Coconut Water & Plant Growth

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Coconut water could prove to be a boon to vegetable growers.

Sometimes called coconut milk, coconut water is said to contain significant amounts of important nutrients and to correct nutritional imbalances and other health conditions in humans. Research shows that it could have the same effect on plants by promoting strong root systems and more rapid growth and development.


Research Findings

According to a 2009 article in Current Science, the purity of coconut water makes it an ideal medium in which to grow a type of bacteria that is beneficial to plant propagation. Rhizobacteria exerts "a positive influence on the plant growth especially under stress conditions," according to the article. The rhizobacteria is thought to not only promote more rapid root formation but to create a barrier for diseases that could kill the roots and ultimately the entire plant.


Tomato and black pepper seeds treated with bacteria produced in naturally sterile coconut water sprouted more quickly and produced stronger healthier roots. Packed with amino acids, minerals and vitamins, coconut water provides an uncontaminated nutritional supplement for bacteria important to plant growth.


Significant Differences

While coconut water seemed to have no effect on leaf production and seedling weight in tests reported in the Current Science article, there was a measurable difference in the height and shoot weight of the plants when treated with coconut water.

Other Tests

In further research conducted in 2008 at the University of Karachi in Pakistan, kiwi seedlings showed significantly higher growth activity when treated with a coconut water solution than those that were not. Decay was also more rapid in plant shoots not treated with coconut water. The decay was reversed once the shoots were returned to the coconut water solution.



The plants used in the experiments performed better if the bacterial growth medium was produced using coconut water. In India, a major producer of black pepper, plant propagation is done using cuttings from plant runners. Farmers there routinely treat the cuttings with coconut water before transferring them to nurseries.


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Rachel Lovejoy

Rachel Lovejoy has been writing professionally since 1990 and currently writes a weekly column entitled "From the Urban Wilderness" for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine, as well as short novellas for Amazon Kindle. Lovejoy graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.