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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

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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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4 person already talking about this.
    Donna Balzer
    Answered on December 14, 2015Reply

    Thanks for the article but please warn people! If they have too much Magnesium in their soil it could get hard and what gardener's call tight. Not a good thing because a tight soil won't breathe - plants roots continue to respire so they need Oxygen on an ongoing basis. Soil chemicals (ions including cations and anions) need to be in balance and if they are not the specifics you might gain from adding one chemical are deleted by throwing off the balance for another. From my research (the Intelligent Gardener by Steven Solomon) magnesium is often over-represented in clay soil or at least out of balance with calcium ... check it out in more detail before you simply add an unknown ion to your soil.

    Farhan Ahsan
    Answered on November 25, 2015Reply

    Epsom salt can be used as a fertilizer for palm trees (of the family Arecaceae,)
    Palm trees are susceptible to magnesium deficiencies and can benefit from magnesium supplements; the magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt is both quick-release and water-soluble so that, when applied to the soil around palm trees, can help prevent such deficiencies. here is good guide for using Epsom salt on palm trees.

    http://www.ehow.com/how_7181044_care-palm-trees-epsom-salt.html

    justine
    Answered on November 25, 2015Reply

    I live in the PNW and some of my acid-loving shrubs are looking a little on the yellow side. It's late November. Is it the wrong time of the year to add Epsom salts, even though the plants could use it? Or, should I wait until March when new growth begins?

    Chandra walker
    Answered on November 25, 2015Reply

    Please can you tell me if I can use Epsom salts on Palm trees
    Also the doses
    Many thanks

    Chandra

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