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Find out more about Sun Gro’s exciting and storied history…Download the GrowerTalks Magazine article.

Sun Gro is the largest producer of peat in North America and the largest distributor of peat moss and peat-based growing media products to the North American professional plant growers market. Sun Gro sells products primarily to professional greenhouse, nursery and specialty crop growers throughout North America, as well as to golf course developers and landscapers. Sun Gro was founded in 1929 in Vancouver, British Columbia as the Western Peat Company Ltd., as a producer of peat moss. Initial success enabled the company to grow and its operations expanded throughout British Columbia and eastward into central Canada. The business has had a number of owners over the years and was acquired by Hines in June 1993. In 1995, Hines was acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners II, L.P. (“Madison Dearborn”), a Chicago based private equity firm. Madison Dearborn introduced a new management team to Sun Gro in 1997, led by Mitch Weaver, as Chief Executive Officer.

Mitch Weaver and his new management team refocused the company’s strategy from building brand awareness and market share in the retail market to targeting the higher margin, more stable professional growers market, thus expanding its private label retail business and completing complementary strategic acquisitions. The team has undertaken this growth strategy, fueled in part by acquisitions, and has created a vertically integrated producer of value-added growing mixes with a broad North American footprint.

Between 1998 and 1999, Sun Gro made three separate strategic acquisitions which significantly expanded its product line and its ability to serve its customers across North America, while also improving the quality and life of its peat reserves. In 1998, Sun Gro acquired Lakeland Peat Moss Ltd. (“Lakeland”), which gave the company additional mixing capability and control over the majority of economically accessible peat reserves in western Canada. The company has enjoyed increased efficiencies in production and transportation due to the Lakeland acquisition.

In 1999, Sun Gro acquired Strong-Lite Products Corp. (“Strong Lite”) and certain assets of Pro Gro Products, Inc. (“Pro Gro”) through two separate transactions. These acquisitions strengthened Sun Gro’s leadership position in the professional growers segment by adding high quality bark-based growing mixes to its product line for the professional market while fulfilling the company’s desire to establish a North American footprint of mixing and distribution facilities.

Capacity and bog resources were added to that footprint in 2004 when Sun Gro acquired Lameque Quality Group. Also that year, the acquisition of the professional growing media business of The Scotts Company and their respected Metro Mix brand significantly enhanced Sun Gro’s ability to service growers in the Eastern part of North America with premium bark-based products.

Further peat resources were added over the following three years with the purchase of Pigeon Hill Peat (New Brunswick), Normiska Peat (Ontario) and Tourbiere Omer Belanger (Quebec).

Further expansion in the main horticultural areas of the United States was accomplished with the acquisition of Sun Up Horticulture (California), Kellogg Rich Grow (California) and Florida Potting Soils (Florida and Georgia). This expansion propels Sun Gro to a leadership position across North America in both the greenhouse and nursery segments.

In early 2011, Sun Gro Horticulture was acquired by a privately held company.

12 Comments

  1. Urban Garden Supply Josh

    Hi my names Josh and im with Urban Garden Supply were a new store in Happy Valley OR. We carry your products from NGW. Were having our grand opening on the 10-11and12th of next month, we are wondering if you can send us any samples or marketing materials for our event? at our event we will have a raffel free giveaways free samples and some reps here to talk to customers about products.
    our store website is urbangardensupply.net and address is 12115 SE 82 ave Happy Valley OR. 97086
    and our store # is 503305-6531
    Thank You for your time

    Josh

  2. dan nsonguila

    my name is Dan Nsonguila. I talked to you today about our little community base grow here in the city of markham. I myself will be testing the product to see if it lives up the the expectation that we’ve heard so greatly about. I will be growing in soil and hydroponics during the winter period time in 5 gallon buckets same with the hydroponic system. If you could generous enough to send me some samples at. 11121 S. Halsted Street,Chicago,IL, 60628. I would be most thankful.

  3. Sunshine Advanced

    The best way to get samples is by attending a publc day at a Maximum Yield trade show or a hydro store customer event we are invited to attend. Thank you!

  4. sungrohorticulture

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks so much for your question! It’s one that we’ve been working on as well. Currently, Sunshine Mix is not available in Canada, but we are working on getting the product registered, and hopefully in the near future we will be able to offer it in locations throughout Canada.

  5. sungrohorticulture

    Hi Dyanna,

    Thanks for your question regarding locations near you in beautiful Huntington Beach, CA. It looks like there are 3 locations near your city that sell Sunshine Advanced. Orange County Hydroponics & Organics in Stanton, 55 Hydroponics in Santa Ana and A+ Hydro in Costa Mesa all sell Sunshine Advanced. For more location info check out our handy Store Finder page.

    Cheers and Happy Growing!

  6. Anna

    i am wondering what ph i should be using for my indoor garden of tomatoes? to confusing on so many post….i am using sunshine mix#4 advanced

    if your mix is ph balanced at 5.8—6.2 what ph after nutrients mixed should i balance my water to?

    what is the ph of sunshine mix #4 advanced ? It just says on the bag that its ph balanced and how long is the dirt good for when the plant is growing in it? Some one had a post that read after 90 days the dolomite lime that is the ph buffer is gone….. is this true?

  7. Sunshine Advanced

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for all your pH questions! The ideal pH range for tomato growing is between 5.8 and 6.2. SSA products are formulated to have a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, but other factors can impact pH and nutrient uptake.

    Most irrigation water has a pH of around 7.0 or higher, which can eventually cause soil pH to increase. Water alkalinity varies based on existing bicarbonates and carbonates in water systems, so you should have your irrigation water tested and take that into consideration when considering pH and creating a fertilizer program for your tomatoes. (This is usually not so critical if you are fertilizing your plants with a high-quality, water-soluble fertilizer, but with granular fertilizer it’s important.) If you need to adjust your water pH, a pH of around 6.2 to 6.8 would be good.

    The dolomitic limestone that we use to adjust pH in our mixes usually lasts about 12 -16 weeks, a normal growing season. After this time period, you should consider adding calcium and / or magnesium to your regimen, which is usually found in professional water soluble fertilizers with a lower percentage of nitrogen, such as 15-5-15, 13-2-13. These fertilizers normally use either calcium nitrate or magnesium nitrate as a nitrogen source. I hope that this helps.

    Happy gardening!

  8. Sunshine Advanced

    Yes! Check out:

    Ivy League Gardening
    701 1/2 S. 75th
    Omaha, NE 68114
    402-590-2498
    » Website