Stay Clear of Sta Green Potting Mix – Bad Dirt!

by | Apr 15, 2018

This will not be a traditional review. I really do not enjoy throwing anyone or a product under a bus to be run over. I had to speak up here though. The Sta Green potting mix is a big zero on my rating scale!

This is bad dirt and poor quality at it’s worst! Shocking disappointment as a Lowes potting mix brand they sell. I enjoy Lowes as a retailer and shop with them often. It can be purchased elsewhere as well but I find them to be the prime reseller.

Why Did I Buy Sta Green Potting Mix?

I should know better, and I most often do, cheaper brands mean low quality. Well, this was no exception. In fact, I felt like I scraped the bottom of the barrel. I ran out of my usual potting mix and ran to grab a bit to finish my re-plantings.

Plus, I had a bit of landscape planting to do so the large bag size would be helpful outdoors.

The Big Yuck

 

The mix was so clumpy and hard to work. Clearly, there is going to be trouble with aeration. There are more large chunks of wood and decaying matter in this mix that I have seen in any other as well. What little perlite that is in this mix you could likely count because it is so little.

In addition, good soil should have a nice dirt smell. This smells rank and acidic.

The Problem with Poor Soils

 

This is the base of your planting. Your plants rely on this medium to provide it with the ability to absorb nutrients, air (yes air), water and freedom for root growth. The density of potting mix should ball in your hand when compressed but quickly loosen when released.

Poor soil, like this Sta Green potting mix, is far too dense. When balled it stays firmly packed and clumped. This shows that very little aeration is possible. It also indicates that water absorption will linger or saturate it allowing for no air to the roots.

In addition, the roots will have a difficult time and be delayed by trying to make space and grow freely through this growing medium. Poor weak roots equal weak plants!

You can read more on the values of potting mix on Wikipedia here.

Is it fixable?

 

The soil is amendable, whether it is your ground or purchased mixes that do not meet the standards. To make these changes you will need to decide if they are worth the additional costs.

We could try to fix this potting mix up by making many amendments. I think the main issue will not be resolved though and it will end up costing way more than the soil is worth on a small scale. If you purchased a large amount, this may be an answer.

I would first recommend sterilizing it. Read about it here.

You would need to add:

¼ to 1/3 of its weight in perlite or vermiculite.

1 Part peat or Coir to every 3 Parts Mix

1 Part Worm Castings to every 4 Parts Mix. See the review for the castings I recommend here!

Was it Worth it

 

I had to amend what I bought to make it work for me. Thankfully I had the stuff I needed around to make those changes.

What it did, however, was the change that cheap, in a hurry, grab for potting mix. Into a much more expensive potting mix that is still not up to the best standards. It’s a little better now. The large chunks of material are still there, and that rancid smell.

I used it in the landscaping with the adjustments. I put in an order for the quality mix I am used to for potting my plants. Risking my indoor garden plants on the Sta-Green potting mix was not going to happen

 

What do I normally use?

I have two types that I really like for most my gardening. Fox Farm ocean forest is my favorite organic potting mix. I wrote a review on this brand here. If you are looking for a quality brand it is worth checking out. I use this most often indoors. It is convenient and reliable.

The second I make myself using compost, worm castings, peat or coir and perlite. This I use primarily in outdoor planting and my raised beds. Prepackaged mixes can be far too expensive in large spaces for me.

Keep Yourself Out of a Soil Pinch

 

I should have learned my lesson now about making sure to plan when it comes to my plantings needs. Compromising on the plant base is always a bad decision. I am glad I was able to amend the Sta green potting mix to work outdoors for me. It was a costly mistake on my part.

red arrow down rightIn the future, I will be more prepared. Have you had to make split-second buying decisions in your garden you have regretted? Spill the dirt! I would love to hear how you handled them Drop me a comment.

Keep growing friends!

Author: Christina

Author: Christina

Hi! laughing It is great to meet you! I am happy you found your way here to Inside Herb Gardens. This is a hobby I am extremely passionate about. I love gardening, herbs and using them! I hope you do too. I am here to help. Reach out or drop me comments.

Learn More about Me HERE.

Don’t Skimp on Soil 

Grab the Best from the start. Fox Farm Ocean Forest is my top pick. Prevent Failure & Disappointment.

8 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Christina,
    Thanks for all the great information on potting soil. I agree with you typically when you buy a cheaper brand it means lower quality. I am not familiar with Fox Farm Ocean Forest, I may just have to check it out the next time I need to transplant one of my indoor plants to a larger pot.
    Lisa

    Reply
    • Christina

      Hi Lisa,
      I typically would have known better myself. Sometimes when I have a quick planting when I want to do outdoors away from food crop I will compromise a bit and buy a cheaper brand for a quick plant. In some cases, it will work out. Not with this one. It ended up costing me more by trying to cut corners.
      Fox farm has many good products that I have come to trust. The soil is one of many that have proven quality for me. I am also a hydroponic grower and they serve that industry very well. They have a great reputation. You can see the full review on their soil here. Best Organic Potting Soil – Fox Farm Ocean Forest Review
      Let me know when you try it. I am sure you will see a huge difference in any plant you transplant with it.
      Christina

      Reply
  2. Dean Gunter

    Hey I hope all is well and your gardening is going great and efficiently. Like i always say everybody should be growing there own organic plants as the stuff in the stores is just no good in fact its probably worse for our health than it is good.

    My go to compost is John Innes and they supply a range of compost, 4 different types, from seedling/ cutting compost to mature plants going in stages of growth, and I will always mix my compost one to one ratio with perlite for better drainage and aeration.

    Thank you for pointing this out, great article. Have great day and all the success, health and happiness you desire.

    Dean

    Reply
    • Christina

      Hi Dean,
      I have not heard of the compost you recommend but I have heard fo the John Innes composting method. It is actually one of the influences of my blend methods I have recommended for others to make. Using the loam, peat (although I like coir a little more), sand and fertilizer (for me that is compost and worm casting-vermicompost). I also add perlite or vermiculite as well. I think the brand is likely UK and not available here in the US. If I can find some I will indeed try it. I would love to see how it works. I enjoy trying new growing mediums that are organic and reputable. Even more, I like to endorse them so I encourage people to grow natural!
      Talk soon and Happy Growing!
      Christina

      Reply
  3. Jeff

    Thank You

    I am amazed Lowes would sell such a low-grade product as Sta Green, I am a dedicated consumer to Lowes and I always has such positive experiences with their products. I have never used this product myself and thanks to your review I never will, I have been using Miracle Gro Moisture Control and I am wondering what you think of this product?

    Jeff

    I value your opinion

    Reply
    • Christina

      Hi Jeff,
      I really like Lowes for a lot of things too, so this really surprised me.
      You may have noticed on site I do not get too preachy, or adamant about organics and/or GMO. Although I am passionate about what I think. I also think others have options. There is plenty of stuff on the internet that can be overly opinionated one way or the other. I am happy to see people growing their own food and herbs. I want people to enjoy using and knowing about plants again. I think that has been lost or is being lost.
      SO- with that being said you asked- LOL
      I use to use Miracle grow products. I will not. Because the Scotts miracle grow company has been in partnership with Monsanto the largest GMO company for many years. I refuse to use their products. The only products I still have and use them is the aerogardens but I build my own pods. I especially stay away from anything they have that touches soil or my plants. In my opinion. GMO has not been tested enough to know the impacts that it can have on the soil, insects, and animals. It also has not been tested enough to show the impacts it can have on our health. I know there is a lot of debate and arguments. That is why I stay out of them 🙂 If it is working for you and you feel safe that it does you or yours no harm than you can use. They have a line of organics as well. Many people still use miracle grow. There are always many ways to look at things.
      In addition, some things you may not know: The majority of Miracle-Gro’s product line is filled with chemicals and synthetics. They do not always tell you that and have been caught several times. Scotts has been found guilty multiple times in US Federal Court of purposely mislabeling products with carcinogens. April 2008, and September 2012 just to name a couple.
      I hope you are not sorry you asked. I do not stand and declare my rage but when asked I will tell.
      Christina

      Reply
  4. Pernilla

    Hello Christina,

    You have delivered great value by telling your opinion of the Sta Green Potting Mix. The description of how a good soil must be and to distinguish bad soil is so useful. It has also happened to me that I have bought unsatisfying soil. I used it and then of course the flowers didn’t thrive. With my newly acquired knowledge, thanks to you, I better know how to choose the right kind of soil.

    Pernilla

    Reply
    • Christina

      Hi Pernilla,
      You are very welcome. It is unfortunate when it happens to “us” gardeners. I have unfortunately done it more times than I like to admit. I over plant my starts and run low on soil for transplanting. or I will get an “amazing” planting idea and not be prepared completely.
      I do not really enjoy talking down a product but I want to save my readers and the plants the agony of disappointment here.
      Is a nice time for a follow up in the reply. The soil I did adjust to make work is very nitrogen robbing. The large chunks that did not break down, are breaking down now. This causes them to actually strip nutrients from the plants. I am continually putting the worm castings to make up for the loss. I should have just get rid of it all or threw it in the compost pile.
      Always learning 🙂
      Christina

      Reply

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