffuser.

Oxygen and air source plays a vital role in Deep Water Culture, because roots which don’t receive oxygen can be drowned in the nutrient solution.

What is Coco-coir? 

Coco coir is called Coconut fiber or just coir. It is a fibrous material that is extracted from the coconut shell. It is a tough material that is usually used in making doormats, brushes and growing mediums for plants.

Coco coir is considered as the primary block for growers when moving from soil to hydroponic farming.

Advantages of Coco- coir.

  • Coco-Coir has a neutral pH for growing (5.5 – 6.5)
  • Proper drainage and air exposure for the roots, low risk of overwatering as with soil
  • There are no nutrients, so you get a blank slate and full control from the start, similar to DWC.
  • Environmentally friendly product. It can be reused and its product is sustainable.
  • Has natural antifungal properties, root rot is not as much of a concern.
  • We recommend coco for all growers that cannot maintain room temperatures under 80 F and water temps below 70F.
  • Organic nutrients can be used, unlike DWC which requires the use of synthetic nutrients only.

Disadvantages of using Coco-Coir.

  • It is messy and the fibers can get everywhere.
  • It is not as efficient as DWC where the roots have constant access to the nutrient solution.
  • Without automatic irrigation, plants should be watered frequently
  • pH and EC/PPM cannot be continually monitored like with DWC
  • Improperly stored coco can carry pathogens into your grow area.
  • Plants do not grow as quickly as DWC.
  • Coco needs to be sanitized between grows and replaced every 2-3 grows, which means you have ongoing costs unlike with DWC where hydroton can be reused indefinitely.

Top 3 Coco-Coir reviews.

1. Plantonix Coco Bliss Premium Coconut Chips Block.

The Plantonix Coco Bliss Premium Coconut Chips Block is the ideal grow medium for hydroponic gardening. This Coco brick is washed multiple times to get rid of salt, dirt and dust so no preparation required as it has low pH. You just need to add water before using it.

It can also be used as an alternative to soil for potted plants. The Plantonix offers coco blocks of 10lb and 20lb as per your requirement.


  • High quality.
  • Worth the money.
  • 100% organic.
  • OMRI listed.
  • Sustainable alternative to peat moss.
  • Can be used as a soil amendment
  • Highly economical brick expands up to 2.25-cubic feet.
  • Has been washed multiple times to remove salt, dirt, and debris.
  • Low pH level.
  • Superior water holding capacity, excellent aeration, and drainage.
  • Easy to use.
  • Available in 10lb and a 20lb coco coir brick


  • Expensive
  • May still contain some sand which may not be ideal for some hydroponic systems.


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2. Mother Earth Coco Bale 100% Coconut Coir Fibers.

The Mother Earth Coco Bale is a perfect choice for both outdoor and indoor gardening. It is made of 100% natural coconut fibre which is a best alternative to potting soil. Mother Earth is already pre washed so it is low in salt content and safe for your plants.

This highly compressed coco bar expands upto 60 ltrs when dipped in water, which is the best economical choice for any gardener.


  • Very good quality
  • Great value for money
  • Reasonable price
  • Ideal for outdoor container gardens, indoor plants, and a worm farm
  • Made from 100% natural coconut fibers
  • Pre-washed
  • Low salt content
  • Contains a combination of long and short fibers
  • Better alternative to potting soil
  • Exceptional water holding capacity
  • Good porosity and drainage abilities
  • Expands to approximately 60-liters of material
  • Coco peat bag and a coco + perlite bag also available


  • May still contain some sand which can clog some hydroponic systems
  • Has a strong odor.
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3. FoxFarm Coco Loco Potting Mix.

The FoxFarm Coco Loco Potting Mix will help your budding plants to grow well. This organic mix is the perfect medium for growing plants due to its rich , silky and soft coconut palm humus.

It contains essential plant ingredients such as perlite, earthworm castings, fossilized bat guano, oyster shell and dolomite lime. Plants that grow in this medium don’t require watering frequently unlike traditional potting.


  • High quality
  • Great value
  • Ideal for seeding starting and transplanting
  • Can be used for indoor potted plants, vertical gardens, and outdoor container gardens.
  • Organic.
  • Rich, silky soft coconut palm hummus is light, buoyant, and never soggy
  • Contains essential potting soil nutrients
  • Coco fibers have superior water retention and good drainage
  • Lower humidity helps to prevent mold, root rot, and insects


  • May contain small rocks or sticks
  • No pH-listing
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Frequently Asked Questions.

1. What plants can be grown in deep water culture?

Any plant  that doesn’t have to flower can be grown. Varieties of lettuce and different herbs will grow well in Deep water culture. They grow fast and healthy. However you can al;so grow tomatoes, peppers and even large fruits like squash but it needs an extra effort.

2. How to know Oxygen level of my nutrient solution?

You can do this by buying a dissolved oxygen meter, but they are too costly. We don’t recommend buying a cheap one which is not very accurate. The best way is monitoring, just make sure all the ph, nutrient levels are good and keep water at the right temperature and run your air pump.

3. What type of nutrients can be used in deep water culture?

Companies offer a variety of nutrient varieties in hydroponic farming. So it can be hard to figure out which is best for you. So in our opinion it is best to start with something which is damn simple like the general hydroponic flora series. It is a three part hydroponic nutrient that you mix in varying quantities based on the plant’s growth stage.

4. Can we use Coco coir in DWC?

No, it is not recommended for you to use coco coir in dwc or any other growing system that frequently exposes grow medium to water.

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