Sun Gro’er Blog

February: BCI 2020 Spring Trade Show

2020 BCI Spring Trade Show Ad

Sun Gro will be at booth 340.

Meet Sun Gro Horticulture at the Bradley Caldwell 2020 annual spring show held from February 4-5, 2020 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Check out our newest products and services and get the best deals possible on this year’s order.

February: Do It Best Market – Spring

Do it Best Market February 2020 Ad

Sun Gro will be at booth 4652.

We invite all Do It Best store owners to come and see all of the new products and services Sun Gro Horticulture will offer in 2020. Stop by our booth to get the best deals of the year. The event will be held from February 7-10, 2020 at the Indianapolis Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.


February: Progreen Expo 2020

Pro Green Expo Logo

Sun Gro will be at booth 2106.

Sun Gro Horticulture will be at the Progreen Expo 2020 held from February 5-7, 2020 at the Colorado Convention Center, in Denver, Colorado. Ever since 1996, ProGreen has been the #1 show for green-industry professionals in the Rocky Mountain Region with over 6,000 attendees that gather to discover new products, learn about new industry trends, and make new connections.

December: Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo 2019

Great Lakes Expo Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market December 2019 Ad

We’ll be at booth 205!

Connect with Sun Gro Horticulture at Michigan’s top green industry show that caters to fruit and vegetable, greenhouse, and market growers! The three-day event will be held December 10-12, 2019 at the DeVos Place Conference Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We will be in the exhibit hall with over 450 other exhibitors.


December: Southern US Hemp Growers Conference & Expo 2019

Southern US Hemp Conference & Expo December 2019 Ad

Meet us at Booth 102!

Sun Gro Horticulture will be promoting its line of growing media for hemp at the Southern US Hemp Growers Conference & Expo 2019 held from December 2-4, 2019 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This impressive event is just in its second year.

Companies like Sun Gro support the resurgence in hemp growing in the United States. Stop by our booth to see all of the great products and services that we have to offer in 2020.

November: Expo-FIHOQ 2019

Expo FIHOQ November 2019 (French)

Sun Gro Horticulture is proud to be a part of Expo-FIHOQ–Quebec’s premier trade show for professionals in the horticulture and landscaping industries. It will be held from November 20-22, 2019 the Centrexpo Cogeco in Drummondville.

Sun Gro has a wide variety of peat and bark based potting mixes for the hemp, floriculture, and nursery industries. Stop by our booth to see all of the great new products and services that we have to offer in 2020. We strive to help our customer’s businesses grow.

November: Expo AgroAlimentaria Guanajuato-Mexico 2019

Expo Agroalimentaria Guanajuato Logo

Join Sun Gro Horticulture and Mexico’s most prominent green industry expo, AgroAlimentaria Expo-Mexico 2019 held from November 12-15 in Irapuato, Mexico.

Since 1996, this impressive event invites companies from the agricultural and agro-industrial industries. Sun Gro has lots of new products and services to present for 2020. Come visit our booth, and let us help you grow better crops and business!

November: San Diego Farm & Nursery Expo 2019

Farm Bureau San Diego County Logo

Meet us a booths 19 and 20!

Sun Gro Horticulture has lots of new things to offer farm and nursery industry professionals in 2020! We welcome southern California growers to visit our booth at the San Diego Farm & Nursery Expo 2019 held on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, California.

We offer the best in growing media and fertilizers for the hemp, floriculture, nursery, and other indoor and outdoor growing businesses. Sun Gro’s expertise is growing!


November: Eddi’s Expo 2019 – West

Eddi's Expo 2019 Featured Image

We’ll be a booth 27!

Come out and meet Sun Gro Horticulture at Eddi’s Expo 2019 held at Tradex in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada on Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Green industry companies and professionals will come together to discover everything related to gardening and outdoor activities. Discover all the new things that Sun Gro has to offer in 2020!

The Sun Gro Silicon Story

Sun Gro Silicon Story
Figure 2: Salvia splendens Mohave™ Red grown in Fafard F-15 (5 days after the last watering).

Silicon (Si) has been used for years in agriculture because of its many, well-documented benefits to plants. Si enters plant roots as silicic acid. Once inside the plant, it travels rapidly to active growing points, where it enters the cell walls, making them stronger. Stronger cell walls lead to stronger plants. Reported benefits of silicon to plant growth and development include increased tolerance to heat, salt, and drought stress, disease and pest resistance, stronger and thicker stems, and shorter internodes.

What is Silicon?

Si exists in the Earth’s crust, in an abundance that is second only to oxygen. Many plants accumulate it in large concentrations, in amounts similar to macronutrients. Plants grown in mineral soils (natural environments, field soils or gardens) have ready access to it. On the other hand, Si is not prevalent in peat moss, bark, or any other components of the soilless substrates that are commonly used today for producing containerized horticultural crops.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Prestige ™ Red) in FAF 3B (12 weeks after transplant)
Figure 5: Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Prestige ™ Red) in FAF 3B (12 weeks after transplant).

Sun Gro’s Silicon Research Program

As the North American leader in horticultural soilless substrates, Sun Gro launched an extensive research program to evaluate the benefits of incorporating Si into their professional and retail growing mixes. This project encompassed trials to evaluate Si sources and incorporation rates, as well as plant growth responses of over 40 commercially important annuals, perennials, and vegetables.

Plants were trialed in seed and cutting propagation experiments, and in finished production, from transplant through post-harvest dry down. For all of our growing trials, substrate pH and EC were monitored weekly or bi-weekly. The degree of rooting was rated on a scale of 1-5 at about 4 weeks after transplant. The number of days from transplant to various developmental stages was recorded. When plants reached the market stage, several shoot-growth parameters were measured and plants were placed into a post-harvest dry down in which the time was recorded from the last watering to wilt.

Geranium (Pelargonium Calliope® Scarlet) grown in Metro-Mix 840 (eight weeks after transplant).

Figure 1: Geranium (Pelargonium Calliope® Scarlet) grown in Metro-Mix 840 (eight weeks after transplant).

Si can be added to a substrate in several forms, and can be obtained from many sources. (Sun Gro previously held the patent on substrate incorporation of Si, in any form.) In our initial trials, several Si sources and rates were evaluated. Based on concentrations of Si in media and leaf tissue, and overall plant performance, we zeroed in on an optimal Si source and rate.

Sun Gro’s Silicon Trials

At that point, it was time for a trial blast! We tested Si in fourteen commercially important spring annuals grown in peat- and bark-based mixes. Seed germination trials with vegetables, annuals, and ornamental grasses were also conducted. Positive results from these proof-of-concept tests lead to the creation of Si-containing RESiLIENCE™ mixes!  RESILIENCE™ is Sun Gro’s brand name for growing mixes enriched
with silicon.

Gerbera jamesonii Jaguar ™ Rose Dark Center grown in Sunshine LC-15 (6 weeks after transplant)
Figure 3: Gerbera jamesonii Jaguar ™ Rose Dark Center grown in Sunshine LC-15 (6 weeks after transplant).

In the next set of trials, summer annuals, perennials, vegetables (direct-sown in jumbo 6-packs), and poinsettias were grown in RESiLIENCE™ mixes that were made on the line at Sun Gro’s manufacturing facility in Anderson, SC. Testing also included plug-production trials with seeds and cuttings in Resilience™ germination/propagation mixes.

Although growth responses to Si varied among plant species and even cultivars, there were some general trends that were prevalent in most plants. Annuals and vegetables that exhibited positive growth responses in RESiLIENCE™ mixes were compiled. Compared with our standard mixes, and based on a root rating scale, the RESiLIENCE™ grown plant roots were visible in up to 40% more of the substrate. Better rooting enhances nutrient uptake and provides greater support for the shoots (Figure 1). Plants grown in RESiLIENCE™ took up to 77% more hours to wilt after water was withheld (Figure 2). This translates into increased shelf-life in retail settings. RESiLIENCE™ mixes promoted thicker stems and earlier flowering: up to 12% increase in stem diameter, and up to 13% earlier flowering (Figures 3 and 4). In finished production, earlier flower development equals fewer days to market. In addition to these typical responses, RESiLIENCE™-grown poinsettias and snapdragons also had stronger and thicker branches and were more compact with denser foliage than those grown in the standard mixes (Figures 5 and 6).

Pepper (Capsicum annuum ‘Bobcat’) grown as a” vegetable start” in jumbo 6-packs with Fafard 3B
Figure 4: Pepper (Capsicum annuum ‘Bobcat’) grown as a” vegetable start” in jumbo 6-packs with Fafard 3B.

Plug production is inherently different than finished plant production. Growth measurements were evaluated on the entire plug tray rather than individual plants. Germination percentage was obtained on the seed propagation trials at ten days. For both seed and cutting propagation trials, other measurements were taken when the trays were at market stage. Stand (% yield) was assessed on entire trays. Root growth ratings and stem diameter were also collected.

Germination percentage was equal between standard and RESiLIENCE™ mixes. Similar to what we saw in finished production, RESiLIENCE™ plugs had up to 97% better rooting and up to 33% thicker stems. Plugs are considered to be market-ready when the whole plug can be easily pulled from the tray – intact. Since roots help hold the plug together, enhanced rooting equates to fewer days to market. Thicker stems mean less damage to young plants during shipping and transplant.

Snapdragon Twinny Violet grown with and without Resilience at the Sun Gro Discovery Center
Figure 6: Snapdragon Twinny Violet grown with and without Resilience at the Sun Gro Discovery Center. The Resilience plant shows stronger, more compact growth.

Satisfied that RESiLIENCE™ mixes worked well for most peat and bark based mixes, we turned our attention to mixes containing coir or high amounts of vermiculite and organic mixes. Also, we trialed Resilience™ mixes with the addition of biologicals and with plant growth regulators to be certain that Resilience™ mixes would not interfere with these commonly used products or cause interactions that could be harmful to plants.

Sun Gro’s Silicon Research Conclusions

Sun Gro Discovery Center Logo

At this point, numerous commercially important horticultural crops have been trialed in several different soilless substrates in many types of plant production schemes. Most of this work has been accomplished at the Sun Gro Horticulture Discovery Center. Additionally, there have been several RESiLIENCE™ mix trials conducted independently at universities and with professional growers who have seen the same results of better rooting and thicker stems.

After such thorough evaluation, we are confident that RESiLIENCE™ mixes enhance containerized plants by providing them with the beneficial element, Silicon. Sun Gro offers RESiLIENCE™ mixes to both professional and retail customers. Various mixes are offered that take plants from seed and cutting propagation to finished production.