Sun Gro Potting Mixes – What’s in the Mix?

Arett Outlook March 2016

Sun Gro retail products are made with the highest quality ingredients in the same facilities that produce their professional grower mixes. Their many brands cover every gardening need – from general gardening to container-specific planting to specialty plants and plant foods. Whether your customer is a weekend gardener or a master gardener, he or she will all find products to suit their plants, projects, and lifestyle.

A growing mix supports the plant and holds water and nutrients for its growth. The following is a brief overview of various ingredients found in Sun Gro’s mixes.

Sphagnum Peat Moss is the non-living, fibrous material formed when Sphagnum moss decomposes. While peat moss is brown, like garden soil, it has a different texture and weight; it’s light and spongy and crumbles into small clumps. It is nature’s best all-purpose soil conditioner because of its remarkable ability to manage water efficiently and hold nutrients that may otherwise leach out. That is why Sun Gro adds Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss to all of their key potting mixes.

Bark increases air capacity. Its unique particle size and shape allows air to circulate through the soil, providing oxygen to the roots.

Perlite is crushed volcanic rock that is expanded or “popped” in a furnace. Perlite particles are roundish and white. This natural additive is used to aerate the media and aid in water retention.

Coconut Coir is a by-product of the coconut fiber industry. Coir is the “dust” produced during processing. It adds bulk and texture to mixes and can hold up to 9 times its weight in water.

Compost is organic material (such as bark, peanut or rice hulls) that has been processed and decomposed. Compost is used primarily to provide natural and stabilized organic matter to a growing mix. Compost has excellent water-holding ability and a particle size that helps with oxygen exchange.

Earthworm Castings provide a rich, natural fertilizer. Castings are the end-product of the decomposition of organic materials by earthworms. Earthworm castings are nutrient rich and biologically active, and enhance the ability of soil to retain water.

RESiLIENCE® – Silicon (Si) is a beneficial plant nutrient that when added to a growing medium can result in more vigorous plants. RESiLIENCE is Sun Gro’s brand name for patented growing mixes enriched with silicon. RESiLIENCE mixes enhance plant quality, resulting in thicker/stronger stems, compact growth, increased root mass, and extended resistance to wilt.

Controlled Release Fertilizer is added to select potting and container mixes and soil amendments to provide a modest amount of fertilizer for several months. The fertilizer is “coated” so the fertilizer releases over time.

Mycorrhizae is a group of fungi which form a mutually beneficial relationship with many plants. It grows inside a plant’s roots or on its surface. The fungi benefits from the plant’s nutrients and in turn send their hyphae (similar to small roots) into the surrounding soil to absorb nutrients and water. Sun Gro utilizes a proprietary 7-species blend which provides greater mycorrhizal establishment in a wider variety of plants.

Wetting Agents make potting mixes wet up evenly. This ensures good water distribution throughout the root zone throughout the growth of the plant. This is critical for mixes which contain components that naturally repel water, such as peat moss.

Organic products are ingredients that are carbon based, were once alive, and do not contain synthetic chemicals. Examples include peat moss, bark, organic fertilizers, and organic wetting agents

Natural Products are other components such as perlite, vermiculite, gypsum, limestone, and RESiLIENCE silicon. “Natural” means they are not carbon based but are obtained from natural deposits and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals. Vermiculite and perlite, for example, are ground up, screened, and expanded.

The major role of a growing mix is to support the plant, while holding water and nutrients for the plant to use during growth. Sun Gro is the largest supplier of professional growing media in North America. They also are the leading manufacturer of Canadian Sphagnum peat in North America.

They combine the best quality components to ensure their growing media creates outstanding results every time.

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