What is a Coconut Husk?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Coconut husks are the rough exterior shells of the coconut. While the husks are not used for food, like the meat and liquid found within the exterior shell, the husk can be used in several ways, including creating enriched potting soil and as chips that can be used to provide ground cover for flower beds. It is possible to purchase mass produced husk products or create the products at home using the shells of fresh coconuts.

A coconut's husk is the exterior shell.
A coconut's husk is the exterior shell.

The process employed to husk a coconut at home is relatively straightforward. All that is required is a fresh coconut and a long stick sharpened to a point at one end. The opposite end of the stick must be firmly planted into the ground, with the sharpened end pointing straight up. This creates the basic framework for removing the husk.

Coconut husks may be used as a potting soil enrichment.
Coconut husks may be used as a potting soil enrichment.

To begin the husking, the individual should grasp the coconut firmly with both hands and slam the body onto the sharpened point of the stick. This action will help to pierce the coconut husk and lift up a small section of the outer husk. Using one hand, he or she should peel the released husk away from the body of the coconut, repeating the process until the husk is completely removed.

Once the husk is removed, it is a simple task to use sharp knives to create chips that are ideal for use in flower beds and in gardens. The chips serve the same purpose as other common forms of ground cover, such as pine straw, in that they help to keep the underlying ground moist and capable of supplying the growing plants with nutrition. Since it's a natural element, it will decompose over time and also serve to enrich the soil.

In an industrial setting, machinery holds the coconuts in position while sharpened points work the husks free. The meat and milk of the coconut can then be used to make a number of different food products, while the husks are routed to other facilities and turned into chips or ground into a fine texture that mixes well into different types of potting soil. The nutrients found in the husk make it an ideal natural additive to the potting soil products, and will work well with all types of houseplants as well as with potted tomato or bell pepper plants.

The uses of coconut husks are primarily based around enriching potting soil or providing an effective ground covering around small plants in a garden setting. The husks can sometime also be used in the creation of various types of folk art items, as well, including masks, simple but decorative boxes, and even imaginative picture frames.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I mix coconut husk charcoal into my potting soil mix. The charcoal will help to regulate the pH of the water I use to feed my plants, and is a very effective remedy for acidic water. Acidic water will prevent a plant from absorbing macro and micronutrients, causing the plant to form deficiencies and become sick.

Most brown spots, curled leaves, mottling, and yellowing can be attributed to deficiencies. A combination of these symptoms is often a sign that the water is bad. If the plant cannot absorb nutrients, then you will see symptoms of multiple deficiencies. You can buy pH neutralizers to add to your water, but the coconut charcoal lasts much longer and is much cheaper. You can also use wood ash from almost any other species except for acidic wood like ash and cherry.


I use coconut husk fiber in my soil mix for my houseplants and it is great. The coconut husk prevents the potting soil from drying put and it allows enough oxygen to get to the roots. Until I started using coconut husk in my soil, my plants would suffer from root rot and the soil would get compacted and grow algae.

You can buy coconut husk in bricks for a few dollars. A brick goes a long way. I would simply soak the brick in water for an hour then mix the fluffy husk with potting soil and earthworm castings. It’s a great soil mix, and my plants stay healthy.

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