After a long day’s work, when your body is aching, it’s time for a nice long soak in the tub. Pour some Epsom salts in the water and relax as they dissolve. The benefits of Epsom salts are vast and surprising in its uses, ranging from relaxation, sleep improvement, exercise recovery, magnesium supplement, and reducing pain and swelling in your body. What you may not have known is that the health benefits extend beyond people to plants. As a pro-tip for a greener and brighter garden, try gardening with Epsom salt.
The benefits of what you probably know most familiarly as bath salts are also great for plants. Gardening with Epsom salt, although not the first tip you might have heard for your yard, is the secret ingredient of some of the best gardens in the world. A more natural fertilizer with a range of health benefits is just what the doctor or botanist ordered when it comes to plant health and beauty.
Sometimes no matter what you do, your plants are just not cooperating. Personally, I have had many a well-cared-for houseplants die, or crop of vegetables wilt, even after all the proper steps have been followed. It is okay when things don’t work out in the garden, and it is important to go with the flow of nature. Fortunately, there are some hidden tips and tricks to give a try before giving up on a plant in need.
Are you looking to give your garden an extra boost? If you’ve done everything right and there still seem to be wilting flowers or lack of vibrancy, don’t worry! If your leaves are yellowing and curling due to problems in the soil or water, there is a solution! Try gardening with Epsom salts.
Let’s get started with the basics…
What is Epsom Salt?
Epsom Salt is a mineral mix of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. The mineral is known in the science world as magnesium sulfate. Despite its namesake, Epsom salt is not the same thing as table salt, although it looks similar.
When dissolved in water, the compound breaks down into magnesium and sulfate. This is important in gardening because once it breaks down, it is then accessible to be absorbed by plant roots for added nutrients.
The mineral makeup helps growth and propagation. The magnesium components assist plants with the absorption of much-needed nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous. Epsom salts also help plants create chlorophyll, which is a crucial element of photosynthesis.
This improvement in plant health adds to the color, vibrancy, and beauty of your garden.
Before adding fertilizer to your garden, test your garden for nutrient deficiencies, especially in magnesium, to know how much Epsom salt will be best to add. Also, consider what types of plants you are growing, as they prefer different soil. For instance, beans and legumes can do well with lower magnesium levels, but roses, tomatoes and peppers thrive with the added salts.
- Spray Bottle: Depending on how you want to apply your epsom salt, you may need a spray bottle for foliar application
- Epsom Salt: An important tip for gardening with epsom salt! Make sure the salts you purchase are only epsom salts, not a blend made specifically for baths, with added fragrances or perfumes.
- Handheld Rake: When mixing epsom salt into your soil, you’ll want to use a rake or trowel to evenly distribute the minerals.
Tip #1: Adding Epsom Salt to Water
Adding Epsom salt to water is similar to adding it to a bath. It allows the compounds to break down so that they are more comfortable for plant roots to absorb.
Depending on your soil makeup and which plants, you’ll want to form a solution of Epsom salt and water. Mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt per gallon of water and spray this solution over your garden once a month. If you want to give your garden a little extra more often, cut down to 1 tablespoon for watering every few weeks.
Epsom salt watering can be applied to both the soil and leaves of a plant. Spraying the mixture directly onto the leaves, known as a foliar spray, is especially beneficial for plants with mineral deficiencies.
Tip #2: Seeds and Salt
Adding Epsom salt to your garden at the germination stage will prepare the baby plants for a strong and vibrant life. The magnesium in the salt fortifies growing seeds by strengthening cell walls and improving energy levels. It also makes up for any sulfur lost in the soil while small plants are germinating.
There are several techniques for boosting your seedling growth. From the start of your planting process, sprinkle a teaspoon of salts into each hole in the soil starters, mixing it in as fertilizer while are in the early stages of growth.
After the plants seed, first showing their green shoots poking out of the soil, drench them with a solution made of one tablespoon of Epsom salt to a gallon of water. Repeat this monthly during the growing season of your seedlings.
If you are starting seeds directly into the ground, sprinkle the salt into the soil and mix with a rake or hoe. Water the soil generously so the mixture will settle and enrich the seeds.
Tip #3: Use Epsom Salt to Deter Pests
Epsom salts are not only useful for plant nutrition but also help them survive attacks from garden pests.
If you’re looking for a general deterrence from garden pests, mix one cup of salts into five gallons of water. Spray this solution around your plants and on the foliage. This will keep away pests as well as boost leaf health.
If you have a problem with slugs and snails specifically, sprinkle dry salts around the base of the plants. Adding the crystal version of Epsom salt creates a barrier to keep slugs from munching on your garden leaves.
Boost your blooms by gardening with epsom salt
Tip #4: Revitalize Your Roses
Rose bushes grow best in soil with high levels of magnesium, so they love an Epsom salt fertilizer.
If you are planting new bushes, add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to the bottom of the hole dug for your bush. After the bushes have been established and are happily growing, spray a water mixture onto the leaves. This foliar spray should be applied when they begin budding in the spring and also when the bushes are flowering.
This solution will aid the rose nutrition, creating beautiful blossoms for your garden.
Tip #5: Help the Houseplants
Due to the nature of houseplants, being in potting soil rather than the ground, they often lack in nutrients. The roots absorb all the minerals in the potting soil, but after a time, they are used up since the environment is not adding to the soil. There are no earthworms or decomposing plant debris to turn into fresh nutrients.
Adding Epsom salt to your houseplant will give them new life and vibrancy by boosting nutrient intake. To do so, either mix one tablespoon of Epsom salt to one gallon of water and spray on the leaves. If you don’t have a spray bottle, add dry salt directly to the soil, one teaspoon per each foot of the plant’s height.
Monitor your plant as you apply the Epsom salt monthly and take note of how the leaves are improving.
Frequently Asked Questions: Gardening with Epsom Salt
Where can I find more pro-tips like this?
If you enjoyed learning about how epsom salt is used in gardening, you might benefit from joining a gardening club. In a club you will be surrounded by like-minded people who are full of helpful tips for vibrant, beautiful gardens. If this piques your interest, learn more here.
I am new to gardening, where should I start?
We have some great tips for you check out. Don’t worry about starting out, we’ll help you along. Whether it’s spring or fall, check out our article on starting a garden.
Is epsom salt scientifically proven to improve gardens?
No, there are no studies proving that epsom salt will improve the nutrient absorption in your garden. The benefits and tips are based off of gardeners observations and techniques that worked anecdotally. Give it a try to see if it benefits your garden as it has others.