1. Sunshine Advanced Growing Mix #4 - Tech Talk


    For those growers who want to go deeper, who want to learn even more about our products and how to get the most out of them, we’ve developed a series of Tech Talk articles that delve into the nitty-gritty details of Growing Mix #4 and some of the frequently asked questions we get from growers.

    Sunshine Advanced Growing Mix 4 is meticulously formulated with earth-friendly ingredients from a company committed to sustainable practices to meet the needs of professionals. It’s so easy to use that even beginning gardeners can achieve success. Whether you’ve got tomatoes in containers on your deck or an entire herb garden indoors under lights, Sunshine Advanced will help you grow a bountiful harvest. It’s easy to use, advanced formulations are always consistent and take the guesswork out of growing.


    Designed specifically for growing indoor foliage crops, vegetables, herbs and other consumable crops.


    • Indoor, exceptional drainage capabilities (peat moss, perlite and coir in mix)
    • Our “signature” mix for hydroponic growing situations
    • Dries out faster than some mixes that have more coir


    • pH 5.5 – 6.5
    • Soluble salts – 1.0 – 2.0 mmhos/cm
    • Nitrate N – 25 – 60 ppm
    • Phosphorus – 1 – 10 ppm
    • Potassium – 50 – 120 ppm
    • Calcium – 30 – 60 ppm
    • Magnesium – 10 – 25 ppm

    Formulated to retain moisture, provide improved root aeration and drainage, and develop strong, healthy root systems for maximum stem, flower and foliar growth…

    Sunshine Advanced has the dual benefits of peat moss and coir to hold water and nutrients for optimal plant growth. The increased perlite provides excellent drainage, resulting in a growing mix that is adapted for a wide range of growing conditions. And our endomycorrhizal blend enhances the ability of plants to access the nutrients in the root zone.

    Our Sunshine Advanced formula was trialed in our own greenhouses to develop the best combination of water retention, air porosity and nutrient availability. Many formulations were trialed using a range of garden and vegetable plants until we came up with the ideal blend of peat, coir and perlite. In addition, using our in house lab, we examined the roots for mycorrhizal colonization to ensure that Sunshine Advanced would enhance mycorrhizal growth. Ongoing testing in our trial greenhouses ensures that Sunshine Advanced will continue to provide the maximum results you expect from all Sunshine products.

    Sunshine Advanced is designed to provide a perfect background to your own fertility program. A starter organic fertilizer is included to give an initial boost to your seedlings or transplants. You should start your own feed program within 7 days of planting or seedling emergence. Mycorrhizae prefer a low phosphorus feed for optimal growth, so during the plant’s active foliar growth stage, use a high nitrogen, low phosphorus feed.

    Using endomycorrhizae means you only get the mycorrhizal species that actually work with garden, foliage, and vegetable plants. Other growing mixes offer ectomycorrhizae as part of their mycorrhizal blend – but ectomycorrhizae only work for plants such as pines, spruces and firs. Why pay for an ingredient that isn’t going to benefit your plants? Using a growing media with a blend of endomycorrhizae ensures that your plants will derive the maximum benefit from the same fungi that colonize their roots in nature.


    1. How is Sunshine Advanced different from Sunshine Mix #4?
    Sunshine Advanced contains coir, a byproduct of processing coconuts. Coir has unique properties of high aeration coupled with excellent water retention and is frequently used in peat mixes to aid in rapid rewetting of the mix. In addition, Sunshine Advanced contains more perlite that Sunshine Mix #4 for faster drainage and improved aeration.

    2. What are mycorrhizae?
    Mycorrhizae are a group of fungi which form a symbiotic relationship with plants in nature. These important fungi colonize a plant’s root system, sending their hyphae out into the surrounding soil to seek out nutrients. It is estimated that 90% of the world’s plants are dependent on mycorrhizae in their native habitats.

    3. Why should I use mycorrhizae in my potting soil?
    The same benefits apply to potting soils. Mycorrhizae will help the root system take up nutrients and may provide a healthier, stronger root system. If you transplant into a garden soil, the presence of mycorrhizae will also assist in drought tolerance and will keep growing along with your plant, as it continues to seek out nutrients.

    4. How often should I fertilize my plants since Sunshine Advanced contains an organic fertilizer?
    Our custom designed organic fertilizer consisting of feathermeal and sulfate of potash gives your plants an initial boost of fertility. We kept the fertilizer at a low level so you could implement your own feeding program according to the needs of your plant. The organic fertilizer is a low phosphorus feed so it will not interfere with the establishment of the mycorrhizae in the root zone.

    5. So do I need to use a low phosphorus feed?
    That is correct. While the mycorrhizae is growing along with your plant, please use a feed containing less than 10% phosphorus. Mycorrhizae will not be active in soils with higher phosphorus levels. Look for a fertilizer where the second number is less than 10, such as 20-9-20.

    6. Where can I go for more information on Sunshine Advanced products?
    You can refer to our Products Page to find additional information on all Sunshine Advanced products. OR…ask us a question in the comments section of this page.

    7. What is the size of the compressed bags once opened?
    The compressed bags have a 2:1 compression ratio, so a 3.0 compressed bale would yield 6 cubic feet.

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    1. Kyle

      What is the size of the compressed bags once opened? This should be clearly listed on this site and it isn’t. If i can’t find this out i will go with a product that does list this.

    2. sungrohorticulture

      Hi Kyle,

      Thanks for your question. The bag has a 2:1 compression ratio, so a 3.0 compressed bale would yield 6 cubic feet. Hope this information help you out. We’ve added this info to the website so others can find it more readily as well. Thanks again!

      Cheers and Happy Growing!

    3. sungrohorticulture

      Thanks for the question, Joe!

      With any potting mix, the best way to tell when it’s time to water is to stick your finger down in the mix about 1½ – 2”, depending on size of pot. If it feels damp, hold off on watering until it feels almost dry. Then, water until it runs out the bottom of the pot. After a few times of checking, you will know how often to water. Some plants need water twice a week, most can go about 7 days indoors, and some can go up to 2 weeks without watering. If the leaves on the plant look like they are wilting, check the mix. This can be a sign of needing water, but plants also appear to wilt when they are receiving too much water.

      Cheers and Happy Growing!

    4. andrew x

      Ok after I transplant my young plant into the soil mix, When should I start my own feeding shedule and how long should I just give them water untill I give them there own nutrients? Also do you recomend using some kind of calcium magnisium supplement when feeding with just plain water???

    5. andrew x

      When should I start my own feeding with nutrients? Also do you recomend using any kind of cal mag supplement when feeding with just plain water. I dont want to burn the girls?

    6. Sunshine Advanced

      Hi Andrew X,

      After planting in our mix in an indoor growing situation, your plants need to be watered in (preferably with distilled or RO (pH neutral) water) to the point where water runs out of the bottom of the pots. A fertilizer schedule can start right away. For vegetative growth, follow the recommendations on the label of the product you choose. Fertilize once a week, watering once between fertilizing. Do this for about 8 weeks, then switch fertilizer to a product for flowering (higher ‘K’ in the NPK lineup). Again, follow label dilution rates and fertilize once a week, watering between.

      Choose fertilizers with a middle number being the lowest, for beneficial mycorrhizal growth.

      Happy Growing!


    7. Stian

      Hi, Can I use Bloom,Grow,topmax,rootjuice and bioheaven fertilizers from BioBizz 100% organic in the soil ? And is it good to get perlites with this soil ? I don’t want to burn my babies. If you’re interested the fertz are these : http://www.hydroponi.no/products/biobizz-starters-pack2
      if not, could you be very helpfull and link me some fertilizers that works perfect with this soil ?
      How often should I feed them with this fertilizer too ? And when to start ?

      Thanks !

    8. Sunshine Advanced

      Hi Stian,

      There are hundreds of fertilizers on the market, BioBizz being only one of the many companies that sell them. We recommend any low-phosphorus fertilizer with a middle number usually below ’10’ (such as 16-7-7), so that the mycorrhizae will flourish. Follow the instructions for fertilizing on the label. The only thing that we would recommend when fertilizing is to leach between fertilizing. (Fertilize every seven days with an all-purpose fertilizer at a recommended rate and water with R.O. or distilled water in between to flush out salt buildup.) Perlite is an inert ingredient that helps drainage occur in growing situations. There is no need to add more perlite, we have formulated our Sunshine Advanced mixes to be optimum for healthy growth.

      Happy growing!

    9. David

      How often do I need to water my plants during Veg and Flowering stages? They are potted in 5 gallon buckets. I am using Sunshine® Mix #4 with Mycorrhizae

    10. Sunshine Advanced

      Hi David,

      The proper way to water a potted plant, indoors or outdoors, is to water with distilled or R.O. water until it starts draining out the bottom of the pot. Depending on the size of the pot, this could take up to a gallon of water. Don’t water again until the top 2 inches of mix seems a little moist, not wet. (Saturated soil is your enemy!) This usually takes about five to seven days indoors or three to four days outdoors. If you are watering plants outdoors in hot dry weather, you will likely need to water up to once a day. The smaller the pot, the more often you will need to water. An over-watered plant will generally develop grayish-green leaves that become limp.

      Happy growing!

    11. Marc w

      Hey there,
      I use your advanced mix #4 and love it! I have a problem with root aphids and fungus gnats though. I use your mix for a number of reasons but love that it has mycorrhizae fungi and use another product with mycorrhizae and trichoderma to help boost the population. I was wondering if you sell or could recommend a root drench product that I could use to kill the pests eating my roots while not harming or slowing down my mycorrhizae bacteria fungi population. Thanks so much for your time!

    12. Sunshine Advanced

      Dear Marc,

      Please note that none of these products we mention below have been tested by our company, they have only been advertised as being effective on Root Aphids and Fungus Gnats.

      Sierra Natural Sciences sells the product “SNS 203” which contains clove and rosemary oils. It is labeled to “kill and repel fungus gnats, Root Aphids, Thrips, Shore Flies and White Flies.”

      The product BotaniGard – has been shown to be up to 96% effective. The active ingredient is Beauveria, a fungus that grows naturally in soils and acts as a parasite on various arthropod species. The plants need to go without watering for at least 24 hours until the drench has time to be effective since watering washes the pesticide away. The white wax will still be evident, but the aphids should be dead. 2 or 3 applications are recommended, each 3 to 5 days apart.

      Azatrol has the active ingredient Azadirachtin 1.2%, from the neem kernel. It is recommended to use every week in a hydroponic system and then once the infestation is under control, the application can be dropped to once every other week. Azatrol is a systemic product: the plant takes it up and then the insect is killed after it ingests the plant it is feeding on.

      Happy Growing!