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Using Epsom Salt for Plants to Improve Their Growth

By Farhan Ahsan | November 25, 2015
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Using Epsom Salt for Plants to Improve Their Growth

by Farhan Ahsan November 25, 2015

Using Epsom Salt for Plants to Improve Their Growth

By Farhan Ahsan | November 25, 2015

This week’s guest blogger is Farhan Ahsan, a web enthusiast, passionate gardening writer and blogger at http://theselfsufficientliving.com/.  He loves to share any information about gardening, self-sufficiency, and do-it-yourself projects with fellow gardeners.  Connect with him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook!

 

The use of Epsom salt on plants is nothing new. Gardeners have known about the benefits of using Epsom salt fertilizer almost since the product was discovered at Epsom in Surrey, England centuries ago.

Originally touted as a health product, using Epsom salt for tomato plants now runs a close second to the original use. The product is located in both the pharmacy and garden supply center because of its practical uses and versatility for both health conditions and garden uses.

Using Epsom salt for gardening is an inexpensive and easy way to produce a bountiful crop of both vegetables and flowers with the use of natural fertilizers. The product increases plant productivity while decreasing unwanted plant disease that could threaten to ruin an entire crop, such as blossom end rot in a tomato crop. Read on to learn more about this amazing product and how to use it to improve plant growth.

What is Epsom Salt?

It looks like very coarse grains of salt, but it’s not salt at all. A naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate which was discovered and named for a bitter spring in England several centuries ago.

The bitter spring water was used for body soaks because of its claimed healing properties. As medical science advanced, tests confirmed Epsom salt was easily absorbed through the skin and did indeed provide a variety of health benefits.

Health Benefits

The magnesium in the Epsom salt relieves tired, achy muscles, reduces inflammation in the body, improves nerve function and helps prevent arteries from hardening. The sulfate also has its list of health benefits which include enabling the body to absorb nutrients more efficiently, flushing toxins from the body and relieving the pain of migraine headaches.

A soak in a tub filled with warm water and a cup of Epsom salts reduces stress, relieves pain, constipation, muscle cramps, helps the body utilize insulin more effectively and a host of other health-benefiting things. With all the good the product can and does do for the body, it was just a matter of time before uses for Epsom salt in garden settings was experimented with and the results were outstanding.

Natural Fertilizers

Organic gardening is the way to go for most home gardeners and Epsom salt helps improve plant growth naturally. Epsom salt promotes deep root growth for plants so during times of drought or little rainfall, Epsom salt plants will have deep roots to seek out moisture and nutrients. Plants with deep roots thrive when other plants with shallow roots shrivel up and die if water is not constantly provide to them.

Broadcast Epsom salt on top of the soil and work it in a couple of weeks prior to planting time so it will be in the soil and readily available for plants to absorb. Half-way through the growing season, side dress each vegetable plant or flower with a half cup of Epsom salt (be careful not to get any of the salt on the plant) to keep it growing strong for the remainder of the season.

Larger plants and shrubs will also benefit from an application of this natural fertilizer. Apply one cup of Epsom salt around the drip line of the plant or shrub in spring to promote new and deep root growth.

Epsom Salt for Roses

Roses need magnesium and sulfate to stay healthy and produce larger blooms. Epsom salt meets this need for roses and enables them utilize primary plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) more effectively and the overall results are healthier rose bushes with more and larger bloom production.

Epsom Salt for Tomato Plants

In addition to enabling the plants to utilize primary nutrients more effectively, Epsom salt helps prevent a common disease from occurring in tomato plants known as blossom end rot. Blossom end rot occurs when the soil in which the tomato plant is growing is not providing the plant with enough magnesium. The bottom end of the green tomato where the bloom was develops a round rotten spot. The spot will enlarge and the tomato will be lost. Blossom end rot will continue to overtake every tomato on that vine and all produce from that vine will be lost unless magnesium is added to the soil.

To stop blossom end rot and help the tomato plant recover quickly, remove all effected tomatoes from the vine. Next, mix one cup of Epsom salt in a gallon of warm water and slowly water the plant with the magnesium-rich water. The plant will instantly begin to absorb the magnesium and produce another batch of healthy tomatoes and develop new, deep roots. Using Epsom salt prior to planting and applying a side dressing of the magnesium-rich product will prevent blossom end rot from occurring.

Keep it Handy

Keep a box of Epsom salt for plants and health benefits handy at all times. The product has many uses and the cost is minimal.

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    Thomas W
    Comment added October 8, 2019Reply

    Super great read! Would love to know more. I'm trying to get my hot peppers to grow indoor. What would the effect be on those if I use Epsom salt?

    Thomas Wood - West Jordan Landscaping Service

    willie
    Comment added September 29, 2019Reply

    I have used ES often for a bath- never realised it was good in the garden- Is it ok to use it with Blueberry plants?

    ALBERT GREENFIELD
    Comment added September 25, 2019Reply

    I thought Epsom Salts was taken internally too and it formed the basis of various Liver Salts ?

    Rachhpaul
    Comment added September 22, 2019Reply

    I have a small allotment and I would like to buy Epsom Salt('ES') in a bulk to save money. Please, can you help and suggest the best possible way to purchase bulk ES.

    This year I had hardly any apples and figs and other fruits did not give much fruits.

    Thank you for reading my requests.

    Audrey Mascali
    Comment added September 21, 2019Reply

    This sounds wonderful. I am going to do it. Thank you for your info.

    sweetrosie
    Comment added September 19, 2019Reply

    As regards quantities, as mentioned, it’d be very hard to overdose with Epsom salts, however, here’s what I do.
    As a foliar spray (my most used application method) for seedlings, roses and vegetables: 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts dissolved in a litre of tepid water. I use a spray bottle.
    As a pick-me-up for growing plants and vegetables, and when plants like tomatoes and melons, pumpkins etc are working hard to produce fruit: 1 cup of Epsom salts dissolved in a 9L watering can.
    Citrus trees in spring: 1 cup lightly scrabbled into the soil around the dripline and watered in.
    When I’m preparing spring beds for planting, usually just use a couple of cups of Epsom salts, worked into my my 1.5m square raised beds.
    I buy mine in bulk, at the health food shop. It’s MUCH cheaper than buying the bags or boxes from the chemist or supermarket.
    Happy gardening 😊

    Mark Butler
    Comment added October 3, 2019Reply

    Thanks for the post it was very helpful 😊. What would you reccomend on Australian native seedlings and established native plants in the garden? Looking forward to hearing.

    julie r
    Comment added September 16, 2019Reply

    not out of any of those answers to questions, was there the information about How much Epsom salts to How much water

    Pam
    Comment added September 27, 2019Reply

    I use about half cup Epsom salts per gallon of water. Stir to dissolve.

    Barbara Wagner
    Comment added September 15, 2019Reply

    This was a delightful article and teeming with information! I have used Epsom salts for many years added to my bath water. Nothing better to soak away the grime and groaning muscle aches of gardening! So many benefits I wasn't aware of.

    Thank you Thank you!

    Natalie
    Comment added September 13, 2019Reply

    I sprinkled >1/2 C around my hibiscus & within days it was blooming like crazy! I know for a fact that soaking in an Epsom salt bath will speed up the body's natural healing processes when there's a soft-tissue injury, bruising, etc. . . I was pleasantly surprised that the Epsom salt promoted such a gorgeous display of color.

    Carol Sweeney
    Comment added September 11, 2019Reply

    I agree with Katie, I have used it both personally for leg cramps and in my garden with fabulous results.

    Isabel
    Comment added September 8, 2019Reply

    What is the concentration/ratio of Epsom salt to water for plants in general and how often would one use it?

    Marcia A Pink-Clarke
    Comment added September 6, 2019Reply

    how often can i use ES on my potted plants. will it stop leaf tip yellowing.

    Rosaline Soon
    Comment added September 1, 2019Reply

    Yes, I agreed. Adding Epsom salt to rose plants really produce bigger
    flowers and healthier plants. I use it in almost all my plants and they grow excellently well.

    Patsy
    Comment added August 31, 2019Reply

    I found the gardening information about Epsom salt very interesting, however, I am not comfortable with the notion of suggesting that ingesting it is healthful. It may be quite dangerous to ingest. Let's stick to the gardening benefits rather than medical.

    june waudby
    Comment added August 31, 2019Reply

    Believing, like you, that the salts should not be taken internally, I did not really believe the claims I'd seen that the minerals could be absorbed through the skin, however. I did some research and - to my surprise - discovered that the University of Birmingham (UK) had conducted experiments on Epsom Salts and the absorption of magnesium (http://www.mgwater.com/transdermal.shtml). 19 individuals soaked for 12 minutes at 50 -55 degrees each day for a week.The conclusion was that "soaking in Epsom salts [...] increases blood magnesium concentrations". So maybe that's a better way than drinking the salts!

    Jodie
    Comment added August 25, 2019Reply

    Until I started using Epsom salt 7 yrs ago my plant life (especially my tomatoes) would not last or stay looking nice not only for the season - now they last thru the frost during the late growing season. If I am traveling or forget to add Epsom Salt when my plants start looking bad, it's only a day or 2 later they start to look amazing vs diseased or dying. A 70 yr old master gardener shared this trick with me thank goodness. I shated with my parents & friends, now they call me in a panic ea yr asking me to quickly let them know again what ratio of ES to a gal of water to use when their plants look like they are dying & thank me. I use it on a regular basis now to avoid the ugly dying looking plant, I'd say every 2 wks min. As well as other plants all throughout my vege garden & experimenting with my flowering plants & shrubs. I've heard & read Epsom Salt can not be given too much generally as the plants will only take up what it needs kind of like vitamins & how humans excrete anything over/ too much for lack of better jargon. End analogy: I couldn't garden without it from my experience. You can also spray lightly on sick looking tomato leaves during rainy periods (avoid overwatering or else throw some along the base (not touching the stem or leaves) when you know it will rain that night).

    Ctace PALASIN
    Comment added August 24, 2019Reply

    Thank you for this informative article.

    Sue hills
    Comment added August 23, 2019Reply

    Complete hogwash. How can you allow such nonsense on your blog site?!? Check out Linda chalker-Scott’s info on Garden Myths at Garden Professors on Facebook.

    Mark Butler
    Comment added October 3, 2019Reply

    Have you tried epsom salts on plants yourself or merely repeating what a so called expert says? Before you condemn at least be courteous about it. You dont have many supporters if you carry on in this manner. These gardeners are sharing their experiences in the garden. What are your experiences with epsom salts good or bad?

    Lyn
    Comment added August 19, 2019Reply

    I am sure you can use Epsom Salts for most plants, my Gran used it on most of her's -- ferns, flowers, fruit or veg and her garden was always awesome and bug free. happy gardening Lyn

    Madeleine
    Comment added August 20, 2019Reply

    As a mature tomato grower I never knew why my father used Epsom Salts, now I know.

    S. Griffith
    Comment added August 18, 2019Reply

    Answer these people already!!! Their questions are important... and so are they!!!

    Regina
    Comment added August 18, 2019Reply

    Very useful information it is good to know uses of Epsom salt.

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