Grow Better Plants With The Benefits Of Epsom Salts
It wasn’t until I became a homeowner and truly began to claim the land as my own with larger garden beds that I became somewhat overwhelmed with why things worked how they did, or didn’t. Epsom salts had always played a role in gardening, although I never knew why, so I set out to find out the reasoning behind using them in the garden.
Epsom salts for plants have long been hailed as a gardeners best kept secret for generations, but what exactly is so great about using epsom salts in your garden?
- Seed Germination
- Nutrient Absorption
- Counter Transplant Shocke
- Greener Foliage
- Deter Garden Pests
- Grow Sweeter Fruit
- Fertilizing With Epsom Salts
- Using As A Foliar Spray
- How To Use With Flowering Plants
- How To Use With Houseplants
- How To Use With Vegetable Plants
- How To Use To Help Eradicate Weed Plants
What Are Epsom Salts?
To begin, I should probably explain what Epsom salts are. Epsom salts are actually a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate- essential nutrients that regulate enzymes and are found naturally in most living things. Originally found in Epsom, England (hence the name), they are mined from the ground and have a variety of different uses ranging from healthy lifestyle choices, help with magnesium deficiencies, crafting projects, and in our case – gardening.
Epsom salts are not salts at all even though they look like it (it doesn’t have any sodium chloride in it’s makeup). Because of this, it can be used as a natural alternative in many agricultural and health practices without ill effects- since too much true salt is actually harmful to plants.
What are the Benefits of Epsom Salts For Plants?
Magnesium sulfate is actually a key ingredient for vegetation and is found naturally in soils, although they can eventually be depleted and leach over time. The use of Epsom salts in varied ways can help give a very inexpensive boost to your plants and flowers year round – whether they are grown as indoor plants or out.
Essentially they are a building block of new growth, and is supportive of overall plant health; they can be used in a variety of ways to enhance seed germination, flower production, new growth, and can aide with chlorophyll creation: which is needed for photosynthesis in all green plants.
In particular Epsom salts are helpful in some very specific ways:
Occasionally nutrients leach through the soils, or washout of soils, causing roots unable to come in contact with these essential building blocks. Natural salts can also accumulate when this happens, which can inhibit nutrient uptake. Epsom Salts help loosen and breakdown salts, and adds back in some of the vitamins and minerals needs to keep your plants growing and healthy.
Most plants suffer from some form of transplant shock upon repotting, replanting, or moving; but with a minimal amount of care you can help alleviate this stress. For starters, providing Epsom salts to the bottom of your transplant holes will ensure there are readily available nutrients upon planting. Keeping your new plant well watered is also essential, and adding in epsom salts to your water every two weeks for the first few months will help keep a new plant from failing to thrive.
Applying Epsom salts regularly will help from the start of the germination process as mentioned above, and continue to feed the plant with regular applications so larger, sweeter, and more abundant, healthy fruits and vegetables can make their way to your table.
This is especially important in gardens where you need to produce a yield of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Whereas certain plants can tolerate low magnesium, other suffer when it is lacking- and this can be seen when the plant leaves begin to turn yellow on the edges and a yellow arrow shaped pattern appears in the center. Plants lacking in sulfur will have younger leaves yellowing and browning, occasionally followed by older leaved. Either deficiency will affect your bloom rate, as well as any sort of produce set you were expecting.
This application is best used when you mix a ratio of two tablespoons per gallon of water and apply at least once a month to blooming plants beginning after blooms appear. If you plant is showing low magnesium stress as described above, it’s best to mix into the soils itself.
This is never more so than in roses as they use a large amount of nutrients setting their large flowers; and Epsom salts help build lush, dark foliage as well. The increase in the production of chlorophyll in sun loving plants feeds the entire plant, and roses, especially those that set multiple times in a season, will keep providing an abundance of new growth and bed sets for as long as they can.
There are a few key guidelines to consider for optimal use: work epsom salts into the soil at least once a year surrounding plants, and then provide a good feeding of dissolved application upon planting when dealing with new vegetation.
Mix a two tablespoon to one gallon of water ratio to water your plants with once a month with it. This will easily take care of any salt buildup and also provide aide for more vigorous growth. Just remember – plants need good sunlight to best utilize Epsom salts, so keep your houseplants in an area where they will receive either good direct, or indirect sunlight depending on their needs to best utilize this application.
You can also apply a foliar spray, but be sure to do it when you know it can dry to avoid dampening the foliage too much, or too often.
Hopefully this was a help to those of you (like me) who were wondering how Epsom salts worked in the garden and why you should use them. Having begun the application to my roses and veggies this summer, I was shocked at the differences I saw in my plants. My floribunda roses set bloom after bloom continuously through the summer (I also used a rose fertilizer once a month in the soil), and my tomatoes took over (literally) the garden and grew to over 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide (I had to use hog panel to support it). We actually named the Roma, Earl, and Earl produced over 200 fruits this season, with green ones still set until frost.
If you have any questions or comments, or have found yet another way to utilize Epsom salts in you yard, we want to hear from you! Please leave us a message below, and as always, share!